> British rapper talks to WesternEye about drinking games, illegal downloading and frying food on toasters

Elliott Gleave, better known to music lovers as ‘Example’ has had a busy year to say the least, having spent the summer on the festival circuit Elliott is coming to the end of a fourteen date sell-out tour of the UK promoting his album ‘Won’t go quietly. The highlights? “Bestival, V Festival, T in the Park and Leeds the other night on this tour was pretty rago.”

With the tour behind him Elliott is looking ahead to working on a third album. “I’m in the studio everyday that I’m not on tour, and then in December I’m supporting Faithless.” Once the Faithless tour is in the bag Elliott is heading to South Africa, Australia and then finally to LA before making a start on another UK tour in February of next year; “We don’t mess about do we” he says with a smirk.

Having tried his hand at rapping, poetry, stand-up comedy and even landscape gardening, Elliott is likely to be staying in this line of work for a while, following the chart success of  the singles ‘Won’t go quietly’ and ‘Kickstarts’ and with the album reaching number four in the album charts.

Students generally have a bad reputation for illegally downloading music, so what does he make of it? “It’s a double edged sword really because when you have illegal downloads it kind of helps get your music out there in one way, the thing that people have to remember though is that it’s not artists being greedy but to make an album, to produce it, to engineer it, to master it, to promote it, to do your music videos, all of that costs a lot of money, you know thousands and thousands of pounds, some people can spend £20,000 on one song, or £70,000 on a marketing campaign for an album, so when you take into account all of the costs, if people don’t pay you for music legally then artists are left generally out of pocket. Some people would say, oh that’s being greedy but not one else goes to work for free, if you’re a painter and decorator, you expect to get paid for your work don’t you, you don’t just go and paint someone’s house for free, in the hope that they’re going to tell their mate that you’re a really good painter.”

Elliott studied for a degree in Media Arts and graduated with a first from the University of London, Royal Holloway. “I got 68% but asked them to remark my paper, they rounded it up to 69.5% and published my dissertation on the Terminator movies.”It’s clear from this that he works hard but I’m willing to bet that he plays a lot harder. It is clear on meeting Elliott that he would have enjoyed himself as a student, despite being 28 he is still dining on Nandos, drinking too much and staying up far too late. “I loved university, I just sort of played football all of the time, chatted up birds and drank snakebite and black.” Tips for freshers week I asked? “You’ve basically gotta pounce on the one’s that’ve got a naughty look in their eye because the innocent ones probably won’t put out for weeks.” Charming! Drinking games? “My favourite drinking game is categories; to my right, famous biscuits, to my right Fulham players, to my right fit birds…” By all accounts there was a lot more vodka than food in Elliott’s student fridge but he did have some words of wisdom for those readers livings in halls without a hob; “We had a metal toaster and then I used to get a frying pan, and turn the toaster on up to the full six minutes and then put the frying pan on top of the metal toaster and then you could heat the frying pan even if you didn’t have a hob. Stick a bit of butter in there and get the bacon and sausages on the go, the only problem is you have to wait because sometimes the toaster pops up and then you’re f***ing sizzling fat everywhere.”

On announcing that he didn’t have a student load Elliot tried his best to dispel the impression that he was ‘some spoilt kid like his guitarist’ but it is clear that he’s come a long way from working in his university summer holidays to selling out gigs across the country. Does he enjoy the celebrity status? “I like adoration, adulation and all that across the nation stuff on stage, but I don’t like getting noticed on the streets, it’s pretty annoying.”

With a top five album and the singles getting higher and higher in the charts, does he fancy his chances at a Brit Award? “Awards don’t mean shit, if I get nominated then great but frankly the best artist always loses.” Either way, we’re going to have to wait until February to find out.

Eleanor Roper