Speaking to London's experimental-musician Fouray on his latest single 'Night Bus!', this years 'LOCO' EP and his favourite artists from the city's blossoming New Wave scene.
What was the inspiration for your latest single, ‘Night Bus’?
This was the first instrumental that Wesli sent me and I remember straight away seeing the kind of image of, like, a car speeding down a neon highway. When I was writing for the song I had the words Vice City burned into my mind. I just wanted to do whatever I could to bring out the feeling I felt when I heard it.
The only reason I know Wesli is through Loco Cartel, sw put me in contact with Wesli and he definitely made an impression on me, sending this first. As soon as I heard it, I went straight to writing and had it finished in like ten minutes. Later on, I met Alexander through Instagram, I still have no idea exactly how but i’m really glad it happened. He saw it on my story and asked if he could hop on it and, at the time I was still kinda starstruck cause I really rated his energy. He sent me his part and as soon as I heard it, I just knew that we had to put it out in Summer. Throughout the whole process, I was just really excited to see what we could make together and i’m really happy with the result.
How would you describe your sound and what influences you when creating?
I feel like my whole “thing” would be mixing together different sounds to make my own sound. I like melding rap and singing together in ways I haven’t really heard before. Most of all though, my main influence is the things I feel. I feel like music is the only way you can express conflicting emotions and stuff in a way that lets other people understand what you mean. It’s how 'Night Bus!' and 'Flawless Blue' can both be, to different extents, really chill and really energetic at the same time.
"I feel like with each release,
I find my feet a bit more."
'Flawless Blue' was originally Mezzo’s track, to be honest. I heard it on a story of his and knew I had to write for it but I had no idea it would be that long! I feel like, though, the slow, calm beat really complimented Mezzo’s more serious braggadocio and my more confident playfulness really well! I wrote it at a time where I was really getting into artists like blazeYL and L3, I think you can see a bit of the influence in my approach.
You dropped your ‘LOCO’ EP earlier this year, how did you go about exploring your range for the project and what was the overall influence that went into the EP?
Really, 'LOCO' was just three older verses that I really wanted to put out. Both 'PHANTOM' and 'spacecruise' were written at a time where I was really discovering myself as an artist, and they’re both styles I'd really like to go back to!
The three tracks are all also really important to me because of the connections they represent. Maestro is a really good friend of mine with insane potential and an even crazier work rate, and i’m really really glad to have been able to make a track with him. Obie, the producer of 'LOCO' is a producer who has a lot in common with Maestro in terms of potential and work rate. He’s already cemented a place for himself as a new wave producer and, especially when competing with amazing producers like GYPTXVN, dxvl, manny dubbs, and ayrtn, that’s more than impressive.
'spacecruise' might be the most important song on the EP to me though, because it was the first song i made with
"I was really excited to record cause at the time I was going through a lot of emotions, which really helped guide my pen."
It came about through Alexander! I recognised the sample on his track 'Money Man' and I knew I wanted to make a song with him. Wesli sent me the instrumental to this song and I had it finished in about twenty minutes. I was really excited to record cause at the time I was going through a lot of emotions, which really helped guide my pen. It’s where my approach of mixing styles really shines best out of all of my tracks, so far. With the beautiful beat Wesli sent me, I knew that I couldn’t just do something regular. I wanted to make it feel like it was really distant but really close, at the same time. Lots of twists and turns, something like a maze. There’s a lot if conflicting messages in the song. I feel like it really represented my heart at the time.
How do you feel that your sound has grown or changed since your first releases?
I feel like with each release, I find my feet a bit more. All of my recent releases though have been more improvements on the mixing and mastering than anything else. Mezzo, Maestro, and Alexander are all amazing at what they do. I've really been working though, this year. While i’ve been dropping mostly older stuff, 'Night Bus!' was one of the last I had planned. From here on, it’s almost all gonna be new. My sound has grown so much, even from 'Night Bus!'!
How important is it for you to experiment with your sound and especially with melodies within your music?
It’s the only thing that i’m trying to focus on, right now. I feel like, especially our generation, have really shifted into trying to be jacks of all trades and, while maybe not a master of all, be someone who can perform in all trades with an approach that is unapologetically them. That’s why I feel like experimenting is so important, I want to be able to connect to as many people’s hearts as possible. I want to be able to express myself in as many ways as possible. every complex emotion. I've got stuff written on beats in every genre from garage to alternative/rnb to cloud rap to even a tiny bit of trap-metal. I'd really like to explore my sound more and find its place in every genre.
"Nowadays, though, Gambino and Smino are still big inspirations .. the UK New Wave is really what has me excited."
How important are visuals to your music and what has been your favourite artwork of yours, so far?
I feel like the edits I make really help turn a song from a sound into a world. Thinking about it - every time someone watches an edit, listening to my music, i’m bringing them into a world that my friends and I built just for them, so they can feel something. I really like thinking about what kind of vibe I get from a song and what kind of aesthetic to use for my edits. My favourite edit might have to be either the one for 'GO!', an unreleased track, 'GET!', another unreleased track, or 'Strawberry Dreams'. Those are still rough names, by the way!
Who are some of your favourite upcoming artists in London’s multi-faceted, underground scene?
This is such a tough question. I've got so much admiration for all the different sounds in the underground. Virgil Hawkins is definitely up there - his music is so addictive because it’s so uniquely him. You just can’t replicate his sound. Puellae’s another favourite of mine. She’s got a really, really good way of snapping you into the exact vibe she wants you to be in, and her voice is amazing. Without a doubt, acts like ayrtn and kibo are some of my favourites, I respect their referencing a lot and they have some of the most beautiful flows i’ve heard. Heartist OTOD is crazy impressive too - his beat selection and playful confidence make his music feel so unique and fun to listen to. Another thing that still continues to surprise me is the fact that they’re all lovely people, with really beautiful souls.
Which artists inspired you to get into music and who is inspiring you today?
Artists like Smino, the old AJ Tracey, Goldlink, and Childish Gambino were some artists I felt a real connection with and admiration for. I remember wishing I could create music like them, getting gassed over the bars and composition of their tracks. Nowadays, though, Gambino and Smino are still big inspirations but the UK New Wave is really what has me excited. Every artist i’ve worked with and named so far has changed the way I look at music, given me new perspectives and approaches to consider, and generally just inspired me to do better. Denzino is one of the talents i’m excited to see in the long run. I genuinely think the guy can do anything - he can even sing! But I can’t talk too much about that yet. Ari and Musti’s track 'Eastendurz' really stuck with me. The production, delivery, chemistry, and energy in the track all were really impressive. Ashbeck and El Londo, of course, continue to blow my mind with each release they drop - i’m really excited for 'Ashlondo 2'. Jp from 640 as well, is crazy. He’s got a lot of charisma and his music just feels good to listen to.
If you had to recommend five artists to your listeners, who would they be?
1 - Nace. Nace is probably one of my favourite artists. If you like my music even a bit then you NEED to check Nace out.
2 - ayrtn. I already spoke about him but I can’t stress enough how amazing his flow’s, wordplay, and production are when they come together.
5 - Smino. He doesn’t miss.
What’s coming up for the rest of 2020?
A lot of new stuff, with a lot of new faces. Keep your eyes peeled!