For her guest editor series, Rochelle Blair interviews MMI, YK and Royos. See the rest of Rochelle’s editorial contributions here.
So as the guest editor for this December, I chose to explore the topic of influence and inspiration behind not only my previous work, but also the projects and future projects of my g’s in the scene. In this conversation, I talk with YK (Nathan O) & Royos (Leroy Da Silva); multi-versed producers and artists that are bringing a whole new vibe to the music scene at the moment. As well as my girl from way back, MMI (Natalie Alexis) whose sound has yet to be released entirely but from what she’s already put out and featured on, you can tell her debut project is going to add more depth, personality and distinctive vibes to the UK music scene. Read through our convo below to explore where these wavey up & coming artists get their creative inspiration from and where they hope to take it next!!
ME: So guys, first question to get your minds in gear; you’ve been sent to Mars and you’ve been doing your thing for a bit uno cooling with the martians and what not. Just before you go, [bare in mind] you have like 6 minutes left on your oxygen tank, one of the martians say to you, “we’ve been trying make some good music lately but we don’t know where to start”
So, what song would you give them to inspire a whole new race of music?
YK: Kanye West – Touch the sky. For me I feel like that song is just like the epitome of Kanye.
MMI: But is Kanye the epitome of music? Personally I’m giving them Frank Ocean – Lost. That’s got everything; melody, got a simple beat to get you started and from there you can evolve, if your trying to evolve a whole new genre of music you can start from there and that’s kind of like a base and you can take it anywhere from there
ROYOS: Personally, I’d give them Tupac – Hit em up. Cos we gotta be real. The earth is not a loving place init we all hate each other.
MMi: We starting afresh though
ROYOS: Do you know the only thing that’s gonna *unify* us is defeating martians
MMI: i mean u starting at the bottom?
ROYOS: Hit em up is gonna be a representation of how we communicate with each outer at times
MMI: Noo noo but what your trynaa do is, let’s say they need a whole new inspiration of music, your gonna give em tupac hit em up and say you know what, just run with this.
YK: you can’t you can’t do that. That will give them the complete wrong message. If it was to be a tupac song i tank it would have to be changes.
ROYOS: Changes is a good one. but it was made because the world is such a hateful place init
ME: So guys what inspired your own projects?
YK: Scream? That was personal experience. Every single track on there was an experience that I went through personally and something that I wanted to transmute so people could listen and understand what I went through. So the first song “Psychosis”, I went through psychosis
ROYOS: Yeah man its nuts, don’t mean to interrupt you YK but its nuts to hear the experience. Like I was there but I wasn’t in your head init to hear it from your actual perspective it was quite cool.
MMI: I don’t even know the stuff you go through. But listening to it I was just like “oooh you know when it just slaps.
ME: Yeah I liked how it would go from first person to third person like if you were talking to your self, I really liked that
YK: Thank you guys
ME: What about you [MMI], you haven’t released anything yet.
MMI: aaah don’t remind me
ME: but it’s coming!
MMI: I’ve been perpetually coming man. You know what. I made my project and I left it so long. I’ve come such a long way in that space of time that I left it not only musically but also literally just in my own head space. The first project I fully did was “Loner Chords” and I was kinda just putting everything out there uno. When I looked back, I was like this is really kinda sad and when I wanted to release it, I wasn’t even sad anymore and it just doesn’t feel like a representation of me right now. So I’ve saved it but uno I’m just working on new stuff that’s relevant and if it comes back around then yeah it comes back around.
ME: that makes sense. Like MMI archives
YK: I’ve had a lot of projects/songs that I’ve released that I felt like that so I get what you mean.
ROYOS: I hear what you’re saying Natalie that you’re not feeling like that now but the time it takes to actually make a song yeah. You’re never gonna be feeling in the same way by the time you release it.
ME: What inspired your latest project ROYOS??
ROYOS: So, I was outside with the mandem one time init. We were in Brixton and I had a selection of songs ready. Then I lost my Soundcloud and I was just like… I don’t know how to move forward init how to release music. I had music on my computer and I just didn’t know what to do with it. And one day Nathan [YK] & I was just crossing the road and it was a sunny day. This summer was very sunny init. I was like I’m gonna call it “Summer Brings Smiles”. Then once the name came all these songs I’d already listed, I was able to put a mood to them a bit more and tweak them and give them a storyline. I was just inspired by the sun [how it] came up after such a harsh winter. Starting the summer off with a new attitude.
YK: That’s quite a deep meaning behind it. I like that
ROYOS: I think Natalie’s [MMI] gonna have such fire breakout project by the way but what about you Rochelle? What inspired your first project BK?
ME: When Lost On Jupiter. That was a lot of inspo from a lot of different places.
YK: That had such a different sound to it
ME: Yeah I think thats what inspired me the most. Well not inspired but like.. Creating it, I was like I wanted to do something I had full control over. So like just leaving uni and everything, I’ve been learning things that everyone wants me to learn and revising what I need to pass so I wanted to do something that I could fuck with. So no one could tell me it was wrong cos I fucked with it. That was the start with it.
Then like writing it, I would like write through uni cos a bitch was depressed. So some of the songs were written pre-may’17 and some of them just fit the beat after wards. The artwork was… everything on WLOJ was something i wanted to do my self
MMI: Everything you put your hand to you just picked up like that!
ME: Youtube lol.
Anyways, what future projects you guys got in the works?
MMI: What’s in the works for me? Erm I mean something sheet! I’m at this place where I’m just figuring out a bunch of different sounds. I just wanna put out something that’s reflective of me. I want to be able to look on the period of my life that I put that out and be like yeah I put that out because that’s how I was feeling and I can look back and be like that was the time I was feeling like that. So yeah, I’m just trying to find my way through them. I take a lot of things from my past, things that I wrote years ago I just keep and I bring them back if I feel that it fits a particular sound/mood. That’s how I’m creating my latest little thing. I kinda want to do some bits on my own. Make it true MMI sound. So it yeah, soon come.
YK: How would you define the sound that you’re working on?
MMI: I think its very difficult to define because it is a little bit all over the place but I guess that’s me as well. I rocked up to Rochelle’s house with a sole, unbaked potato, half a packet of noodles and a banana and thats kind of like my sound lol. It all doesn’t work individually but it will make me a meal! It makes me a solid meal in my belly and that’s how I wanna feel. I wanna feel full when it’s ready.
ME: What about you [YK], we were talking about ‘DISCONNECTED’ briefly but tell us a bit more about that.
YK: Yeah I’m releasing a new project called ‘DISCONNECTED’ January next year. That project is about me kind of disconnecting from the world around me, disconnecting from people and trying to find myself inna sense you know. Trying to find my true purpose and that. We’re still on this journey and we’ll see how we goes.
ME: So has this new project got anything to do with your previous project ‘SCREAM’
YK: Nah it’s completely separate. I would say its more like a journey I guess. So after Psychosis, after futuristic, after Scream its kind of like a dip.
ME: What’s next for you my g [ROYOS], you’ve released a lot lately. 2018’s been a very fruitful year.
ROYOS: It has it has and because of that, the momentums kinda leaped forward a bit. I’ve just been writing and writing. I’ve been on a hiatus lately because I’m working on a project for next year that’s gonna be huge. I’ve been working on a project called “Le Roi de la Forêt’ which means the king of the forest in French. It’s a direct translation of my full name; Leroy Da Silva. Similar to what you’re doing, I’m trying to like shed some light on the talent that’s near you. With the songs, I’m gonna release them with a short film that doubles up as a documentary cos obviously its going to be based around the lives of the people I know who are doing a lot of creative, artistic and entrepreneurial things. Its gonna be fictional but its about real people and the real people are gonna be featured.
MMI: What about you [ME]?
ME: Now, I’m on to like straight, vibesy grooves. Before I feel like the last project was very deep, very personal. So now it’s like I wanna enjoy. The epitome of the last project was “finding myself”, so the next one is gonna be called FACENDOMI which in literal translation from Italian means “doing me” which is what I’ve been doing. I haven’t been in a creative [mind] space until real recently so everything’s kind of been flooding back. I’ve been here doing up music in this room like a fxckin hermit.
YK: Those are the best weeks though sometimes when you just spend weeks making music
ROYOS: I wanna add something. NESW [NEVER EAT SHREDDED WHEAT] n*gga! But yeah, we in the talks, its happening, second show we ready!
MMI: We gotta date?
ROYOS: 27/28th December! That’s what’s happening
YK: The venues flipping wavey. Good space, good bar. It’s gonna be a madting!!
Just wanna thank my guys for coming through and speaking with me on their creative inspirations and what not. I hope that whoever reads this finds that inspiration can come from literally anywhere, whether you’re crossing the road or in a dark place in life. You can find all their latest projects and songs in the links below including pics of the last NESW event. NESW is a vibezy gigs session that YK & ROYOS put together in the summer that featured a few wavey up & coming artists from all over London (North, East, South, West if you didn’t get that already). The next ones going to be in December and it’s going to be bigger and better so follow the socials to keep updated!!