Joe Marsh and Louis Prince are the newest hip-hop duo setting ablaze the Birmingham scene, coming together to form The Worst Guys. After meeting at college and finding influence in each others sound they began forming demos and eventually creating fully formed bangers. They released their debut single ‘Round The Town’ last November and followed it up with ‘No Celebrations’ in February. They now return with their latest offering of Lo-fi beats, free-flowing bars and tasty melodies in the shape of ‘Platform’ which has just been released and available to stream below. We spoke to Joe and Louis to get to know what they’re all about, the process behind a song and what lies ahead in the tracks for this exciting new duo.
What drew each of you to music and how did you get into it?
Joe: From a young age, my parents would play a range of music in the car from bands like New Order, The Smiths and The Stone Roses to dance artists like The Chemical Brothers, Underworld and Fatboy slim. My Dad would make holiday mix CDs and I always
remember hearing Kanye West being followed by Led Zeppelin. No wonder my tastes vary! My entry into making music was when I was learning to play the guitar when I was 12/13 and would play in various rock bands throughout secondary school. It wasn’t until I
studied Music Technology at College, where I met Louis, that I got into Hip Hop, Dance and Experimental music. I started producing at College and I then went on to study Music Technology at De Montfort University where I was exposed to Jazz, World Music, Avant-Garde and my love for Hip Hop grew even more.
Louis: What drew me to music was the universal but inexplicable feeling I get from hearing the right song in the right moment, and how it can make any moment take on extra significance and shape how I feel. Whether that was a song to help get me through grief, a song to turn up and get drunk to at uni or a bit of DMX to vent when I’m mad at the world or trying to get that last deadlift set in. Some of my earliest memories are blurry to me but I remember hearing particular songs like Bob Marley, Morgan Heritage, Beres Hammond, and other Jamaican family function mainstays when I was in my dad’s car or
at my grandparents on Sundays and I’ll never forget the feeling of just feeling in sync with the vibe around me with youthful ignorance.
I was pretty much always involved in music in some capacity, I was writing lyrics to be rapped in classes and assemblies from the age of 7 and got progressively more into it as I got older. I was never not into it really.
Where did you meet and how did the group form?
Louis: It was the first week of college, I wasn’t from the area and I didn’t know anyone but wanted to meet as many people as I could so I could pick my friends properly and just be stuck with people. I was lucky as hell that in my Music Tech class I ended up sat with two
guys who would go on to be two of my closest friends, Joe and our mate Ewan. We all clicked pretty quickly and we ended up hanging out together most days with the rest of our crew. We all had similar interests and music tastes and wanted more from life than
was expected of us. I think from then we knew we would end up making music together in some capacity but it wasn’t until 2019 as university was coming to an end that we actually came together and said we were gonna do this, and by November “Round The
Town” was out everywhere.
Joe: I’ll never forget when I brought the original Round The Town beat to Louis at his house! We connected my sampler up to his speakers and I played the beat back live triggering the drums and everything…I remember looking up and Louis couldn’t stop
smiling. Within an afternoon we had the foundation for the song and it was from then we decided to pursue The Worst Guys properly.
How would you describe your sound?
Louis: Dope! Different and varied. Unique but familiar, and full of contrasts and dichotomies like life is. Our initial two singles have been good indicators of some of the music to come in the sense of vibey ambient music with introspective questioning.
There’s a lot of headphone listens and head nodding when I imagine people listening to us. We typically have a clean polished blend of Alternate (for want of a better word) hip-
hop, R&B, and indie elements . I don’t think we don’t consciously aim to sound different to anything you’ve ever heard but we just try and make stuff that sounds cool to us and we draw on so many different influences when we make our music.
Joe: Our sound is forever growing and each track we make differs from the last. All of our favourite artists all experiment and develop over time, so naturally, we embody the same creative ideology. We don’t like to trap ourselves under one sound. There are so many songs in our hard drives that we haven’t released yet and they almost sound like different groups have made them! But that’s what makes TWG work, we try ideas and we aren’t afraid to push ourselves each track.
Who are some of your biggest influences?
Louis: I’ve been a huge fan of Donald Glover/ Childish Gambino, Mac Miller, Earl Sweatshirt, Kendrick, and Chance The Rapper over the last decade. Gambino especially for his range of creativity and talent, the name ‘The Worst Guys’ was partially inspired by a song of his of the same name featuring Chance The Rapper. I guess I have a thing for moody existential rappers and genre bending music. Growing up in the early 2000s it was impossible not to be inspired by an endless list of rappers from 2pac, Biggie, Jay Z, Nas, Eminem, Kanye West etc. it would be easier to list who didn’t inspire me which would just
be a list beginning at Soulja Boy and ending at 6ix9ine.
Joe: Flying Lotus, J Dilla, Pete Rock are my all-time influences when it comes to making beats because I love to fuse sub-genres or unique sounds together in my tracks. As a group, I would say we are influenced by A Tribe Called Quest, Brockhampton and Injury
reserve for our sound and concepts. There isn’t a set sound for us in my opinion and we pick and choose ideas wherever we see fit. I like to explore atmosphere with my production so I’m heavily inspired by Burial and Ross from Friends for their unique approach to sound design. Creating my own sounds and resampling with effects is a
major technique I use to layer my beats and its a process I’m still developing now.
If you could be support act for any artists who would it be and why?
Louis: Well I‘d be a support act for Joe and he’d be a support act for me, what else is there? Nah on a real, I’d love to support Gambino and learn more about his creative process and artistry. A few other honourable mentions are Kendrick Lamar, Mick Jenkins,
JID, and Slowthai, all dope artists in their own ways and at different stages of their careers. An outside shout would be getting to do a tour with our brothers over at Major Noise at some point.
Joe: That’s a difficult question to answer but would have to be Tyler, the Creator. He’s an incredible artist; the way he approaches music, visuals and marketing are beyond inspiring. I’d also say Kendrick Lamar, Flying Lotus, Gorillaz and Thundercat as honourable mentions because of how unique each artist/group is with their approach to
music and their live shows respectively.
We’ve just entered into a new decade, what have been some of your favourite albums of the last decade?
Louis: So many great projects came out this decade and these were my teen to early adult years so they’ll probably stick with me the rest of my life. These are just the few that I listened to almost religiously this decade. I’m gonna keep this to a list of 11 in no particular order or else I’d be here all week, there are a lot of honourable mentions though.
Acid Rap – Chance The Rapper (not technically an album but as good as any I’ve heard)
All-Amerikkkan Bada$$ – Joey Bada$$
Because The Internet – Childish Gambino
Flower Boy – Tyler The Creator
good kid, m.A.A.d city – Kendrick Lamar
I Don’t Like Shit I Don’t Go Outside – Earl Sweatshirt
Malibu – Anderson .Paak
RTJ 2 – Run The Jewels
The Never Story -J.I.D
To Pimp a Butterfly – Kendrick Lamar
Swimming – Mac Miller
Joe: This is a really difficult question to answer as I listen to, on average, an album a day, but here are some of the top albums that I loved throughout the 2010s.
Cosmogramma – Flying Lotus
Igor – Tyler, the Creator
Flower Boy – Tyler, the Creator
Some Rap Songs – Earl Sweatshirt
To Pimp A Butterfly – Kendrick Lamar
The Epic – Kamasi Washington
Lonerism – Tame Impala
A Quiet Farewell – Slauson Malone
Family Portrait – Ross From Friends
2 – Mac Demarco
The Grey Area – Little Simz
Favourite concert you’ve been to?
Louis: Ahh that’s a tough one, there was the time I rapped on stage with Hopsin back in 2014 which was awesome, and Joey Bada$$’s tour for AAB was epic but I’d have to give it to J Cole’s 2014 Forest Hill Drive show in Birmingham, it was an incredible experience, he killed it on stage and had Jhene Aiko, Pusha T, Bas, Cozz, and Omen supporting him so it was a hell of a lineup.
Joe: I’m struggling to pick a top concert as I have been lucky to see some of my favourite artists like Bjork, The Chemical Brothers, Gorillaz and even Kraftwerk. But if I had to pick then I’d have to say the first time I saw Flying Lotus at All Points East 2018. He played a
mix of his big tunes with some unreleased tracks including a Wesleys Theory Remix. The bass shook your bones and he used 3-D visuals which just put you in a trance throughout the set. It was an experience so important to me that it became my main inspiration behind a final year project at University where I performed both music and live visuals. Oh, and he brought on Denzel Curry who had an incredible freestyle and then just ran off before anyone realised what had happened…
Favourite show you’ve played?
Louis: Because the Covid climate put a big middle finger up to the live music industry, The Worst Guys are yet to do a show together but it’s definitely coming so come back to me a year from now and I’ll tell you.
Joe: We have big plans for our live show, thats all we’re saying.
What’s the creative process behind a song? Do you put music to Louis’ lyrics or do you create lyrics for the music Joe creates or any other method?
Louis: We’re still figuring it out to be honest! Our songs come together organically and uniquely each time. We realised pretty early that any song we had to force to become something didn’t turn out how we wanted it to. So we let the song and situation lead.
Typically Joe will produce a demo beat, I’ll end up writing a few loose concepts or one of us comes up with a hook and we build from there. Sometimes I’ll have a verse that I either wrote in the moment or ages ago that I’ll re-find and refine and that inspires a song. There isn’t a set formula as long as we like a sound and see a vision.
Joe: I think there are a few paths we take with our songs and there isn’t a set route either. Throughout lockdown, we have tried to write more together through phone calls and focusing on a specific theme or concepts. There’s never a clear cut formula for our songwriting process but there is always a moment where we both realise we like how a track is sounding and that usually motivates us to finish it. Sometimes we will just talk to each other about a topic or a particular experience and that will act as an inspiration to create a track. If Louis has a verse depicting a life experience my main aim is to create a suitable foundation for his lyrics, so most of the time the final track is a lot different from the original beat demo I made.
Any future musical plans after the new single?
Louis: We’ve actually got a lot to come, we’ve been working all year and have a bunch of projects we want to release moving forward as a group and as individuals. Our main priority is the debut EP and getting shows to perform it and we’ll take it from there. We
have big plans but I don’t want to give away too much yet.
Where would you like to be in a years time?
Joe: Although our plans for 2020 have been full of obstacles, I’m still excited to see where we go as a group. I’m looking forward to playing shows and I’d like to think in a year we will have released more music and possibly be selling merch but I’m open to seeing how it plays out. As a producer, I’d love to collaborate with different artists from Birmingham, there are so many talented people releasing music. The scene here is growing and we feel honoured to be a part of it.
Louis: I’m really not thinking that far ahead in concrete terms, this year has shown that life doesn’t care about our plans and that we have to be ready to adapt. I believe that great things are coming for us but as long as we’re happy, financially stable and able to continue doing what we’re doing, and hopefully people continue to join our journey and enjoy the music then I really can’t ask for more.
If people want to find out more about you where should they go?
Louis: Hit us up on our IG or FB @TheWorstGuysOfficial and drop us a like and a follow, we’re regularly posting content on our pages and giving updates about future releases.
For now my personal account is @Louis_D_Prince but that might change so follow our band page and drop us a message if you want. Stay blessed y’all.