There's something in the water down in Lewisham, South London, because the Blue Borough has been funnelling a plethora of music acts making their voices heard. Penetrating with devastation akin to the Wu-Tang Clan, Vision Crew is a collective on the rise: established in 2014, Ezro, Pascall, Tyzz, Whackeye, Goldie and DJ Kay C are a group of close friends, made up of emcees, producers and DJs taking their ends to higher heights. They don't see themselves as being part of a wider scene; instead, they display the musical diversity within themselves.
"We don't fit in [to the scene]," Ezro explains. "Our crew alone is a bunch of man with completely different styles, even though we've all grown up together in the same place."
Vision Crew's sound takes me back to the sounds of early Ruff Sqwad; menacing, lo-fi, bass driven rhythms — cultivated from influences ranging from bashment, grime, and what the crew describe as "Chinese music." Lyrically, they're vivid in their descriptions of their Lewisham home and life on said ends, and they carry themselves with the same synergy as those early, classic Sidewinder and Eskimo Dance raves. You could put them in that environment, or any, and they will still shell it down.
Their new single, "Walk The Walk", is a slow-burning, piano-driven offering with enough braggadocio to have you believe in their powers — and while we have yet to receive an official debut project from the collective, their presence is being felt through their individual avenues.
Each member has burgeoning solo careers — Ezro created a masterpiece with his Ghost In the Blue LP earlier this year, while Tyzz's "Stop" has a strong presence on radio — and these energies come together amongst them in the booth. As Ezro explains: "When making our crew tunes, it's a different kind of energy compared to making our solo tracks. When we make our crew tunes, we feed off each other from new ideas, flows, bars and energy. There's just a sick chemistry between us all."
That same energy is replicated whenever the crew hit radio; they've honed their skills by shelling down sets on Radar, Rinse and Sian Anderson's BBC 1Xtra show, prickling ears and letting heads know. Greater exposure has followed (Katy B is a fan, according to Twitter), and the crew are indebted to these experiences. "Radio is our form of practice," says Tyzz. "Last year, we were all over the airwaves — on different stations at different times — and we even had multiple radio sets in one day! But we never saw it as a chore, because we knew that it was making all of us better at what we do. Radio has also helped us to progress because it has allowed a wider range of people to notice us, which has expanded our fan base."
The future promises more music, visuals and projects but, for Vision Crew, the aim is to build on the foundation they have laid so far, and taking it to the world. Carefully crafting their vision for themselves, they are now ready to enter phase one. "The main aim is to keep improving as artists, like all artists should," Pascall says. "We're talented and skilled musicians — not only do we live by that, but we want to be able to live off that. The vision is always changing — as milestones are passed and more opportunities are there for the taking — but the end goal has always been to finesse the world and give back to it."