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[INTERVIEW] NOT3S

  • Upon arriving at Sony’s headquarters in Kensington, London, it started to dawn on me the rapid rate at which the organic sounds of London are accelerating into the limelight of international attention. With worldwide recognition being brought back to authentic British sounds, among the variety of emerging British talent, is the wave and energy of Not3s.

    He’s the artist vibing with a combination of grime, afrobeats and hip-hop condensed into the same vibration. I caught up with the ‘Addison Lee’ voice to understand his take on the London movement, his own energy and how he intends to navigate it all.

    Creatively speaking right now, it’s an incredibly exciting time in London, acknowledgement is being brought back to the scene from the likes of such as Giggs and Stormzy,. How do you feel like your music is going to add to that energy and vision right now?

    What they’re on – Stormzy and Giggs – is more of a crazy jump up and down, get everyone crazy vibe. My music is kinda like that, but in a happier way. It’s just gonna add a bit of brightness to the scene if anything, it’s exciting though.

    Its a popping time..

    Yeah definitely.

    What’s the vision for yourself, either energy or creatively speaking?

    The vision I have for myself is to just to be better, all the time, there is no stop, there is no prime for me. I don’t ever want to feel like “yeah I’m in my prime”. I want it to continue going, constantly progressing and hopefully be the best in the world, by God’s grace.

    Continual expansion?

    Yeah.

    Do you have a specific creative process- when you hit the studio, or even before that, is there a mental space/ vibe you have to be in, in order to create?

    I feed off energy’s and souls.

    So its the people you have around you?

    Yeah, obviously lets say if I’m walking home, or walking anywhere, I could just get my phone out and voice note myself singing a melody just randomly. But it comes out of nowhere, I don’t ever structure it as if, “aw yeah mans gonna go studio sit down write bars.” It never works out like that, it has to just happen naturally and organically.

    When I’m in the studio and my producer, Remedy, if he’s making a beat, from there I just instantly feed off of an energy that beat is giving me. The mood, everything has a certain energy to it, every sound has a certain mood to it. So I just feed off that and create melodies straight away.

    Is it like having a backlog of ideas that you carry constantly?

    Yeah, and then I even come up with and create fresh ideas when I’m in the studio.

    You mentioned souls earlier, what are the kinds of energies that you keep around you? Because that is such an important thing to be aware of.

    Yeah, definitely. My people are laid back, if anything I’m the most energetic one, but I’m laid back as well, its weird. But my people are relaxed and calming, they’re just always smiling, always happy. I don’t like the whole ‘moody moody’ thing, if they are moody it affects me… I become that.

    Do you make sure you have certain people with you then when your creating, or do you ever just go and do it on your own whilst still carrying their thoughts and vibrations with you?

    It depends, but usually I have them with me, I have most of my people with me every time I’m in the studio. You know from there, I see what they’re seeing, hear what they’re hearing, whilst listening to what it is I’m also hearing and experiencing, then I just create.

    In terms of being part of the London scene, it’s constantly expanding, is there anyone in the music scene that you look up to, even if it doesn’t relate to your genre?

    Tory Lanez, simply because he doesn’t care about anything, or what people think of him. Me, I’m not cocky. I tend not to like people who are cocky or arrogant, but his kind of persona is a bit, “even if I am cocky, I’ve worked all my life to get to this point, so I’mma enjoy it whether you like it or not.” And A2 man, he’s sick, he’s cold, for everything he’s just dope. And then Nate Dogg, I love Nate Dogg and Biggie,

    Is that your guy, Biggie over Tupac?

    Ahh you can’t make me choose, I love Tupac but I love Biggie. For me they are too different. Biggie is more laid back, Tupac is more in your face.

    Tupac had phases though no? He had loving phases, angry phases whereas Biggie was consistent.

    Yeah Biggie was consistent, one way all the time.

    Do you take much inspiration from different era’s- if we’re talking about the nineties which had its own very distinctive sound- what is it that affects your musics individual style?

    Yeah, like with Nate Dogg the melodic side of him is sick, with him thinking of certain melodies and creating certain melodies in his songs it kind of put me in a position to be thinking and also create certain melodies.

    So inspiration comes from the sparks other artists set off?

    Yeah, it just happens that way, that’s why I like Nate Dogg, cos he’s cold. A lot of his melodies I’ve loved. There’s one song I have called ‘Best Friend’, that was inspired by Nate Dogg and 50 Cent’s ’21 Questions’. I like stuff like that.

    When it comes to the visuals accompanying your music, do you have much say and control?

    I love being in control, even with all my videos, it’s mostly me that controls or orchestrates it. I like to involve my vision and energy, obviously directors and producers, they add to it as its their profession, but it has to be my vision.

    What do you feel is the best lesson you’ve learn’t since stepping in this industry?

    There are a lot of fake people, a lot of people will say “fake people can’t be around me.” But even fake people that are in the scene or what not, even if they are trying to show me fake love in terms of promoting my stuff, if they don’t like me and they’re just doing it because I’m on a wave right now, I don’t mind. People are still gonna see my stuff, just because they are promoting it. That’s one thing, that’s all I really take from this whole scene, there are a lot of weird things that could happen.

    Do you ever find the industry difficult to navigate, in a domain where you have to ascend as well as be in a creative condition, that takes some orientation surely?

    Yeah you get me, but mans gotta do what mans gotta do. Carry on riding, whatever I’m doing, not watching or thinking about anyone. Just ride what I’m doing.

    Have you seen growth in yourself since being involved with the music scene?

    Yeah 100%, when I was younger, I used to love and want attention, badly. As I grew up, I started blocking people out, I didn’t want their attention, I started to focus on my own world, on myself. From there I grew, even my sound, I used to just sing, I used to rap a lot back in the day. I stopped rapping completely and started singing, I started singing in choirs and stuff. Then I got to a point where I started doing the both, that’s where my sound has come from, doing the two things at once.

    From there, as I’ve grown, the lyrics and the way I’ve worded certain things is just getting better and better. There is complete truth behind everything and all the music I do.

    Would you ever want to focus more on the rap side of things?

    I’ve got an EP coming soon, my first ever EP, with that there are certain tunes I’ve got on there where I’m actually rapping. There was a freestyle I did a while ago on a channel called ‘Black Box’, that was pure rap. I’m definitely swaying, learning and expanding.

    If you were to describe the EP as a colour or palette, something definitive of its energy, what would that look like?

    It will probably be a sort of purple mixed in with light blue, those colours, some of the songs on the EP are summer vibes, and then other tracks are complete laid back girl songs. Yeah, it should be sick.

    Interview by Anastasia Bruen.

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