If you had to describe your music/style in a sentence, what would you say?
The music I’ve been putting out is probably best described as beat music. I’m hesitant to call it hip hop, though it’s definitely born out of a love for the process that all of those producers laid out, whether it was playing or sampling etc. I’d like to say it’s rooted more in soul, simplicity and influenced by jazz, in the sense of using music as a language to communicate emotions. So I guess something along the lines of: “a journey of stripped, soulful beat-music born out of mood and life” – would probably work, but I always prefer to hear other people describing how it sounds to them.
Have you always wanted to create music? How did you get into it?
I’ve always been about music, so much so that it took me quite a while to figure out that not everyone thinks in terms of music and that different people resonate with different things in life. Throughout my early days I played in bands, but I suppose creating music like this came about in my early twenties. Once I’d started a serious day-job, the realisation that I could create in a self-contained way and form a catalogue of music that represented a new journey was very appealing. I’d get in from work and just create, continuing to do so until I had enough coherent material to form mixtapes so I could release them into the ‘real world’ and I guess that’s where I am now. I’ve always made music with anything I can lay my hands on and almost certainly will for the rest of my days. It’s definitely not ‘the quiet life’ and I wouldn’t have it any other way.
Was there a live gig or a piece of music that initially inspired you?
Not really. It’s always been such an intrinsic part of life. I can remember being really small, at my grandparents’ family home, and my uncle would come back from London and be riffing jazz on his tenor sax. I’d sit outside the door of the room he was playing in and just be in this world of bliss. My other uncle played bass. Bass moves the soul, and I could always feel those vibrations coming from the basement jams he held with his band in that same house. That’s probably where it all started really. Then I found my grandad’s trombone and started to figure that out. I must’ve been about five or six. I’ve always been surrounded by a focus of music and have my parents to thank for that.
Do you have a favourite song or piece of music to perform? What does it say about you?
I’ve performed in different ways at different times, and it’s really about how it feels at the time. If I’m on my own, then setting a mood and building energy is where it’s at for me, which I guess is the process I go through when creating too. When you’re showcasing music that came from your own mind and people seem to resonate with it, smile, move, feel etc. that sort of experience is really inspiring.
What do you think is the overriding influence on your song writing: other art, emotions, current affairs – or a mixture of all of these?
Definitely family, experiences, colours and moods. I don’t really put any music out if it doesn’t evoke a personal emotion of some kind, or remind me of something. It’s all about the journey, where I’ve come from and what’s filled my bag along the way.
Do you have a favourite venue you’ve performed in? If so, what makes it special?
All gigs can have a unique memory attached to them, but if I had to mention something, it would be that my good friends Dave and Mike established ThisProject, and as a result, a community driven arts space called Undegun, based in Wrexham. They made it feel like a home for creative minds and there were some special moments that went along with that. I’m part of a collective called Heavy Mellow, and we put on a few parties at Undegun that seemed to bring people together, including some others you’ve Spotlighted such as Ranga and Ennio the Little Brother to name just a couple. Those guys make some really lovely sounds.
Why is music important to you?
How long have you got? In short, I guess it’s been the guide for most of my life, having helped me find a way through the madness and grow into the person I am today. Music’s a universal language, emotionally speaking, and I always remember this quote (don’t ask me who it’s by): “people will forget what you said and did, but they will never forget how you made them feel”. That’s what music can do. That’s my experience. That’s why it’s important.
Can you recommend an artist, band or album that Bido Lito! readers might not have heard?
There are a few records that I always come back to, one of which is Love Ain’t Nothing But a Business Going On by Junior Parker. It just oozes raw soul. I’m all about that. Anything where the perfection is in the imperfection. There’s a De La Soul sample from the Stakes Is High LP and some tasty Beatles covers on there – always a bonus. In terms of a more recent release, Con Todo El Mundo by Khruangbin. That record is bliss.
Grow is out now on 781611 Records DK