Can you tell me how you got into music?
I was on a trip with my school in the break between year 11 and 12 and I was listening to a lot of independent rap and hip hop, and then I just started writing. I had a friend who was trying to record songs and figure out the audio side of things, not just write the music. I was his little guinea pig and we just went from there. I made one song and I liked it, then I made another one and, without realising, it grew into this independent label and community we have now.
You released a new single, 4Bar4, do you mind telling me a bit about it?
Philosophically, there’s not too much about it, but it’s really a homage to classic, old school, legendary cypher tracks. Essentially, it’s rapping for the entire song, with both of us coming in and out of each other’s verses.
It was fun, full of energy and exciting. A lot of songs in this genre in the 90’s and 2000’s were often just the chorus, or the hook, on repeat. In these songs, the focus is on the rap itself, whereas hip hop gets down to the grittiness of rap, by championing the bars and the lyricism, too.
When we heard the beat, Stoyan and I thought that it would enhance the track if we changed it to four bars each, and kept coming in and out of those bars. We weren’t changing rhyme schemes or flows, we just decided to intersect the end of what he or I finished on, so that one of us began where the other left off. This created a cohesion of sorts, with both of us taking it in turns, and hopefully created a kind of seamlessness.
It happened quickly, and it’s one of the few songs I’ve ever been a part of that, from song production to the video, it came to me naturally.
You were talking about the different eras of hip-hop… Can you tell me which era inspires you the most?
Pretty much all types of hip-hop inspire me. You kind of have to study the “OG’s” and the forefathers to understand why your favourite artists are the way they are. Because everyone has influences, and everyone has favourite artists, it’s important in my opinion to pay that respect and do that research. The 90’s was obviously one of the most important era’s for hip-hop, but I’m constantly listening to hip-hop music from other years, so it’s all relevant.
Now that genres are kind of changing and evolving, especially since trap music has come and kind of taken over the world, it’s easy to forget that numerous artists over the last few decades have been slowly moving towards different sounds, and opening peoples ears up to the merging genres of trap, rap, hip-hop and so on.
Just talking about your lyrics, what inspires you when you’re writing?
I guess everything, big or small. I like to write about things I’m personally interested in, and I try not to get stuck on “what should I write about” or “what’s the message of this song” or “what’s the concept”.
Most of the time, the beat helps you write the song, or the song kind of writes itself. I usually get a feeling I want to get across and the beat is, in that moment, the perfect passage to get those words across. In that regard, I like to rap about anything that I find important or interesting, and not say I rap about one thing or another. If I had to label my music, it’s introspective in the sense that I delve into myself, loneliness and my family, so there are overtones of depression that come across in my music.
I like to focus on how I feel in an honest way that feels natural to me and authentic, without copying another artist’s sound. My track ‘Your Love is Weird’ was a string of thoughts during one night that made me feel a certain way, and I just wanted to get those feelings out of my system. It doesn’t feel like work to me, it just kind of comes to me, if I’m honest. In a lot of songs I’m just having fun. In songs like ‘Your Love is Weird’, I’m kind of having a conversation with someone, which feels intimate to me and therefore the lyrics just flow naturally. It’s like, you’re the only person hearing this dialogue, and I really respond to that. I just hope others do, too.
When I was listening to your song [‘Your Love is Weird’], it seemed as though this would have been a cathartic experience for you.
Yeah, it was, it really was. It’s kind of the best coping mechanism for me, it’s like free therapy if you will [laughs]. Because everything I’ve written, I’ve had in my head and thought about, instead of having that conversation about it. So, by the end of the song, I have kind of figured it all out for myself. It’s therapeutic for me and that’s kind of the most satisfactory part.
There’s nothing more gratifying than being able to help yourself without even realising it. When I play the song now, I see a change in perspective and in my personal growth. Sometimes I just write and I don’t really think about what kind of song it will be, or what album it will fit into, I just write to get it out of my head and into the world. I’ve realised that sometimes I simply write to keep myself sane, and those songs usually end up becoming my most listened to. I think that everyone is dealing with their own struggles in their own ways, but it’s comforting to know that the themes I rap about are universal and can be applicable to all kinds of different people.