Describe your sound in 3 words
Satirical psychedelic bass.
In Capricornucopia you blend dubstep and grime elements with a very playful flow. Tell us a few things about it. What is the story behind the track?
The track went through a number of incarnations. Originally a lot of the bars were ones I’d drop to classic grime instrumentals at the end of a set as part of a big finale. The idea behind the lyrics was to blend shelling it with something more abstract, showing what I could rhythmically whilst also demonstrating how vivid and otherworldly the imagery could be.
I originally recorded the bars to a classic beat (try and guess which one) and then, after searching long and hard for the right producer, enlisted my guy Dusty Ohms to build an instrumental around the rhymes. I then re recorded the bars to the new beat and adapted a hook that I’d been using at shows for the chorus. The “Everything’s Been Done Before” part was a call and response line I’ve been using for time and I think all in all the song managed to capture the essence of a lot of what my music’s about, particularly translating the live energy I’ve developed over the years.
What is the main topic of your lyrics?
It’s hard to say exactly. The main rule I work by is that it has to be visual. I’m really into the whole idea of a painting saying a thousand words but sadly I suck at drawing so I use lyrics instead. Rather than just saying my direct thoughts on something I’d rather present an image or a scene with characters as a form of visual metaphor and let the listener interpret it. A lot of the lyrics tell short snap shots of stories that are at least intended to have layers of meaning in them. Generally I’m mostly influenced by a lot of social and political satire so I guess that’s what I’m trying to do with the lyrics, say something about the world around me as I see it as well as talking about my own personal reality in a way that’s still humorous and entertaining.
Favourite rapper, lyricist and producer?
Oooooof. I’m going to cheat and put Pharoah Monch and Black Thought combined as my favourite rapper (I really do think they are flips of the same coin in a number of ways), Aesop Rock as my favourite lyricist and Four Tet as my favourite producer. If he’s not Hip Hop enough I guess I’d go with Flying Lotus.
Trap music came to rule the world, but at the moment the genre feels stagnant. What does the future hold for hip hop in general?
I mean as much as straight up trap may have stagnated you can also hear how certain trap sensibilities have been absorbed into all different types of music and sub genres that are perfectly vibrant. I think that with these sorts of things it isn’t as simple as suddenly everything changing. If anything it’s more the case that trends right now will continue to evolve whilst at the same time the next generation of kids bring something that’s a complete reaction against what’s prevalent now.
I think you can make strong arguments that the way in which jazz sensibilities have come back to the forefront in a lot of hip hop will have a lasting impact, particularly as jazz music itself continues to evolve in parallel. At the same time I anticipate a raw, back to basics explosion at some point to counter that, something hard to balance how vibey a lot of music has become. Don’t get me wrong I love both those polar energies, it’s just that in the ecosystem of music these things have a habit of shifting.
When not writing music, how do you spend your time?
I like to read and watch a lot of movies. We’ve got a projector in the yard so it’s cool to hook it up with the big speakers on, close the curtain and have the whole cinematic experience. I really need a certain amount of art and stories in my life just to keep the old noggin in check. I like to keep up to date with current affairs because the world is nuts and it’s important to have some idea of what’s going on, as limited as it may be. I like to cook a lot because flavour is important and science is fun. I like to get outdoors because nature is essential. I also really enjoying watching stand up comedy.
What is the most useless talent you have?
Making that water drip sound by tapping my cheek. I’ve got it down pretty solid although my boy Lewis who taught me how to can do it way better than me. Such is life.
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