Chit Chat Sessions
Written by Polly Robbins on February 5, 2021
Contributors and collaborators include Free Yard collective, who until covid mostly showcased underground talent out of their spot at Harry’s Off Licence. Family owned for 3 generations, Harry’s is a community and cultural hub on the border of Tottenham and Edmonton.
Free Yard’s Chey Selecta is one of three artists featured on the first Chit Chat show to broadcast on Northbound Radio. He is joined by legends Benjamin D and Danny Rankins.
We’re really excited to see this collaboration grow, with Shivz and the rest of the crew doing more shows throughout the week.
We did a little interview with Shivz, the brains behind B-E-A-M
NBR: How did you first get into music? Who have been your inspirations?
Shivz: Music has always been something that resonated through my life. My mum had a friend who was married to Prodigy vocalist Maxim, and they had their own studio that I used to visit. My cousin was an MC in the 2Tuff Crew, just one of the big crews that were around at the time, alongside SoSolid and others. I saw Wiley and Kano battle when I was young. So yeah, music’s always been around me.
NBR: B-E-A-M started as a security company, how did you get into that?
Shivz: One of my friends was killed at a nightclub and that inspired me to get into security. I realised that there was space for a different type of security firm. When people are stressed out you don’t want to intensify the situation. So B-E-A-M was all about hiring people who weren’t threatening or argumentative – we had lots of women and younger people. We had big blokes too, but they were proper Big Friendly Giants. The company was all about finding job opportunities for young people from our community, and giving back to the community.
We did a lot of work on film sets, including the Fast and the Furious, as well as working at concerts, football matches and lots of fashion events. Our reputation grew by word of mouth. As I got to know more people, people started asking me why I don’t do more than just security. Artists and fashion designers started to ask me to manage them.
NBR: And what about Hackney Carnival and the Faggamuffin stage?
Shivz: Faggamuffin started around 2017-18 when Jane at Hackney 365, got a load of local collectives together. We wanted to do something meaningful for the young black gay community in Hackney. We set up Faggamuffin, a stage at Bohemian Place off Morning Lane at the first Hackney Carnival. 4.5k people came to that stage that year, and we threw a big after party at Pussy Palace and a night at Night Tales. B-E-A-M did the security and artist liaison for the whole of Hackney Carnival.
NBR: You were running Hoxton Basement until recently right?
Shivz: Yeah I started working at Hoxton Basement as head door person 4-5 years ago, then 2 years later became venue manager. That meant I had a say in how the place was run, what to put on and stuff. We started hosting shows and bringing all our artists and community together there. We were open right up until last March. When the lockdown came along we decided it was too risky for us to renew the lease there. It’s a pity but that’s how it’s going to be for a lot of independent music venues.
NBR: So how does your work fit in with Free Yard?
Shivz: I’ve known Ben for years (Ben is how we know Shivz, he’s a story for another time), and he introduced me to Chey. It’s Chey’s dad who owns the Off Licence, where Free Yard does its shows. Ben asked me to help him manage Chey, as an emerging DJ. I help Chey and all the artists that I work with by giving them direction and advice, and finding collaborations for them.
I’m looking forward to getting back into events and live shows. I pray for a new beginning. Things won’t be going back to the same as they were, but there’ll be lots of new different opportunities.
NBR: And how did the Chit Chat sessions begin?
Shivz: I’m an entrepreneur so I’m always looking for new opportunities. So when lockdown hit I still wanted to entertain people, keep them engaged with their community, help them with mental health. So that’s where the Chit Chat sessions came in, we launched them on Instagram Live and the show quickly grew into a space where guests felt open enough to talk about themselves in a safe space, and share tips for dealing with the mental health pressures of Corona.
We’re really hyped to be working with B-E-A-M to bring listeners the Chit Chat sessions every Friday night. Each week this incredible collective of DJs and selectors will be playing 2 hours of London’s finest underground sounds – from dancehall and grime to house and even poetry.