D Double E and Fumez the Engineer Are Giving the 'Tekken' Franchise a New Lease of Life

Hypebeast caught up with the two Londoners to discuss their new ‘Tekken 8’ soundtrack, nostalgic gaming memories and more.

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It’s been almost 30 years since the first Namco-created Tekken game burst onto the scene in arcades. Since its first installment – which originally arrived on PlayStation – the game’s smooth, detailed 3D visuals and eye-catching characters brought a new generation of fans to the fighting game genre.

The Tekken franchise is built on loyalty, with millions of players ensuring they get their hands on the latest copy of the game upon its release. Two of the franchises biggest fans also happen to be two UK powerhouses: D Double E and Fumez The Engineer.

The pair’s new record, “Tekken 8 (The Anthem),” marks the start of a new era for Tekken, one that looks to create a future-facing feel to the franchise while paying homage to the millions of British players that have contributed to the success of the Japanese game.

Labeled as DJ Dan under the crew Bass Inject in the early ‘90s, D Double E – real name Darren Dixon – is one of the most respected British musicians of all time. Growing up on a diet of jungle, drum and bass, grime, and dancehall, the MC’s relationship with gaming goes way back, too. His breakout single, “Street Fighter Riddim,” is a bonafide classic, with the bars inspired by that franchise now amongst the most legendary in UK rap history.

“This new song for Tekken should be a bigger moment for me in comparison to when I did “Street Fighter,” D Double E told Hypebeast. “The Street Fighter brand didn’t do anything with the record when I made it – but this new song is actually in collaboration with Tekken, so it should be carried to new levels and it should get more recognition.”

Fumez The Engineer is the producer and the man behind Pressplay Media’s all-conquering freestyle series, Plugged In, and also a pioneering figure in UK drill and rap who has grinded his way through the industry since 2012. The West Londoner is also an avid gamer, with sessions on Tekken being his ideal version of downtime. “I’ve been playing Tekken forever,” Fumez said. “If we play each other on the game, the only thing you have to look forward to is licks [laughs].“

Things have now come full circle for the two gaming fans, with their brand new single – and Tekken soundtrack – now out for the world to hear. Hypebeast caught up with D Double E and Fumez The Engineer in Fumez’s studio to talk about the pair’s new collaboration, nostalgic memories, what to expect from the new game, and more.

How did you both end up working on this new Tekken track together?

D Double E: I don’t know how it actually happened. I just know that Fumez is tied in, I’m tied in. I know Fumez’s work, and it just happened organically.

Fumez: I’ve been a big fan of Double’s work for a long time. And with Tekken coming out, it would be a good time to link up and see if we could get something going. I’ve been wanting to work with Double for a minute and I felt like the timing this time was right. So, when the dots were connected, we managed to make it happen. We’re linked in with the same PR agencies, and now we’ve managed to put something together for a game that we’ve both been playing for a long time and that we’re proud to be a part of.

Before making the record, how much time did you spend playing Tekken to find extra inspiration for the song?

D Double E: I did some history checks on each character in the game. Each character in the game has a life and has a story. So, for a week before we put the song together, I’ve made sure I’ve done my background check on the history.

Fumez: Me personally, I’ve been playing Tekken forever. I’ve got the new demo – I’ve been smacking up my little brother on that. I’m keeping it as a surprise to see what characters are actually in the new one, I don’t want to go and do the research and see who’s new and who’s got kicked out. I already know a few players left from Tekken 7, so I’m just waiting for the full version.

“A lot of people come to the studio and they need to tweak things And they need a lot of help doing it. With Double, he’s come with a game plan and he’s arrived and smashed it out of the park.”

Double, with one of your breakthrough records being “Street Fighter Riddim,” does this new Tekken song feel like a full-circle gaming moment for you?

D Double E: It feels like it, man. It feels that the same moment is happening differently. This should be a bigger moment for me because when I did “Street Fighter,” the company didn’t do anything with it. But this one is with the company, the right people, so it should be carried to new levels and it should get more recognition.

Fumez, what have you learnt from working with D Double E that you haven’t seen in the past?

Fumez: It’s just the efficiency. A lot of people come to the studio and they need to tweak things And they need a lot of help doing it. With Double, he’s come with a game plan and he’s arrived and smashed it out of the park. For me, it’s always nice when an artist is able to be professional and have everything ready to go and know what they’re doing. That’s how I like to operate, so that was the main blessing when working with Double as a professional.

“I just want to make sure that my voice is something that people will always remember.”

For you Double, your music has taken you to many different places, from rhyming about your love for seafood to featuring on an Ikea advert. But in your opinion, where is the strangest place your voice has taken you?

D Double E: My voice has taken me into different places. I feel like I want to do a talk-over for Jungle Book, or work on a movie – I want to use my voice in different ways. It’s not just about music, it’s bigger than that. It’s about saying something and having a way that you say it to catch people’s attention. I just want to make sure that my voice is something that people will always remember.

Fumez, your freestyle platform, Plugged In, has seen some incredible moments, but which one was the most surprising for you?

Fumez: I’m going to throw a curveball here. The artist that genuinely stood out to me, and I remember sitting down and I had to listen to it three or four times in a row, was Baby Mane. He put something together that was risky, but I understood why he was doing it. He referenced lots of old-school bangers and hip-hop classics and them merged them with other songs to make it hard-hitting and relatable. I just remember not being sure if the audience was going to take to it, but it did. We shared a lot of great moments with that one – so yeah, that one took me back, because it’s completely different.

 

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With the Plugged In platform, do you think you have a responsibility to nurture rising artists?

Fumez: With the music that I record with up-and-coming artists, my approach is always about getting the job done for the purpose, and then keep things rolling and then we’re on the hunt looking for the next talent that we feel like it’s gonna smash out of the park. I’m not managing these artists and I’m not signing them and I’m not gonna look over them for the next five years and make sure they’re going in the right direction. That’s what their team and management is for. Naturally, I want to see them do well when they grow up and I can say I was definitely a stepping stone in their success, but I’m all about looking for the next star and playing a small part in their journey.

Coming from 2D fighters, how has it been getting used to the new way of playing Tekken with new and improved graphics and gameplay?

D Double E: I’m trying to get used to it! Tekken has always had that with the way it plays, but it’s about learning combinations, blocking and getting up off the floor. Sometimes it’s difficult, but that’s just the way of the game.

Fumez: I never really played Street Fighter. I was always a Tekken guy, so when I began playing, it just felt right. It’s definitely grown and developed very nicely over time and I feel like it’s the complete fighting game right now. It’s all grown, it’s the complete package.

How differently does Fumez work than anyone else you’ve ever worked with before?

D Double E: He’s moving good, man. He knows how to make the voice sound good. Normally, I’ve got to change things, but I can hear him doing everything that I need off his own back. Not many engineers can really talk to him. He’s made me feel comfortable, he’s quick, he knows what he’s doing.

 

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What do people have to look forward to with Tekken 8?

D Double E: It’s the new ting! Whenever there’s a new thing coming out – whether that’s a new song or video – it’s a big moment. This is a big thing for the community.

Fumez: I agree with everything that Double said. But, if I’m keeping it real, if we play each other on the game, the only thing you have to look forward to is licks [laughs].

What’s next for you both?

D Double E: I’ve got a hot new single coming out with Dizzee Rascal and JME called “What You Know About That.” That’s coming out on Dizzee’s album, but apart from that, I’ve got some exciting studio sessions coming up – I don’t want to say too much, but it’s exciting.

Fumez: A lot more episodes of Plugged In – I’m trying to move into the international market and I’m banking on a few US collaborations. My alcohol brand is doing well and other than that, I’m supposed to be dropping an album, but I think I’m going back to the drawing board on that one – it depends on the moves that are made in the next few weeks. But aside from that, you can expect to see my face on your screen consistently.

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