West-London's, multi-faceted musician chats about her new project 'VS EVERYTHING', working on her production skills and her love for London's eclectic music scene.
How are you feeling in the lead up to the EP release?
Yeah, I’m looking forward to just releasing. Releasing is one of my favourite parts because it means that I can totally move onto the next thing. That’s my favourite thing as a creative because then what’s already been made isn’t the focus anymore.
What were the main themes that you wanted to explore within this project?
So, there are a few different topics that I cover. So, one the first track ‘Dreams Vs Reality’, was all about believing in yourself but your current circumstances not being exactly where you want them to be. So, it’s all about believing in your vision and working on it to come to life. So, I think that applies to this past year with lockdown affecting us and really realising what we want and what’s important in life.
Then the second track ‘Facts’ … is just a song about how I’m stubborn [laughs]. How I just need to be hit with the truth.
After that, ‘World League’ is also about believing in yourself but mainly it’s a love song to my friends. Which you wouldn’t really be able to tell that it’s a love song but it’s just about how much I believe in my friends and how I think we’re all ‘World League’, we’re all talented and special in our own right. We got to stay grinding and keep going until we’re at the top!
Then ‘BPM’ the last song, is a song I wrote before I broke up with my boyfriend. It was just a song about me loving this person but also it not being quite right and how we anger each other and maybe knew it was time to end things. So, the whole EP is kind of a back and forth between the battles of life that I was going through.
Being an artist we all have very high expectations of ourselves and aspirations, so I think I can be very harsh and critical of myself. So, when things aren't going as I envisioned them, it can get to me. Especially, in the first lockdown, I got quite depressed because when you have all of these hopes and dreams and you don’t feel like it’s all aligning how you envisioned it, it can get tough. But it’s a matter of battling and fighting that and coming out on top and not losing that essence within. The same sort of thing with battling with relationships.
How was the process of creating this EP?
So, I was doing a lot of writing during lockdown which will get released more so this year. Quite a lot of these songs were already written before lockdown and it was more tweaking with production throughout the year.
"... now, I’m doing more production and when I’m doing sessions with producers, I know how to verbalise myself better."
How did you first get into production and how has it given you more creative control?
Well, at first I was making music with beats that my sister was giving to me or that I had been sent and that was really nice and was crucial to me developing my writing skills. But, it was when I started getting into sessions with producers and we were making music together, that’s when the music really started to feel like my own. From then, it’s been more of an affinity between me and trying to learn how to get better at production. The more I do on my own, the more input I have when I’m working with other people, so now, I’m doing more production and when I’m doing sessions with producers, I know how to verbalise myself better.
The goal is that in the future my production will be 100% where I want it. The first song of the EP, that’s actually the only song on the EP that I played stuff in for, it was produced by my friend Mr Wize. Initially, it was a demo that I had written at home, in bed, playing around with my OP-1 - which is this really cool synth and I had written some of the core elements to the song and I had this small, toy piano key sound and a few vocal chops that I had sampled and then I sent that to Wize and he elevated it and took it to the next level.
Do you find that learning more about production is allowing you to create music closer to the idea you have in your head?
Oh, definitely. As I said, after figuring out Logic and producing more, when I am working with people I can verbalise what I want. Before, it was just me trying to help guide producers to the sound that I wanted and when I was working with producers, I couldn’t 100% get to that sound. Now, it’s just a bit easier.
How important is it for you to create without regards to any kind of genre boundaries?
That’s so important! When I’m in a session or at home I’m not thinking this needs to be R&B or Pop, there might be days where I am feeling more R&B or more weird or whatever but it’s never about creating within a certain frame, it’s just about making what feels right. Then it’s up to the people who hear it to decipher what it is.
"... conversations that I’ve had with my friends in lockdown, I think that was kind of inspiring me more so than other mediums."
Do you take inspiration from other artistic mediums such as film/fashion etc.?
More so, lately - I wouldn’t say I was really doing that before. I think you can find inspiration anywhere. Just last week … this is really random but I was writing a song and it was kind of inspired by this leather jacket. There was a yellow, Yohji Yamamoto collection from ‘98 or something like that and there was a jacket with a really cool visual on the back of it and then I was making this song and I was like ... it kind of reminds me a bit of that.
Even conversations that I’ve had with my friends in lockdown, I think that was kind of inspiring me more so than other mediums. I was having a lot of group FaceTimes in the first lockdown and talking most days and everyday interactions, you can draw a lot from them.
How was releasing ‘PIXELHEART’ just before the lockdown and what were the inspirations for that project?
It was weird not being able to do performances, I dropped it thinking that because I’ve dropped a project at the beginning of the year, Summer I’ll be doing festivals like Great Escape and support artists on their tours and stuff and do a show of my own, so it's weird not being able to have that fulfilled.
You have to adapt, it was also strange because I have a song on there called ‘Homebodies’. Before lockdown I would've considered myself a homebody, I’m quite a reclusive person. I’m social and love interacting with people but I also love my own space and all of my friends can vouch for that - I can stay in the house for weeks. One of my goals at the start of last year was to be more sociable and go out more and this was before COVID. Up until lockdown I had to choose that and I kind of banned myself because I am happier when I’m not reclusive and when I am going out to see people. So, I think lockdown made me see the value in going out and spending time with people. It’s funny, I guess listening back to that EP and hearing how I don’t want to go outside and I want to stay in until the Summertime … that’s not what I feel, right now!
How did getting Big Zuu on the ‘Hour We On’ remix come about?
Oh yeah, that was really cool. He hit me up and said that he really loved the song and that we wanted to do a feature on a remix of it. I said I was down, of course because he’s a really talented MC and I like when things come together organically, not when it tends to be forced. So yeah, I don’t think we’re necessarily two artists that you would pair together but I think it’s really cool how it came together and it’s something really interesting and special that’s come out of it.
"I was listening to a lot of Soulection, constantly, every week ... I’d be writing and getting ideas whilst listening to the show ..."
With London being full of so many different artists, how do you feel the city encourages you to experiment?
It’s amazing, there’s everything for everybody and if it’s something that doesn’t exist, then it’s like ‘let me create it’. There’s so much originality and so many different sub-genres and scenes, I think it’s a really amazing city to be in if you’re a music lover or making music.
Are there any local artists that you would recommend to your listeners?
Ok so, one artist that I would recommend, who produced the first song on the EP, Mr. Wize. He’s a really, really talented producer and artist from South London. One of my friends, Angel Gabriel, he’s very talented and puts out a lot of beat tapes and stuff like that. Things like this I could spend forever thinking about!
How was making the ‘FACTS’ visual, especially with all of the restrictions?
I think it’s just about trying to keep a tight team. So, for ‘Facts’ it was literally just three of us in the room and we shot the artwork that day. Definitely, thinking about videos now - it’s hard. It’s not like you can shoot a video in normality as we used to know it. It’s just about the context really, for ‘Facts’ it was pretty easy to make and fun to do.
There’s another video dropping tomorrow after the EP for ‘World League’ which, I know we’re talking about filming during COVID but I managed to do a video with a few of my friends and get to see them which was really nice. You can’t meet people just to meet up but … music is my job, so, I had to work that day and film the video! It was really fun, it was a day of us all at a go-karting place and the whole video is racing themed and yeah, it’s very real and captured a lot of raw energy because as I said that song is kind of all about celebrating my friends and being a winner. Shooting videos during lockdown, it’s not practical but where there’s a will there’s a way.
How important are visuals to your music?
I think videos are a really special way to morph ideas. The song separately is it’s own entity but then with the visuals
you can make it into a whole new world. Videos are really special, the most critical part for me is always going to be the music but I love making videos and doing them are fun and it’s just another way of expressing the art.
Which artists first inspired you to get into music and who is inspiring you today?
When I first started making music, I wouldn’t say an artist was more a label/radio show. I was fifteen at the time and I was listening to a lot of Soulection, constantly, every week I was listening to shows and there’s so many beats and stuff like that on the show. So, I’d be writing and getting ideas whilst listening to the show and getting put on to so much new music - so, that was one thing that really inspired me a lot.
Artists that I’ve seen growing up, I’ve always been like ‘I want to do something like that’, and make music and be an artist. I think that is what more inspired me when I first started making music and then my sister, she was producing so it just organically fell into place.
Just the London and UK scene in general, I was listening to a lot of SoundCloud and stuff at the time. When Slowthai was releasing, there was so much cool music coming up that it felt like it was opening my eyes to Daniel OG … I wouldn’t necessarily say these are people that inspired me but was just getting exposed to new music, so it was like let me try and create something for myself.
If you had to recommend five artists to your listeners, who would they be?
What’s coming up for 2021?
I kind of don’t want to drop a project, I want the year to be my project. So, I just want to be consistently dropping a lot of music and not necessarily be fixated on it being attached to a body of work. I just want to be sharing what feels right for this moment and I feel like that will enable me to collaborate with more artists and stuff because I won’t being worrying if they’re right for a project. I just don’t want to be fixated on all of the things that come with creating a body of work, just dropping a lot of music.