FAULT Magazine discuss colorism, fatherhood and new music with Ghetts

 

Ghetts X FAULT Magazine

 

Words: Trina John Charles

Watching Ghetts – or Ghetto as he was known back then, transform from rowdy, ex prison inmate into Ghetts, the most pleasant and respectful man, wonderful father and lyrical genius whose name is now often bandied about in those ‘Greatest MC of All Time’ conversations, is such a joy to behold. Ghetts, the grown man is nothing like what you would expect from his intense stage presence. He is charming, poised, attentive and a very intelligent conversationalist. Here we discuss colourism in the U.K. and raising a dark skinned daughter, the time he had to write a war dub (diss record in grime terms) on Valentines Day and the new album, ‘Ghetto Gospel: The New Testament’.

 

FAULT Magazine: Just from the roll out your new album, “Ghetto Gospel: The New Testament’ looks like a very well thought out project with a lot of time and effort put into it?

Ghetts: Two years. I’ve been recording the music since January. I just wanted to give the campaign the same thought process as I did the music and not just throw it out there. I wanted to have videos that reflected the time we spent on the music and have artwork that represented that as well.

 

FAULT Magazine: The press release is calling this, ‘7 songs to tell his story’ is that an accurate description of what to expect?

Ghetts: It gets deep at times… but then at times it’s light hearted. Everything about me that people already know is packaged in there and then I’ve grown… I am a lot more comfortable in my own skin, so I’m able to dive in deeper and talk about situations that are going on around us now. In terms of ‘gang violence’ and whatnot… not even preaching about the situation, because I understand the various perspectives that contribute to that and why its much more deep rooted than just, ‘I’m going to kill you’. I try to share all the perspectives of the people involved… the different layers.

 

FAULT Magazine: Which brings me to the single, ‘Black Rose’ which is a song about colourism. It’s very interesting and refreshing to see a grime artist talk about colourism in this way, especially in the actual music?

Ghetts: First and foremost, I needed my daughter to understand certain things and even if she doesn’t quite understand yet, I’m just trying to empower her. I guess I can do that at home – and I do that at home – but she understands that I have a platform. It started with ‘Daddy, why do people stop you all the time and take pictures’ and now, when she’s trying to be funny she’ll be like, ‘Ghetts!’ [laughs] So when I realised that was happening and she knew people were listening to me, I thought, ‘nah… I’m at a stage where I definitely have to think about what I’m doing.’ I want her to be proud throughout her life.

As a song, I battled with myself. I fought with myself as to whether I was going to release ‘Black Rose’ first or not. I’ve touched on that topic before, but I’ve never done a full song, a video… I’m thinking, ‘I know my demographic… and if this misses, it really misses’ and it will really fall on deaf ears. I could do it the other way around and get everyone’s attention by doing what I normally do and then drop Black Rose whilst I’ve got their attention, but then I thought, If I do what I normally do, I wont even be able to get back to that place.

 

FAULT Magazine: The feedback has been very positive from women, but I’m curious as to how men have digested a track like this?

Ghetts: Different rappers have seen me and been like, ‘yeah man, that was needed’. Growing up I had a bit of that… [colourist views] It all changed at some point. I don’t know when or how old I was – I’ve been in the lime light for so long – but I know dark skin men were not always thought of like that. Growing up I would never get the most girls and stuff…

 

FAULT Magazine: Do you think that was solely down to your complexion?

Ghetts: What are you trying to say that I was just dead? [laughs]

 

FAULT Magazine: No, but back in the day you were a bit wild. So maybe that put the girls off?

Ghetts: No, I used to get girls because of that. Dark skinned women definitely experience colourism differently from dark skinned men. That song was based on me arguing with my friends about this topic. I have mad arguments on this topic. People know they can’t say certain things around me.

I know that colourism starts from my daughter’s age and even before. The lack of back dolls [mentioned at the beginning of the song] are just one aspect, but we are also influenced by what we see on TV etc… We are now in a day and age where guys like me may look for what they deem as an ‘exotic’ girlfriend to have this super-race child. So if you have that way of thinking, you are going to project that kind of thinking on to my child and she has to go to school with these children – my kid – so if my kid isn’t that strong and doesn’t know where she is from, it is going to affect her.

I’m from Jamaica and when I go back home, I can see that kind of thing in my family already. So watching her [my daughter] I can already see that its a real problem for her.

 

FAULT Magazine: In terms of the journey we witness on the album, which track was the hardest to write?

Ghetts: That would be ‘Jess Song’. My friend had Osteosarcoma, bone cancer. She’s really outspoken, and one day she rang me like, ‘Yo, you p*ssyhole’ and I was just like… [laughs], because  that was so typical of her. Then she said, ‘ you know I’m dying right? no-one survives this’ and I was like, ‘come on Jess, don’t say that. If anyone is going to survive this, it’s you’ and then she was like, ‘anyway, fuck all of that… you see when I die yeah, you’re going to write a song about me, but I’m not really on that I want to hear my song now’. I was like, ‘Jess you’re mad. How can I write a song about my friend dying?’ but she was adamant, so I said I would sleep on it. I slept on it and I came up with a concept. I rang her and I took her to the studio with me and I told her I was going to write from her perspective. She told me her story from the time she found out she had cancer and I just narrated it… Unfortunately, she died last year in January.

There are a lot of deep songs on the album. Songs to make you reflect.

 

 

FAULT Magazine: What about he other side of the spectrum, do you write from that place on the album?

Ghetts: I’m still trying to work out how to write from that perspective. I don’t know how to floss on my community… I’m still trying to work that out, but there is a song called, ‘Houdini’ that is a bit like that where I’m bragging a bit.

FAULT Magazine: Why do you find it hard to do the braggadocious stuff?

Ghetts: It’s not like I have a problem with it I just don’t want it to come from me. I like listening to it, but… I don’t know, my upbringing is really different. I don’t have a big chain yet. I haven’t bought one. Not because I don’t like watches or I don’t like chains, it’s because people that I love are still not in a position where they can come out of where we’re from so it makes me feel guilty. Also, my money only started coming in (in large sums) when I got older, when I could think from a place of maturity, not when I was young.

I’ve got a thing for bikes, motocross bikes. When I’m around I let the kids sit on my bike, because I remember being young and not being able to afford anything like that. It makes me think, ‘I want to build a place for these kids to go and ride motocross bikes.’ You don’t see any young black boys in motocross. It’s a very expensive sport. I just have this thing where I keep thinking, ‘I need to do more with my platform’, I’ve been blessed with this kind of position for a reason.

FAULT Magazine: How long have you felt like this about the platform that you have?

Ghetts: Ages… for a while, still. Just seeing different things and knowing that from my opportunities, should come many other opportunities.

FAULT Magazine: You put a lot of pressure on yourself. How do you feel when you see others with the same platform not really giving things as much thought, or doing unproductive things with the same opportunities you speak about?

Ghetts: It’s one of my business. All these things used to bother me before… other people’s music used to bother me, loads of things… and one day I just let all that go. Everyone is different and no two paths are the same. Not everyone thinks like me and they don’t have to.

FAULT Magazine: There is so much peace in minding your own business…

Ghetts: Trust me! Like now, I don’t care what the next rapper is doing, I don’t care about anybody else.

FAULT Magazine:  You said when you first started to delve into music, you were rubbish. How do you evolve from being rubbish into Ghetts and being in these ‘The Greatest MC of All Time’ conversations?

Ghetts: I don’t really know… I wasn’t shit, I was just shit in comparison. There were a lot of things I had to work on. Being in prison really helped me. When I was in jail I used to read a lot. I think that’s why my style is so descriptive.

FAULT Magazine: What kind of stuff were you reading in prison?

Ghetts: Loads of different things… the Bible mostly. Do you remember that show ‘Babyfather’? I read that book in prison and obviously Lenny and George…

FAULT Magazine: Lenny and George… Do you mean ‘Of Mice and Men’?

Ghetts: That’s Lenny and George, man! George and Lenny and them man there.

I read more in prison than I did in school. I never liked school. School is dead and I even think that now and nothing can change my mind. I feel like different people excel at different things and if you keep teaching them in the same format, you’re going to get children like myself that hate school. In school, they just teach you how to be a good employee. if you follow the structure they implement is school, you’re just training to be an employee in the real world. Why are you not teaching kids about taxes, or even how to grow food? Where are the real life skills? But I’m not dissing anybody that has done well in school, because I understand that takes a certain level of brilliance also, but I left school in year 8 and I was gone.

I was mischievous, I wasn’t bad, but then I got stabbed when I was in year 7. That was a major lesson for me. That’s when I learned that life really isn’t fair. I won that fight fair and then I turned around and someone stabbed me. I would never take that lesson back, because it was a prelude to what the word really is.

FAULT Magazine: That is such a contrast, because you are also from quite a strict church background aren’t you?

Ghetts: Yeah, that’s my thing. That’s why there is ‘Ghetto Gospel’ etc.. I still go to church now. Both sides of my family are deeply involved in church.

FAULT Magazine: Bible Study and everything?

Ghetts: Bible study all now! If I go to my nan’s before 9pm… I’m in the study, whether I want to be or not. Seven Day Adventists. That’s what I was saying earlier, my upbringing is different, my thing is just different.

I walked so many paths, man. I grew up a Seventh Day Adventist, I’ve spent time in jail, I’ve been to different schools, music… there are so many things I have experienced that most people wont have.  

FAULT Magazine: What is the most common thing people say to you when they stop you in the street?

Ghetts: ‘Legend’ …or ‘You’re mad cool, you know’ people expect me to be my onstage presence, or persona, but obviously that isn’t me 24/7. That is me tapping into the emotion that comes with the music, because I mostly do grime music people see the highest level of energy, so they expect me to be gassed all the time. Some people even offer me cocaine. Now can I just say, on my mum’s life, I have never taken coke… in my life, on my mum’s life. At the same time, I can understand why some people think that, because normally people only usually hit my level of energy when they are on drugs, I just hit that level naturally.

FAULT Magazine: What is the most annoying thing people say to you?

Ghetts: When people talk about other MCs, or clashes, or the Bashy clash from years ago… I find that super annoying. Super, super, super annoying, but then I think, I did bring that on myself [laughs]. That is the worse one though, when people start with that I just turn off in my head. You have to look at the timeline, do you think you are the first person to ever say what you are saying to me now about this situation? Just allow me, man.

FAULT Magazine: I heard Nas say something similar about people always bringing up his beef with Jay Z, that beef must be 20yrs old…

Ghetts: I’ve realised clashing is a heightened energy. Anything you do whilst clashing just spreads like wildfire. Most people are surface listeners, so when they see you that is the only thing they can bring up, because they’ve only been listening via the surface. They haven’t got any albums, all they know is clash. That annoys me. My mind is so far from even wanting to play a part in that.

FAULT Magazine: Are you saying you would never clash again?

Ghetts: I’m not saying that. I’m saying, where I am now and how I think, there are so many things I want to do and (lyrically) killing an MC is not at the top of my list. I feel like it overshadows everything else.

FAULT Magazine: It is a lot of time to dedicate to one person…

Ghetts: Thats how I feel and Im’s slo glad you said that. Do you know where I was one Valentine’s Day? writing a war dub… because I had to. Do you know how I felt at that time? At that moment, I was upset. I just wanted to see my girl like everybody else.

FAULT Magazine: Were you writing that and in that space due to pressure?

Ghetts: You have to understand, you see with the war thing, sometimes your career is on the line.

FAULT Magazine: Is it really though?

Ghetts: It is, because unfortunately war is war. If you get someone of the same calibre, people want to see that battle and if you don’t take part, you may as well halve your listeners. That’s the God’s honest truth. People like to see clashes. It’s like boxing, it’s entertainment and remember these same people – the listeners – they employ you. If you are depriving them of something they want to see… it’s mad and it’s just long. It overshadows everything you’re trying to do. Then all of a sudden another man’s name is in your story. This is my story and I take the chapters seriously.

 

Lily Allen cover shoot with FAULT Magazine: FAULTs and all

Lily Allen X FAULT Magazine

FAULT Magazine Issue 29 - Lily Allen cover
Photography: David Yeo
Fashion Editor: Rachel Holland
Hair: Jake Gallagher
Make-up: Georgina Ahmed
Nail Technician: Diana Drummond
Set Designer: Andrew Macgregor
Fashion Assistants: Ana Cirnu And Lupe Baeyens

 

Words: Miles Holder & Elly Watson 

 

FAULT: So obviously No Shame is amazing, congratulations! How’s the reaction been so far?
Lily Allen: The only reaction I’ve really seen is live from fans, and that’s been really amazing. I guess the other thing is reviews which have been on the whole really good. Couple of bad ones, but it is what it is…

 

It’s been four years since Sheezus and you’ve previously said you made “a record for a record company”, how did you approach No Shame differently?
Lily Allen: Well I don’t know if I’d made it for the record company, but I made it for the market. When I first started making music I didn’t think I was going to be a pop star. To be honest, I thought I’d be like Jamie T support act. Then when ‘Smile’ came out and whatever happened… It was beyond all my expectations. I don’t even know if it was really what I wanted, but it happened like that. Because it was successful it’s like you’re trying to repeat that cycle and I think that became wrong in whatever way, and that’s what culminated in Sheezus. I had to reevaluate what it was that I was doing, what it was that I liked and what it was that my fans liked about the first albums when it was going right, and not really thinking about the commercial aspect of things. Because those things aren’t really in an artists control now anyway, it’s all to do with algorithms and streaming figures.

 

Releasing a song at the right time and all of that?
Lily Allen: Not even that! I think it’s all to do with marketing. If you’re not a priority then it’s not going to happen like that and I knew that it was no longer a priority so I was like “Well, what are you doing this for then?” If it’s not to be a pop star it’s got to be for the other reasons, so it was going back to the other reasons.

 

FAULT Magazine Issue 29 - Lily Allen cover
And how was it going back to those previous reasons?
Lily Allen: A relief, I think. Just having the freedom to do whatever it was I wanted and reconnecting. I think it was interesting as well that the first and second albums were very truthful and honest, but from a different perspective. I was a lot younger and I didn’t have any responsibilities – it was all about drugs and sex and the good sides of that. No Shame is the other side.

 

What made you want to explore those other sides in No Shame?
Lily Allen: Just because I was in it! That’s where I was. I’ve always written about my lived experiences and what it is I’m going through. In the first album it was all about going out and London and boys because that’s what I was! I was 19 and that’s what I was seeing. On this album I was really lonely and very isolated from my friends and my peer group, even from members of my family. I suppose maybe because I was writing a book alongside the album I became quite introspective and started thinking about myself and what’s happened more. I spent a lot of time on Twitter and seeing what other people think about the world, but it was the first time I sort of explored myself outside of therapy.

 

What made you want to write a book?
Lily Allen: Money!

 

Fair.
Lily Allen: Money and running out of it! Not seeing many avenues to make it anymore. And also, aside from that slightly facetious answer, I actually don’t have a very good memory, I get really bored of repeating myself and I think that this period, the last four years at least, have been not only really important formative years for myself but for my children as well. And they’re going to ask questions about what happened with Mummy and Daddy and I’m not going to want to go over it. Also it’ll not be accurate in 10 years time when I’m retelling the story. Lots of parents have that difficulty but most parents’ children don’t have the Daily Mail online as their point of reference to find out the truth about what happened and I just don’t want them to think that that’s what it is. So it’s my way of explaining that… and getting paid, yay!

 

And what’s the book called?
Lily Allen: My Thoughts Exactly.

 

FAULT Magazine Issue 29 - Lily Allen cover

 

How about No Shame? Where did that name come from?
Lily Allen: It was called The Fourth Wall for ages because it did feel like that moment in House of Cards where Kevin Spaces turns to the camera and starts talking to the audience and saying that everything else that came before was a bit of an act really – which is true to a certain extent, but it’s slightly exaggerated. But my manager said “imagine if you’re on Graham Norton and you’re having to explain this, that makes you sound really pretentious.” Then one day I came up with No Shame and he was like “you can explain this better.” And I guess it’s just being a woman in music and being tabloid fodder for such a long period of my twenties, everything kind of came with a side dish of guilt and shame and humiliation, but it was all kind of written for me. No-one ever said “are you really embarrassed by this?” or “aren’t you really upset by this?”, it was just “she’s upset, she’s embarrassed, she’s a failure.” So I think it was me addressing all of those things that I do on the record but putting up a bit of an armour really, just saying I’m not ashamed. That’s how we move forward from these things that lots of people go through, but maybe not a lot of us talk about because we feel ashamed.

 

Obviously a lot of us don’t have our lived plastered on the front of the Daily Mail for everyone to read but especially being a young woman, is that motto of not being ashamed something you want people to take from this?
Lily Allen: I think most of of my albums have had a double entendre thing to it – except Sheezus. It’s me saying that I’ve got no shame but Daily Mail readers will listen to it and go “oh she’s got no shame that one.”  You can make it what you want to really. But then also, so often when I’ve been experiencing really great things, like album sales and playing on the Pyramid Stage at Glastonbury or whatever, it’s like I almost don’t let myself have it. I’d be like “didn’t the band play a really great show?” or “didn’t Greg Kurstin produce a really great album?” It’s difficult I think as a woman, especially when people are being so rude about you the whole fucking time and trying to tell you that everything’s happened because of other people, we find it difficult not to feel guilty about our accomplishments in a weird way. It’s that imposter syndrome thing.

 

Like claiming the narrative for yourself and not being ashamed of it. Is that what you want people to feel when they listen to the album?
Lily Allen: I’ve come to terms with the idea now that you put something out and people will make of it what they want. That’s almost another reason why the album’s got that title, it’s like you can either hate it and think that I’ve got “no shame” or you can listen to it and be like “oh that’s good, she’s rid herself of all of that guilt and shame.”

 

And you’ve just mentioned Twitter, do you think it’s important to call out people when they’re being twats on it? Because a lot of people in the public eye get people who are mean about them online but don’t address it.
Lily Allen: I probably address 0.00001 per cent of what it is that I get. And I’ve spent a lot of time online and I think most of my peers do as well. The analogy that I tend to use now is that Twitter is the modern pub. You know? And if people would talk to me like that in real life – if someone was really drunk and lecherous and annoying, I’d probably walk away and ignore him, but if I felt what they said really crossed a line I would call them out. So that’s kind of my filter for it, I guess.

 

You also use your social media to bring up issues that are happening. Do you think it’s important for artists to do that?
Lily Allen: It depends what their goal is. If it’s to make money and get lots of brand endorsements then probably not. If what you’re striving for is something different, which I do, then yeah. I feel like you’ve got to be able to back it up, you know? And I think that’s why the tabloids and everyone hates me so much is because they can’t get me. I am a leftist, I am a socialist, I pay all my fucking tax, you know? I don’t have a company registered in the Cayman Islands and they know that. That’s why they’re so angry because they can’t… if I am being hypocritical I’ll put my hands up and say “yeah that is”, but I believe in what I say. I walk the walk and I talk the talk and that’s why they hate it so much.

 

Completely. I think you’re using the influence and followers that you have to promote important things that people need to be talking about instead of being like “oh if I bring up this issue Missguided might not give me that 10% off sample sale.” So what would you say has been the worst piece of advice you’ve gotten in the industry?
Lily Allen: Sign this record deal for £25,000 from my lawyer at the time… In all seriousness I think there’s a real issue with the legal firms that are giving advice to really young people. I signed that deal when I was 19 years old and I’m still in it. It was a five-album deal for £25,000. And I paid for the advice to sign that deal and it was not good advice.

 

FAULT Magazine Issue 29 - Lily Allen cover

 

Is there any way you can get out of it?
Lily Allen: I’m working on it but I’ve only got one more album to go. But I am very concerned for other young artists for sure.

 

Yeah, it’s terrifying. Finally, what else have you got planned. There’s a big tour at the end of the year?
Lily Allen: I don’t really make plans anymore. It’s all so unpredictable. I just kind of see where the wind takes me. I’m doing this book, which is coming out in September. There’s talk about maybe people buying the rights to it and whether to make it into either a film or TV, and then I’ll take the producer credit on that and do it through my production company so I don’t know, I might really enjoy that process and decide I don’t want to make music anymore and do something else. Or I might decide to do another album.

 

Was there ever a time in those four years between Sheezus and No Shame where you were like I’d rather just…
Lily Allen: Never that I’d rather just do something else. I did do something else when I did my clothes shop with my sister and also having babies. Also having kids is choosing to go on a different tangent. So I do have those moments but I’m completely unqualified, I left school when I was fifteen, this is the only thing I know how to do and I do really enjoy it.

 

And finally, what’s your FAULT?
Lily Allen: Brexit, apparently! I dunno, everything? It’s all my fault, blame me for it. Like what’s my inner fault? What’s wrong with me? Again, the answer is just everything. I think just write everything.

 

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FAULT Magazine Interview with The Kooks’ Luke Pritchard

 

WORDS: ROBERT K. BAGGS

PHOTO: ROBERT K. BAGGS

With cigarette smoke on my All Saints cardigan, and snakebite on my converse, I would shuffle in to the local meeting point for fresh-faced dreamers, when drinking was new and hangovers didn’t last. A local band would awkwardly slither on stage and bellow some angsty homage to Queens of the Stone Age, before a playlist filled the gaps between acts. The quiet guitar rift of Naïve would start and the volume of the swaying masses increases before converging in to a flat chorus of karaoke. The Kooks have been anthemic to so many people for so many years, and in a symbiotic relationship, the band has stood the test of time and so has their music.

To this day, a long shopping list of their tracks will get a rise out of audiences of all ages, and they stand as only a handful of the early indie era who have evolved and maintained relevance as the geography of modern music has shifted dramatically, as it’s one to do. Sticking to their core musical beliefs and tastes, they haven’t leaned in to the whims of radio air time — a commercial and business risk that’s both noble and saddening — but have instead developed their sound and massaged it in different directions. Their new album Let’s Go Sunshine takes another step in to a refined and thoughtful motif that still bears the thread of the playful, nostalgic sound that made them famous.

 

FAULT: The Kooks have stayed together for so long now, and that’s rare to see. Bands, like companies, don’t usually last that long whether they succeed or not. You’ve had some changed in personnel, but generally it’s stayed constant. Do you have any advice for other bands starting out with regards to longevity?

Luke: It’s a mixture of the team. We’ve all just soldiered on when things were tough, and when things were good, we didn’t lose out heads… completely. We also have a very caring and small management team, so we get a lot of personal care which is a big part of it. They become family and friends as much as a business partnership. I’ve got to believe we’ve always put out decent music and that’s kept people excited and kept the song writing a bit more inspired. Or it’s just luck!

It’s interesting, I’ve spoken to artists before privately about support network and how when you “make it” so to speak, they become crucial in keeping you grounded and healthy, or working to your detriment. Particularly when you go through a dark period and you need a break, I know some artists have had their support network tell them they can’t have a break, they have obligations.

Luke: Yeah and there’s mouths to feed at that level. People depend on you to make money. You have to be strong with that stuff. We’re a different kettle of fish in many ways as we’re a band and we’re not megastars, so we’re not hugely pressured. But with this new album (Let’s Go Sunshine), there are pressures. There are guys in there who have kids and need to pay their mortgage, there’s all that going on. When we took some time, I raised it, and it was difficult. But it did work. It does work. Happiness is so important, mental health is so important, general wellbeing — even if you’re getting smashed all the time and enjoying it, it can get dark. Most song writers are highly emotive; your emotions are just under the surface. So you can lose the plot a bit, and it’s sad to see. But with us, we have a couple of conversations and can take a step back if we feel we’re doing the wrong thing. This is all very relevant to Let’s Go Sunshine. I think this is a really fucking special record because it’s a band coming back in to focus and being a band again, but it took us four years.

Why did it take that long? Was it perfectionism, trial and error, or something else?

Luke: It wasn’t really trial and error, we did some stuff that we shelved. So we decided to stop, regroup, and I went away and wrote some songs and we put out a best of album. It lucked out really, because from that we did some live shows and it all started to come together.

I find it interesting to see how bands progress with their sound over the years. I spent some time yesterday comparing Let’s Go Sunshine with Inside In/Inside Out which obviously shot you to prominence.

Luke: Well, this is the funny thing really. When we first met you said that Inside In/Inside Out had soundtracked a time in your life, which is really cool. But it’s a double-edged sword and I was talking about this the other day. There are a few bands I would say who are in a similar position. We are trying to breakout of that sound back then which was synonymous with that time for so many people. For example, we played a festival the other day and this girl said “listening to you reminds me of when I was 15”. It’s cool, but it’s tough! There are obviously bands that don’t have that and have this freshness. Where as we feel like we’re anchored to our first album. With this new album it’s very important for us to try and break out of that, even though we’re keeping our sound.

I hadn’t thought of it like that, but it’s true. When I say you soundtracked a time in my life, it could be seen as a sort of backhanded compliment, where I’m also suggesting you’re not relevant anymore, which I of course didn’t intend.

Luke: Oh no, I don’t see it as a backhanded compliment. But it’s funny with public perceptions as to me, day to day, what we’re doing is fresh. But it’s got to be a testament to Inside In/Inside Out being such a strong record. I don’t find it frustrating, but it’s very interesting. It’s as if we have this sound that locks us to that time and we will break out of it. Which is what our new record is about.

It is interesting. I mean, with Arctic Monkeys for example. With their albums, they seemed to always make a conscious change. Whereas, with The Kooks, it feels more like evolution than revolution. There’s a strand going through your albums that I recognise as ‘The Kooks’ but Let’s Go Sunshine is a new sound. But if you compare early Arctic Monkeys with Tranquillity Base Hotel & Casino, it’s just worlds apart. So, for you, I guess you want to break away from your sound, but at the same time, breaking away is bitter sweet.

Luke: It is bitter sweet. On the new album I was conscious to show the DNA of the band. Even when I was writing Four-Leaf Clover, I was jamming on the Ooh La chords, but Hugh brought in a more Smiths vibe to the guitarwork. We want to keep the sound but progress. You can only emulate the bands that you love, and no matter how far you go, there’s always a nod back.

Have you tried revolution as opposed to evolution?

Luke: Well, our fourth album technically was that. I mean, it was a commercial flop, but I’m really proud of that album. We ripped up the album and started again. So, we did it once, and it was exciting. But this new album is about defining us and being ourselves. We’re not trying to follow the trends; I’m not really in to trends, rightly or wrongly. I had a lot of people saying to me that we should get off the guitars and team up with producers and DJs, but it’s just not us. We’re guitars and we’re good live.

I would have hated if you had done that. I can see the commercial value, but I’d have hated it!

Luke: Radio is a tough one, particularly when you’re competing with high-end produced stuff. We never entertained that change, but there were some really great people telling us to do it. They weren’t being arseholes. But I believe in what we did. I love that we found this guy Brandon Friesen who has worked with Nickelback and Sum41, who are not in my world at all. He hadn’t done any band records for years and was working with Billy Ray Cyrus and doing country and I just met him at a barbeque. And we just decided that we should work together and make a proper record like how they used to be made.

Right, time for some straightforward questions. Favourite song off the new album?

Luke: Weight of the World.

All time favourite song to play live?

Luke: Bad Habit. Great guitar opener.

Right, this can be off the record if you want, but do you hate playing Naïve?

Luke: Ha! It can be on the record. I hate playing some of the old songs on radio sessions, but live it’s always great. Even if you don’t feel like playing it, when the crowd get involved it’s amazing. Weirdly no then, I actually love playing it. For a while I said we should do a different version, but I don’t know if we can. It’s such an epic moment when we play that stuff live. It’s a euphoric tune and chorus. Naïve is so unique in our music as we don’t have any other song like it really. But it’s funny, I wrote those when I was so young.

That’s a good point. Do you have any musical regrets? You’ve obviously grown up while putting out music.

Luke: Yeah, I have written some bad songs… some bad songs. But there’s only a few artists in the world that have never written a bad song, I mean maybe not even that. Even David Bowie wrote occasional stinkers. But one of my biggest regrets is on our second album with the mixing. One day I want to go back and mix it again and I want to do it myself. We were going to the States and we were trying to do stuff over there and you get blinded by that, and we mixed it with a big American sound. It was sad really as there was inevitably a backlash coming for us after that first album.

Yeah, you must have been under pressure for that second album to succeed.

Luke: We were, and we did it quickly too. We didn’t take our time. But, some of those songs have lasted well. But the mixing on that second album is definitely my biggest regret.

Ok, what is your most memorable performance? I mean, you recently opened for the Rolling Stones, so that must be up there!

Luke: The Stones was cool actually as I have a family connection. My Dad played with the Stones in his bands in the 60s so that was a nice connection. There are a few performances that stand out though. When we played Ibiza for the first time we were just blowing up but no one really knew us. We played in Ibiza supporting Faithless, who are amazing live,  just as Naïve was hitting and it felt like the band might actually make it you know? Glastonbury too of course.

Finally, what is your FAULT?

Luke: I think my biggest fault is over thinking, its a bit of a double-edged sword because with songwriting it can work out well to never give up and keep chipping away at a song, but you gotta know when to stop otherwise the outcome will suffer. Quite often I’ll rewrite and rewrite and then go full circle back to my original idea. And I get into some pretty bad sleep patterns when I’m working and can mess me up!

 

EFG London Jazz Festival 2018 launch party

EFG London Jazz Festival 2018

EFG London Jazz Festival 2018

Words: Flora Neighbour

Monday saw the crème de la crème of the jazz world get together for the EFG London Jazz Festival 2018 launch party. A boozy affair in the low-lit, ground-floor Crystal Room at The May Fair Hotel, the evening was packed full of entertainment and speeches from big names in jazz and blues, hosted by BBC 3’s Jumoké Fashola. People gathered together, chatted, networked and caught up with old friends who hadn’t been seen since last year’s revelry. The evening was a constant buzz of excitement and the fancy dress photo booth definitely added to it with pictures being taken towards the end of the night.

Kicking things off, Chairman of the festival’s sponsor EFG, John Williamson, spoke of the tireless efforts and amazing performances the festival produces, while also announcing the continuation of their sponsorship of the London Jazz Festival for another five years, adding: “2018 marks the 10th anniversary of our partnership with the London Jazz Festival, during which time we have seen the festival go from strength to strength. As an organisation, we aspire to share and celebrate the distinctive qualities which make jazz such an exceptional art form, embracing creativity and innovation, freedom of individual and collective expression, diversity and collaboration. Through our sponsorship programmes we also strive to help up and coming talent establish their voice on a global stage.”

 

EFG London Jazz Festival 2018

Alex Davis, Cherise Adams-Burnett, Rob Luft, Claire Whitaker, John Williamson, Claire Mera-Nelson, Jumoke Fashola, Corrie Dick, Camilla George and James Stirling. Image credit: Tatiana Gorilovsky

 

Giving the party a boost of much-needed youthfulness, Cherise Burnett-Adams took to the stage with Rob Luft supporting her on guitar to perform for the crowds in-between speeches. This year will be Cherise’s first festival, so I took this opportunity to talk to the singer. Speaking about her excitement at performing this November, she added: “I always knew that singing was a passion of mine and wanted to learn more about it, but all of the other genres, like pop, were tailored towards the commercial side of the industry, so I decided to go down the jazz route. Jazz isn’t about the hype or fame, it’s about creating good music with good people.

“The London Jazz Festival has also created an opportunity for me, with the celebration of the Windrush generation, to connect to my grandparents. All four of my grandparents came over in the sixties from Jamaica, but they didn’t talk about their experiences. So, I sat down with my grandma and spoke to her and decided to put on a separate show about her story, which is called Evelyn and the Yellow Birds. The performance tells her personal story about bravery, preparation and how she uprooted her entire life. It also explains how she found a sense of community through music during lonelier times.

“I’m so grateful to be a part of the EFG London Jazz Festival 2018 and can’t wait to perform my music at The Royal Albert Hall on the 21st November.”

 

Cherise Adams-Burnett at EFG London Jazz Festival 2018

Cherise Adams-Burnett

 

Not only can you see Cherise’s homage to the Windrush generation, other concerts created for the festival include Windrush: A Celebration, presented by Anthony Joseph, which features Mighty Sparrow, Calypso Rose and Brother Resistance, and Orphy Robinson’s Astral Weeks, with Zara McFarlane and Sarah Jane Morris.

Still London’s largest city-wide festival, with more than 2,000 artists with 325 performances in 70 venues across the capital, the music week promotes inclusivity and diversity, with artists from around the world flying in from the 16th November. Make sure you check out the online programme which includes dates for Archie Shepp, Abdullah Ibrahim and Ekaya, as well as Hollywood hero Jeff Goldblum and his band, The Mildred Snitzer Orchestra.

So, give a jazz hand to the EFG London Jazz Festival 2018 and get yourself to a concert in November.

 

For more information, visit www.efglondonjazzfestival.org.uk

 

Paxton Ingram photoshoot and interview for FAULT Magazine 29

 

Photography: Dalong Yang

Fashion Editor: Chaunielle Brown

Hair Isaac Davidson using Oribe

Make-up: Soo Park Using Bioderma & Nars Cosmetics

Photo Assist: Maya Lous

Fashion Assist: Ariane Velluire/ amah Dong

 

An earnest soul with an infectiously inviting smile, Paxton Ingram’s echoing laughter is enough to make you see him as a kindred spirit. If you’re not an avid viewer of The Voice, you may not be familiar with this gifted, rising spark. Paxton’s presence is always filled with excitement, home cooked with a welcoming charm.

Despite being east-to-west dial tones away, Paxton’s bubbling enthusiasm carried well – and we were able to unravel a lot more about the endearing and delightful singer-songwriter.

What was the first thing that came to your mind when you opened your eyes this morning?

The first thing that came to my mind was, “I have to pray.” [chuckles]

Since I’ve been here, I’ve really been trying to devote a moment to myself in the morning – to have that moment with me and God, you know? Just so I can just align myself in the day. And to help set my attention and get everything set up so I can go into the studio or whatever meeting that I have that day with a clear head. Like I know what I want to say and be comfortable in myself, you know? And that definitely kind of helps me just to stay clear, stay focused and stay like…ready. For whatever.
 
Absolutely. Do you have any particular word or scripture that comes to your mind or that you keep on repeat?
You know it typically changes like sometimes it could be… uh man… Deuteronomy… uhhh…

Oh my gosh! I’ve been reading Deuteronomy too! So funny you said that!Yes, girl, Deuteronomy! He is… he has gone before me and… oh man, I gotta go find it! [laughs]


I got it! Deuteronomy 31:8!  “The Lord himself goes before you and will be with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged.”
Yes, that’s the one, girl! Gets me through it!

I love your name, it’s so strong, so bold, so badass, so cool – what’s the story behind it?
So, I got my name from my Mamma, for starters [laughs]. She says she wanted a stand out name. I think it was from a book she was reading, a character who was named Paxton, and I think she just fell in love with it and just rolled with it.
You know, when I was a kind I didn’t like it. I wish my name was Kevin or Kyle or…Or Derek or Tim, Why can’t I have a normal name, mom [laughs]?!
Where did music begin for you? Can you tell us a little bit about your childhood? Any distinct memories that had a factor or influence on your where you are now?Music started for me very early. When I was a kid, I remembered my older brothers would be around the speakers freestyling. That’s my very first memory of music. And thinking, what are they doing? Creative, that whole thing, whoa how cool! And I would just get up and try and do what they were doing and, you know, just say something stupid – random nonsense. But I guess my brothers didn’t light me up because I was doing it. I was just a kid trying to be like them. My brother was a musician too so there was always music around the house.

How old were you?

I was a kid, so probably like five or six. You know when you first start getting memories – around that age. One of my very first first musical moments: I remember being in my living room, watching a Michael Jackson concert –  live in Bucharest. I’ll never forget it because I went out and found it years later. 1992 – you know when he just stands up and the crowd just goes wild for five minutes and he’s not even moving? That shook me as a kid, and I knew that was something I wanted: I wanted to make people feel that. You know, he was such a symbol – he was THE pop star. That was so monumental for me.I always go back to Michael when it comes to anything that I do. Especially when it comes to performance because he was the greatest.

‘The Voice’ was certainly a clocking point along the journey for you. What did you take away from that and would you have done anything differently?

Hmmm…Knowing what I know I now, I would have definitely done some things differently. Just having some skin now, but if I still had the same innocence that I did, I think what I did was perfect. Everything went the way it was supposed to. I had an amazing experience. I grew a lot. I learned a lot. I learned how to handle myself in situations like that because you’re on live, prime time television and the whole world’s watching you. Are you going to go home or are you going to stay? You know you’ve got to have that muscle in you, and so it definitely grew me faster than I thought. It gave me a little bit of thick skin. That whole experience was something like a boot camp. And they give you the tools to really go out there and to make some noise and to do it. And that’s what I think is awesome about that show.

What do you hope your music will do for the people? You’ve said how much you love what you do and that you definitely want to make a statement. So what is it that you’re hoping to achieve?

I’m hoping to make people feel something. I think that we go to music for therapy. It’s a form of medication, the purpose of which is to make us feel something. It’s an escape – just like any kind of drug. I feel like if I make someone feel empowered, if I make someone feel great, if I make someone feel better than they’re feeling at that moment, I think that’s the purpose of music. I think that’s the bigger picture – music has the power to go beyond your own achievements and become bigger than you. It belongs to people in general – a shared experience.

So if music is about sharing and communicating with people then what do you think about the role of technology in youth culture – specifically the undeniable increase in our use of technology to communicate? Where are we headed?

I think music and technology have always been the same thing. They’re like cousins or brothers. We wouldn’t have music today without technology. It’s always about  the newest, latest, tech thing that can make the sound even better, or make you work faster or get your ideas down from A to B.

I think the future of music…[pauses] I think all music will be free one day. On some cool device, some cool way, all music will be free. Because when I think about it, I feel like music was never meant to be for sale. I think music was always meant to be enjoyed. Like when you walk into a store or a restaurant, you just hear random music: you’re not paying for it. When you turn on the car radio, you’re not paying for that, you’re just hearing it. You just bump into music. Music is meant to be shared. Back when it was folklore and the village and jungle – they were just singing it. And eventually we will go back to a place where it’s just shared and free.

Aside from singing and writing new music, what are the other things you’re looking to do in the future?

I definitely want to showcase my dance more. I’m a trained dancer and I trained for years and years. We had this conversation, me and my team, not too long ago. They are saying, like, “Hey, I think it’s a hidden secret that you can dance!” I’m like, “I think you’re right, we need to showcase that way more!”

I’m also thinking about starting a podcast to talk more about different things and express my personality a bit more outside of my music.

 

And wrapping it up, tell us, what is your FAULT?

Sometimes I feel like I don’t enjoy the moment long enough. I’m anxious-slash-impatient and I want everything to happen now – or yesterday! I keep asking myself, “why am I not there now?”
And that’s why I said trusting the process has become such a big thing in my life – because things don’t just happen immediately like that. It’s a waiting game – you hurry up, put the work in and then you wait. So I definitely have to tell myself ever day: “Yo Pax: chill!”

Anything you would like to add?

Thank you for doing this for me – talking to me, having me on set. Doing the gorgeous photoshoot. That was the best experience of my life, I swear I’m not just saying that. The energy and everything was just incredible. I haven’t experienced anything like that so it was just really beautiful to do it. And I thank you guys for trusting me to kill it!

FAULT MAGAZINE ISSUE 29 – THE MOVEMENT ISSUE –  IS AVAILABLE TO PRE-ORDER NOW

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COSMO’S MIDNIGHT FAULT MAGAZINE INTERVIEW

Let’s get this out into the open straightaway: Cosmo’s Midnight is a banger addict’s dream come true. With their full-length debut, What Comes Next, producer twins Cosmo and Patrick Liney are here to enable you.

Once scrappy upstarts in Australia’s beat-making scene, Cosmo’s Midnight has since become one of its finest electronic exports. The duo’s newly-released 12-track effort is dreamy, intoxicating, and complex—with the brotherly duo enlisting both local and international features to help bring their insatiable project to life, from L.A. rapper Buddy to Swedish wunderkind Tove Styrke, and Melbourne vocalist Woodes to Sydney’s six-piece Winston Surfshirt. Libidinal R&B (“Lowkey”), heartbreak disco (“Talk To Me”), cloud rap (“Where You Been”), near-instrumentals (“Polarised”), and sultry come-ons (“History”)—their tightly curated, summery, feel-good songs are all here for the taking.

The album dropped ahead of their Australia/New Zealand tour, which kicked off in July, and the fellas are now on the Asian leg of their tour before heading off to Europe next month. FAULT caught up with Cos and Pat at their show last week in Seoul, South Korea to discuss the music, the inspirations, and their journey to her.

Interview: Kee Chang

Photography: Jordan Kirk.

What Comes Next is incredibly addictive. Did it exceed your personal, creative expectations?

Patrick Liney: I think it definitely exceeded our expectations. At the very start of the process, we just couldn’t see the end and we were finding along the way what we really wanted to do with it. Looking back now, I’m really glad we ended up where we did. Three years ago, when we were writing the first demos for the album, I don’t think we—

Cosmo Liney: It was stabbing in the dark.

Patrick: With a lot of the album, it wasn’t like we went in like, “This is exactly what we’re gonna make.” We were figuring it out over three years and piecing together all these bits. So it wasn’t an album like, “This is the concept and we’re gonna smash it out in two months.” When we finished it and looked back, it sort of made sense that it was a combination of all these different things that influenced us growing up, up until the point that we became producers and musicians.

Cosmo: We feel really lucky to have had it work out, especially with a lot of the things that happened in the process. It was very fortunate because they may not have happened. For example, when we sampled N.E.R.D./Pharrell, that could’ve not happened.

Patrick: Yeah, they might not have cleared it.

Cosmo: A lot of the features were very difficult to get and hard to maintain contacts for.

Patrick: For example, we’d get a sick verse from a rapper and you just wouldn’t hear from them for like six months. You’re like, “This demo is so sick. Let’s finish it off,” and then they hit you back like, “Here’s a finished song.”

Cosmo: We’re very used to writing songs in the studio with the person and getting the songs made that way. A lot of this album was done over the Internet.

Patrick: Yeah, just emailing back and forth with ideas and stuff.

Cosmo: We’re just really glad it came together and that it’s something we can be proud of for our first album.

Patrick: Again, with a lot of the songs, we never met who wrote on them so a lot of it feels like we have this connection with the people we haven’t met yet. We wrote that song with Jay Prince and Buddy as well.

Those guys worked independently from each other as well, right?

Patrick:  Yeah, yeah. Then there’s Boogie, Winston Surfshirt, and Tove Styrke. Panama is from Sydney so and that was good for the process. I feel like we write our best music like that.

Cosmo: It’s easier to write like that.

Patrick: It’s definitely a challenge to work over emails. You can’t be like, “Change that take,” and stuff like that because it just takes too long, whereas in the studio you can change so much in a minute.

What was it like curating what ultimately ended up on the album? Are there a lot of unused demos?

Patrick: So, so, so much. The album has 12 tracks including the interlude, but I think we had somewhere around 50-ish demos.

Cosmo: And a lot of them were good. It was about finding—

Patrick: What works. There were songs that we really liked that we kind of put on hold. They just wouldn’t have worked for the album. We’re saving them for something later, further down the line. We sort of curated the album four months out of release like, “This is the final ones,” and then we went out and finished all the tracks after that. You always have the “What if?” in your head like, “What if we did this song instead? What if I tweaked this song forever?” which is why it’s good we didn’t mix it ourselves. This is the first project we’ve not mixed ourselves. I mixed all of our previous singles up until “Get to Know.” We brought in this incredible mixing engineer, George Nicholas, on board. He’s from this band called Seekae. Sometimes when you’ve been working on a song so closely for so long, you get tunnel vision. You need someone who’s objectively looking at it like, “I know what’s best for this song.” When I mix my own stuff, I don’t know what to change: “Am I making it worse or am I making it better?”

Cosmo: You just don’t know. You kind of lose track of the entire thing.

Patrick: We often come up with ideas really quickly and take a long time to finish it because all the details take a long time.

Is there any validity to artists who say that the songs that come together fast are usually the best cuts?

Cosmo: There’s no really right or wrong way to do it, but I think you can’t argue that when you write something that quickly and something that feels so right, you’ve kind of hit a nerve in some way.

Patrick: And you can only hit it every now and then. A lot of the times, you’re banging your head like, “Come on! Come out, song!” Then sometimes it happens without you even doing much and it sort of writes itself. It’s super weird. It feels really good when it’s effortless.

You guys came to play a show in South Korea just around this time last year, right?

Patrick: We did.

You were just in Singapore and headed to Thailand tomorrow. Are the vibes glaringly different?

Patrick: Oh, it’s so vast.

Cosmo: Even in Australia, it’s so different between cities. I don’t know what that comes down to at all.

Patrick: Cultural differences and like—

Cosmo: Just how much it’s different, though.

Patrick: Yeah, it’s insane. Playing in Singapore yesterday was kind of a shock. I couldn’t believe that people came to see us play in Singapore. It was really cool. Then you have the different crowd vibes. The crowd here in Seoul—at Soap anyways—they go crazy. [Laughs] At least at our last show, it was so much fun. We’ve played in China and other places where they’re more reserved.

Cosmos: They’ll politely enjoy the show and come up to you afterwards like, “That was amazing! I had so much fun!” and you’re like, “Really?” But they really did. They just didn’t show it.

What do you prefer?

Patrick: Obviously, the instant gratification of everyone sort of jumping around is really fun. But a lot of the times, we also go and talk to people after the show to see what they thought or just to say “Hi.” Hearing what they thought of the show is where you feel good. Some people just don’t like dancing and drinking or whatever—it’s not necessarily their vibe. There are different flavors. As long as they enjoyed it, that’s all that matters to me. At the end of the day, if they have a good time, then we have a good time. If someone’s not having a good time, me and Cosmo will not have a good time and it would just spiral. If everyone’s having a good time, it spirals in the reverse way.

Cosmos: Upwards.

One of the things that seems to come up a lot when you’re asked about your early influences is your older brother Nik who really turned you onto music, as older siblings tend to do. Is he shocked by how much you took to music and how far you’ve come?

Patrick: I think so.

Cosmo: None of us were prepared for what would happen. None of us really knew that we’d be touring and playing around the world and stuff. To him, being our brother, I think it’s just more shocking because he knows us so well. To see it happening is really surprising for him.

Patrick: It’s weird. And he lives in London so he has this outsider’s perspective. Even though he’s our brother, he sees a lot of stuff through—

Cosmo: He won’t be at the shows, but he’ll see recaps or photos or something.

Patrick: We’re gonna go over to Europe next month so we’re gonna hang out and he’ll come to some of the shows. I don’t think he’s seen us play in a super long time—it’ll be cool to hang out. We’re really close, even though we don’t see each other that much. He’s only two years older than us so we’re pretty close in years as well.

What Comes Next is an interesting title for your debut album because it sounds prophetic. It seems to really set you up for what’s to come after this work.

Patrick: Yeah, it’s kind of cool because it’s acknowledging that it’s our debut effort—a launchpad for all the things that can come afterward. It’s prophetic in like a hopeful sense. It’s a prediction. At the same time, it acknowledges all the stuff that built up to this point as well. When we’re talking about our album and our process, we’re referring back to when we were kids. On the album cover, the artwork is based off a collage of all these photos of us from when we were little. We’ll be sitting in different rooms in our family house and my dad would be playing vinyls to us. They’re basically three things: Switch-On Bach, which is like a Minimoog version of all these Bach songs. Then he’d play us Jim Hall’s Undercurrent, which is this jazz-guitar album that I heard a million times. Also, a lot of disco as well. At the time, we were like, “Ugh—I hate this so much.” But then, you know, as you start getting into music, you come to appreciate it. My mom and dad would email us all this music like, “You listened to this when you were little! Don’t you remember it?” It’s like, “Holy shit. We’re really just a product of our parents.” They totally put us into this shit without us knowing. Then you’re like, “Cool.” [Laughs] I’m happy for it. That’s sort of what the album is about. It’s all these things that have coalesced and shaped us into musicians and just as people in general. We’re sort of filtering that through our experiences into a musical format. So a lot of the inspirations behind the album is super far and wide. There’s a lot of the disco stuff like Chic and Nile Rodgers. There’s some jazzy elements as well on a few tracks. Then there’s like 2000s R&B and Hip-Hop that we listen to a lot. Recently, we came back to Pharrell’s stuff and Timbaland and N.E.R.D. and The Neptunes and stuff. Then there are new inspirations—we listen to so much stuff. Lately, we’ve been listening to BadBadNotGood, The Internet, Blood Orange…

Cosmo: It’s obviously a big one. I just love Kaytranada for the fact that he can still sound like he’s got enough going on, even though he has such a specific sound.

Patrick: It’s just what’s really minimal about it that’s really full. We learned a lesson listening to all these artists we like where they do a lot with little. A lot of people will try to—us included—fill in the album’s gaps and stuff by adding more layers and details, but often, you just have to get rid of that and just make the initial sound bigger. You can write a really good, incredibly dense song with just 10 layers, whereas when we were starting out we’d do like 100+ tracks and it would just get super dense and get to be a nightmare to mix. This album was about paring back from that and going back to the fundamentals—just really focusing on the core things that make a song great to us. It’s about what we really like about the song and not over embellishing it and trying to keep it to “This is what works.” If it gets overdone, when we finally know that we’ve worked a song too hard, we can stop and pull back a bit and then send it off to George so he can just mix it. It’s good—we finally figured it out. The funnest part of writing a song is like the first day and the rest is hard, meticulous work where you’re concentrated but not necessarily creative. You’re just working at that point and it doesn’t feel fun.

What is your FAULT?

Patrick: Maybe I’m too meticulous—to a fault. I’m too overanalyzed and too self-critical and detailed.

Cosmo: My fault is that I’m the opposite of that. I don’t bring enough control to what I do. It’s too off-kilter to what we’re trying to do.

Patrick: So it kind of works out.

The yin and yang.

Cosmo: It’s totally feng shui.

Patrick: Cosmo brings the vibe and I bring the technicality to it.

For more information on COSMO’S MIDNIGHT, including tour dates, head over to www.cosmos-Midnight.com.

A special thanks to Astral People and SOAP Seoul.

Afrojack exclusive shoot for FAULT Magazine Issue 29

Afrojack X FAULT Magazine

fault-magazine-afrojack-04

Full shoot and interview available exclusively in FAULT Magazine Issue 29 – available to pre-order now!

In an overly saturated music industry, there are only a few names worthy of mention as of recent times. One of the most difficult genres to break into is dance music – by far due to the increased online presence of an abundance of up and coming producers. FAULT Favourite Kygo is one of the many that have managed to break into mainstream music through Soundcloud and ever since, he’s been dominating the charts. Before the new talent outburst, however, the EDM community was held together by only a few artists who are still breaking the charts with their continuous growth in the field.

Dance veteran Afrojack is a complex character worthy of appraisal and with his busy touring schedule and hectic media time, pinning down one of the powerhouses in dance music proved itself to be a rewarding and surprising experience altogether.

fault-magazine-afrojack-01

FAULT: You’ve previously said in interviews that at clubs, you’ve got 90% of your audience who enjoy the big tracks and then you’ve got the 10% who actually know dance music. What do you do for the 10%?
Afrojack: I’ve always been that person in the club that’s enjoying the music and not there for the girls. When I DJ, that’s still my priority. I still want to make sure that everyone is having a great time, but I always make sure that I show people something new that caters to the ‘in’ crowd.

How do you approach releasing new music? You’ve got a body of work that was only yours to listen to and afterwards you have the whole world judging it. Does that make you nervous?
Afrojack: It used to, but over the last year or so it hasn’t. Beforehand, I’d feel a lot of social pressure. ‘You’re a Top 10 DJ – so that better be good!’ And now I’m more relaxed and I’ve started doing the same thing that I was doing 10 years ago. I make music, I release it and then you can do whatever you want with it.

You’re about to embark on your North American Tour. What’s in store for the fans?
Afrojack: Anytime you prepare for a new tour you try to refurbish your set. I’ve been focusing a lot on doing more club records. I premiered a few back at Ultra and the reaction was really good. Now I’m getting the chance to present the final versions of those tracks. I see my set as an opportunity to show people tracks that they already love and also tracks that are new. People say that you’re only as good as your last record, which is not true. You’re only as good as your next record.

 

Do you have a particular track or tracks that you enjoy playing live because of the reaction that you get from your audience?
Afrojack: ‘Ten Feet Tall’ always gets amazing reactions, so I always save that for the end. I have the most fun with the beats and the drops.

You recently released One More Day with Jewelz & Sparks. How did it come to life?
Afrojack: I didn’t write it, I simply co-produced it. I’ve been working with Jewelz & Sparks a lot and they played me the demo version of this song. At the time, nobody was looking after their marketing or helping them promote any of their songs. So, I simply said to them that they should come to my studio and sit down for a bit. And a few months later I signed them, and we put out this single as the first track that we worked on together. We’ve got a lot more to come.

 

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Are you a perfectionist when it comes to your production work?
Afrojack: Yes, I am, but I have a middle ground. I don’t want to completely modify a demo that made me feel something in the first place, but at the same time, I still feel that I’ve got to clean up. For example – we’re in a great hotel room right now, but if it was trash everywhere, it would be a very trashy great hotel room. That’s basically what I try to do when I work on a production. I try to make it as clean as possible. To make a song the best version of itself.

You’ve worked with an array of established artists and you’ve recently added Sia to the list as well. What was your experience of working with one of the most powerful voices in pop music right now?
Afrojack: It was great, but I never actually met her. I’ve never been in the studio with her. Everything I’ve done with Sia was through other people, whether it was mixing or producing. I’m actually working on another record with her right now and I’ve never spoken to her. It’s insane, I put out a lot of songs with a lot of people that I’ve never been in the studio with.

 

EDM is quite a close-knit community. When I look at the line-ups, it’s always the same people. Yourself, Martin Garrix, Marshmello, David Guetta. When you’re touring, do you think of them as your home away from home?
Afrojack: David and Martin are actually some of my best friends. Especially David, he’s almost like family. When we’re doing these festivals, it’s like seeing your family, but I also see them outside the festivals too. Everyone that you can imagine in this scene is in the same boat. It’s a very weird experience to go out to 10,000 people screaming your name and then go back to your hotel room and twiddle your thumbs because you haven’t got anything to do. I can’t really call anyone, I don’t know anyone there. I know there are 10,000 people who know my music, but I don’t know them and then they don’t know me! With the other DJs, we’re all in that same boat, so when we see each other at the festivals, we’ve got a subconscious connection with each other. We’re very happy to be amongst other people who know exactly how we feel.

 

Can you look back and tell us about one of your most memorable moments spent with them?
Afrojack: When I played Ultra a few years ago, they put a pool right next to the dance floor. So – you had the stage, the pool and the party. And obviously, at one point all of the DJs were in the pool with the crowd. It’s always fun when the stage is ‘artist-friendly’ and we all get to hang out together. The party actually became a part of the set.

 

What do you think is the future of dance music? How will it reinvent itself?
Afrojack: Nobody can tell the future. That’s the beautiful thing, it’s always a surprise. But I definitely feel that it’s ever-growing. Everything in the future is growing. The future is growth in itself. I would also love to know what’s happening in the future, that’s why I’m studying philosophy. I would love to be able to predict what comes next.

What’s your FAULT?
Afrojack: The more I started learning about psychology and philosophy, everything pointed to the same thing: If you want to live as free as possible, stop trying to learn and start being instead. Being implies that we should stop trying to evolve our knowledge to better predict the future. I don’t see it as a fault, but I’m very addicted to learning and growing that I keep learning more and more. And the more I learn, the more I forget about being.

 

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Words: Adina Ilie
Photo: Robert K. Baggs

FAULT 29 – THE MOVEMENT ISSUE –  AVAILABLE TO PRE-ORDER NOW

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Bebe Rexha Exclusive Covershoot and Interview with FAULT Magazine

Bebe Rexha X FAULT Magazine

Bebe Rexha for FAULT Magazine Issue 29

Photography: David Yeo | Fashion Editor – Rachel Holland | Make-Up: Brittany Lambert Paige | Hair: Rio Sreedharan | Nails: Diane Drummond | Fashion Assistant: Ana Carnu & Lupe Baeyens | Words: Aimee Phillips

 

FAULT Magazine speaks to Bebe Rexha about her debut album, Expectations, the importance of retaining creative control and still having those pinch-me moments in this exclusive FAULT Magazine issue 29 reverse cover shoot.

 

FAULT: Let’s talk about your single ‘Meant To Be’ ft. Florida Georgia Line. The country vibe is quite different from your usual style – what made you switch things up?

Bebe Rexha: It was quite unexpected but I kinda think all the best things in life are unexpected. That’s why I called my album Expectations, because you never know what’s gonna happen. It’s been an incredible journey and I’m so grateful for it. I’d never done country before so didn’t really know what to expect, and I think that was the beauty of it.

Bebe Rexha for FAULT Magazine Issue 29

FAULT Magazine Issue 29 is available to order for delivery worldwide

 

Where was your head at when you were creating the album? What were the circumstances and emotions that inspired it?

Bebe Rexha: I was thinking a lot about life and how I’ve always expected it to go a certain way but it took me on a different path. Life is better when you just go with the flow. For me, this album has been all about me trying to figure things out.

 

You’ve co-written or co-produced every song on the album – that’s quite rare. It must be extremely important to you to retain creative control?

Bebe Rexha: Yeah definitely. There were some songs that were sent to me and I was like, oh gosh, I need to have this record, it just speaks to me in such an incredible way. I would go in and make it my own, working with the producer to tweak it. Throughout the process, I’ve been involved in the production of various songs. I couldn’t see any other way. For me, writing music has been like therapy. I couldn’t imagine putting out an album or song without being

 Bebe Rexha for FAULT Magazine Issue 29

On writing “Monster” for Eminem

Bebe Rexha:  That really changed the game for me. It changed everyone’s perspective of who I was and really shone a spotlight on my songwriting, so when I transitioned into an artist, I never once had people tell me what to do. When you write the song yourself, people really connect with it on a different level.

 

You started off writing songs for other people. What journey did you have to go on in order to get where you are today?

Bebe Rexha:  I was signed to my first record deal when I was 18 or 19 but I was mainly writing pop songs for other people. Then I got into a band with Pete Wentz called Black Cards. We travelled the world for a few years and then got dropped, so that spurred me into really focusing on my songwriting and my craft. It was a blessing in disguise because it taught me a lot about the industry and perfecting what I can do. That’s when I wrote ‘The Monster’. No one really understood the song because they thought it was a little creepy or too weird, so when Eminem got it I was thrilled. That really changed the game for me. It changed everyone’s perspective of who I was and really shone a spotlight on my songwriting, so when I transitioned into an artist, I never once had people tell me what to do. When you write the song yourself, people really connect with it on a different level.

Bebe Rexha for FAULT Magazine Issue 29

Do you think you’ve gotten used to all then – the success and fame?

Bebe Rexha: Not at all, I still feel like I don’t belong. It was never handed to me on a silver platter, like, here you go, you’re a star! I was always the underdog. I was a little quirky, a little different, I would write my own songs. But I’m so supportive of other females and other artists

 

What is your FAULT?

Bebe Rexha: It’s hard for me to enjoy being in the moment, I’m always thinking about the next thing.

 

FAULT MAGAZINE ISSUE 29 – THE MOVEMENT ISSUE –  IS AVAILABLE TO PRE-ORDER NOW

 *FAULT MAGAZINE IS AVAILABLE FOR DELIVERY WORLDWIDE*

…Or get your copy digitally via Zinio! 1 year’s subscription = just £14.40