Beats and Bees are important ingredients in Edward Sizzerhand’s life. Born in Brooklyn, New York, he received worldwide recognition in the late 90’s with his rap crew Square One. After the crew split, the DJ and Producer engaged in beekeeping and acquired professional skills in honey production for several years. Edward recently released an instrumental composition about the individual flavours of honey. We talk to him about his love for bees and beats.
Edward Sizzerhand welcome to File Under Hip Hop. Please introduce yourself.
My name is Edward Sizzerhand. I’m a DJ, i make beat maker and I’m also a Bee keeper. Bees and Beats have become my passion.
Who where your influences/inspiration?
The East Coast Hip Hop from the 90’s has influenced me the most. At that time, I found the Producer camp from Wu Tang very nice: The 4th Disciple, Tru Master and RZA. Also Premo, Muggs and the Alchemist.
At that time DJing was Turntablizm to me. I have to call out DJ Revolution, Mista Sinista and D-Styles. They inspired me the most.
In the late 90’s you were in the rap crew Square One. Tell us how you guys hooked up.
We all lived in Munich at that time. I met Ali in a record store where he worked. As a DJ, you always hang there to dig the newest stuff, so I was there pretty often. Ali and me had a similar taste in music and we became good friends. Ali was a good MC his plan was to do some tracks and release them in New York. He introduced me to Iman.
Iman already made beats back then and I was behind the turntables. So, basically the backbone of Square One had already been created. The first tracks were made and we gave them to several DJs. Over time, a demo tape reached Showdown Records/Warner. They liked our music and offered us a deal, which we did not expect at this time.
For us as a crew, it was a big thing back then and we signed the contract. We played many shows all over Europe and rounded off the crew with a fourth Member. Gianni Dolo was a long-time friend of Ali. He was the missing piece to make everything perfect. That’s how it all started…
What did you release as Square One?
The list is long; we released some 12″ singles and many tracks for compilations. Then we released our debut album Walk of Life in 2001.
After Square One split, you engaged in bee keeping. How did your love for bees come about?
My studio has always been set up at my grand parents farm where I grew up. We recorded a lot of material there. After my grand parents died, I returned home and formed an Apiary. I started with 3 colonies.
The situation for bees here is excellent. The whole surrounding is a nature reserve. I was fascinated by how many honey bees can enter during a season. If someone had told me that ten years before, I would have called them crazy.
I live here on a former farm surrounded by 4 million bees and my studio. Beats and Bees. These things are complementing one another.
You’ve also gained a BA Master Beekeeper at a University of Agricultural Economics. Tell us about this.
When I came back to the farm back then, I didn’t have a big interest in a classical agriculture. I always found bees interesting. I joined a beekeeping association and met many beekeepers who managed 20-30 colonies. But managing a bigger number of colonies, you will reach your skill limits very quickly.
I decided gain an education in beekeeping in 2016, as I had optimal conditions through the farm to do the apiculture on a much bigger level. Two years later I started the BA Master in Beekeeping. I qualify the knowledge on a professional level which I need to manage a huge number of colonies. Even more than thousands, if I want to.
On November 29 you released your instrumental album entitled, A Taste of Honey. The 14 tracks are all honey related. Tell us about the album and the concept behind it.
During my education in beekeeping, I learned a lot about sensory analysis in honey flavors. There are so many varieties of honey. Although the different varieties are entered by the same bees during the season. Similar to this I do make beats with different moods, because of different circumstances. I think the comparison is quite credible.
Honey is not only sweet, there are varieties that are spicy or bitter, others are flowery, fruity or malty. Honey is not just about the taste; the look also plays a big role.
Let me give you one example. The track Wildflower is a good one. Wild flowers can vary a lot. The taste has something mild and can also be very aromatic at the same time. The track is actually similar changeable. A harp combined with a jazzy guitar in the interplay, but it complements each other very well. Get it?
You recently released the single Lavender. What has the response been like so far?
It was a good choice for the first single. I was satisfied with the feedback from this release. The single was a digital only release, many would have liked a 12″ but a vinyl release will come later with the album. Stay tuned…
A Taste of Honey will be released on honey coloured vinyl. Where can people go and pre-order the physical copy?
The album will be released on Beat Art Department. The record company has set up a pre-order page via Bandcamp.
The proceeds from this release will be reinvested into your beekeeping. Besides buying the album, how else can people help save the bees?
That’s a good question. Most People have no relation to bees and usually do not know what they can do. A start would be to support your local Beekeepers. They keep bees and they produce delicious Honey. No one should buy imported Honey from somewhere from the other side of the planet in the supermarket!
When you support your local beekeeper, you save Bees in your area. On the other hand you can just listen to my album if you like it. The revenue of the entire thing will be reinvested in our beekeeping project Sizzerbees making beats will save the Bees!
There are so many varieties of honey; will you be dropping more instrumentals to educate us on the different varieties?
Bees and Beats are a perfect combination and yes, I have some plans in that direction. I will keep you posted!!
What’s next for Edward Sizzerhand?
I will play some live shows and do beat sets from my Spotify playlist Honey Flavor Beats. Check it out if you like selected honey flavors. Peace!
Interview by Jai Boo