Speaking on his latest single 'Tables Turn', the London-based musician speaks on creating his ambitious visuals, his constantly evolving sound and the process of creating his debut EP 'Volts'.
You recently dropped your second single of the year ‘Tables Turn’, what did you want to explore lyrical within the track?
I definitely feel like because my style varies, I touch on different styles. This is a style of mine that’s been kind of neglected. I feel like I’ve been doing a lot of melodic stuff, obviously I’ve always kept rapping but there’s a certain feel to this track. From my last EP 'Volts', there’s a track called ‘Fuck Up the Block’, which people really liked and I feel like it had a similar style. I was meant to shoot a video for that one too, which I didn’t, so it felt like ok cool, I’ll make up with it for ‘Tables Turn’.
How was working with Lost In Space on the visuals for the track and what was the process of creating them?
So, that was my first time working with them. I worked with Chalky, the Director. I just found him online and sent him a DM, I feel like it went really well and he understood my vision. We definitely got something good done and have similar tastes with art direction. We didn’t really clash heads at all, anything he brought to the table, I was with it and anything I brought, he was on it.
What was the main concept for the visual and what did you want to explore with it?
I just wanted it to be effects-based, I wanted loads of effects. There was no story line, I feel like most of my tracks have a treatment or a story, where this and that happens or you’re following the lyrics. With this, I feel like it was the opposite of that, it was more of a feeling. There wasn’t really any solid idea in place, I just really wanted the effects and once we got the first draft, we started putting together and giving it this Matrix theme.
"I felt like I put a lot of pressure on myself ... I guess I’m a perfectionist."
How important is that visual aspect to your music?
It’s very important, I feel like it’s important because someone might not take to your music straight away and some people don’t get music until they see the visual. People’s brains work differently, some people can just latch on to the audio and don’t really need the visual, there’s so many artists that don’t really shoot videos because people are just in love with their music, or maybe they’re just not comfortable shooting videos, I don’t know, but there's a lot of artists where there career relies heavily on the visual aspect and I feel like I’ve got a good balance of both. I don’t feel like I need to shoot videos, but I want to do it because I feel like every song of mine deserves a good visual.
You also dropped your first release of the year ‘Cameras’, what was the process of creating that single?
So, ‘Cameras’ is more or less about in this day and age of social media, I feel like there’s so many people who do things for the ‘gram’ and for the camera. So, in the song I’m talking about meeting a girl and I’m sure she would do anything for the cameras and for the gram, just to show that she associates with this and that person, going out of her way to do the most, from the start of the track to the end. I put it out because at the time it felt like a good time, at the start of the year, we were seeing a lot of examples of it, with clout-chasing and what not, so I felt like it was a good song to put out. I had it for about a year before I put it out, but that was the right time to put it out as I had done a few IG freestyles and I’m not really focused on dropping an EP or a mixtape this year, so I just went through the catalogue.
You dropped your debut solo EP last year, created through selecting the most cohesive tracks you had made, how was the process of putting together that project?
It was hard, I felt like I put a lot of pressure on myself. Some of it was unnecessary, that’s just how I am - I guess I’m a perfectionist. It was really fun, I feel like the recording and creative process was fun but I feel like everything outside of that was really stressful but that’s just music. For me, I love making music, being in the studio and doing shows and stuff but when it comes to everything else like promoting and the business side of things, it can be stressful sometimes.
"I realised I don’t feel like I have a sound just yet and I feel like this might be the case throughout my career."
The project title stood for ‘Vibes of Live Through Sound’, what vibes of life can we expect you to delve into on your upcoming releases?
So, the reason I named it that was because as an artist, I realised I don’t feel like I have a sound just yet and I feel like this might be the case throughout my career. I make music that I like listening too but because I like so much different music, that’s just how it goes. The reason I called it ‘Vibes Of Life Through Sound’, was because that’s exactly what I felt it was, no track sounded the same but they all worked together cohesively. I feel like it set the template for me, as an artist as most of my albums are going to sound like that as I’m always going to make music that I’m into and what I’m inspired by.
How does approaching music in this way allow you to leave genre boundaries at the door and create in a range of styles, always serving the song?
Definitely, it makes it easier. The minute I’m given a subject or a lane to stay in it just makes the task a lot harder because I’m not free, I feel like there’s so many limits to where you can take it. I like to go off of feelings and see where it takes me, rather than setting boundaries.
"In the past, I would definitely just lean on someone else, as I wasn’t as confident with my own voice but I don’t think that’s the case anymore."
How did this project force you into using your singing voice more and in that create more versatility within your sound?
It definitely helps. In the past, I’ve always been a fan of the writing of music. So, in the past I’ve written hooks and choruses for other artists to do and me exploring singing myself, made the process easier as I didn’t have to reach out to anyone, I could just do it myself. Obviously, it took a lot of confidence to get there but I’m here now and it’s something I embrace. In the past, I would definitely just lean on someone else, as I wasn’t as confident with my own voice but I don’t think that’s the case anymore.
As someone that co-produces a lot of their music, how does it aid you to maintain that creative control?
It definitely helps with the vision and the idea I have in my head, it makes it easier to execute rather than working with what someones giving you. I feel like I could definitely execute the sounds I have in my head now, whereas before it was always a collaborative effort, which I still do most of the time, but I have the option.
Which artists first inspired you to get into music and who is inspiring you today?
I grew up listening to a lot of R&B, so people like Donell Jones, Jon B - my sister was a heavy R&B fan, so she kind of put me on to a lot of artists. I was never confident to sing and it was kind of strange to sing then because everyone that I grew up around in the Grime area was more or less spitting. I always used to listen to R&B but it was something I’d never think of doing as it wasn’t seen as ‘cool’, or rapping, I would just always listen to Grime sets as that was the ‘in’ thing to do. People like Wiley, Dizzee, Kano … I grew up on all of those MCs. Then later on in life, I went back and started listening to a lot of rap music like Nas, Jay-Z. Ludacris, I’ve always been a big fan and I feel like he doesn’t get enough credit as an artist. Pharrell, Clipse, Kanye West - just all of those artists jumbled up together have inspired me at some point in my life.
Right now, I would say artists like Travis Scott and Drake are probably the last artists, of recent times, that I’ve definitely felt inspired by and have taken this to a next level. I feel like they’re the most important artists of this generation, to be honest.
If you had to recommend five artists to your listeners, who would you choose?
What’s coming up for 2021?
So, I’ll be dropping more consistently. I’m just focused on dropping singles this year. I will get into the studio and work on another project but I’m just working on the demand being there. A lot more visuals and just keeping at it, staying consistent as I’m told that’s something I need to work on!