THE NEW BLXCK, are a London based collective of artists working towards pushing boundaries and shifting the culture progressively. They do not compromise with their work and sincerely believe in being true to themselves and the art-form. They are convinced that art should be presented to the people as intended by the artist (far removed from any external influences).
The collective consists of Rappers, Producers, Singers, Songwriters, Videographers, Editors and so much more. They strive to follow in a similar vein as the visionaries of old, up to those of the present day, who dedicated their lives to their craft. People who were fearlessly driven by their ambitions (whatever they may be), making it clear to all that if you see yourself as such then you too, are THE NEW BLXCK.
Q. For those that haven’t already listened to your latest project The Night is dark and I’m Far from home what can they expect to hear?
To be honest, one of the words that kept presenting itself when we embarked on this project was “experience”. Everything from the song choices and their arrangements to the overall sound and concept of the project was thoroughly thought out in order to bring the listeners into our world and give them an experience so vivid, they’d feel they were present in the stories we told. Of course, we injected some imagination and creativity but everything was directly inspired by real events that took place in our lives and we needed that to be evident. So an experience is what the listeners can expect. An experience that is brought into fruition by real heartfelt and descriptive poetry, accompanied by production that is true to our hip-hop roots but also push the boundaries into new found territory.
Q. This is also in short film format – how does that work?
Yes, the EP is structured just like a short film. We wanted to make the project as real as possible so it was important to us that it be listened to and taken in as such. It needed to be more than just songs. We set out trying to bring together as many elements of a movie as possible that could be experienced using just audio and worked around that. For example, with “The Prelude”, we set vivid scenes and hired actors to play a few roles. We went to specific locations and recorded the ambience and vibe of the environment. To some degree we just worked on making sure the essential parts of the journey that we wanted to tell were told and filled in the gaps, making sure everything fit together seamlessly regardless of its unorthodox nature. As mentioned before, the goal was to get this as close to the real events that inspired the project as possible, so that it was fully relatable and gave the listeners an experience that draws them in more and more.
Q. You’ve also made a fantastic short film to accompany the EP, which is really cool and unusual can you tell us a bit about how this idea came to fruition?
Thank you, really glad you enjoyed it. The idea arose from us feeling that we wanted to give the people a little something extra. It’s standard for musicians to release just albums, mixtapes and EP’s; that’s what is expected. But we wanted to do more. We wanted to be as creative as possible and basically enhance the overall listening experience. I (Emman) was watching “Annie Hall” (for what could easily be the 50th time) and remember thinking it would be dope to make a short film using comedy, poetry, philosophy and even a bit of fantasy to basically hold up a mirror to ourselves and force us to be amused by the many facets that make us who we are…but also be brutally honest with what we see and ask; is this what we want for ourselves. We covered quite a few themes in that film and just hoped that we could make it interesting enough to make viewers revisit it and actually uncover them.
Q. Did you guys always know you wanted to do music? Or was there like a defining moment when you realised it’s what you wanted to do?
I think it was always innate to be honest. However, pursuing it at this level was something that developed gradually for us and for some reason reached that zenith at around the same time in our lives. We’ve all had a great deal of music around us from our youth. ‘Him’, studied the piano when he was young. ‘Moment’, was honing his craft in grime circles years ago when it was at its purest. ‘Emman’, started off writing poetry/lyrics just as a form of expression, years before even thinking of picking up the mic. ‘The Missing Note’ has been digging in the crates also since a youth and ‘Domini’ can’t remember a time when he didn’t have an instrument in his hands. So this has always been our comfort zone and something we’ve dedicated a huge part of our lives to. But for all of us, it’s been more than just something to do. We believe we’re on a mission and music is just one of the many outlets we’ve been gifted with to fulfil that mandate.
Q. Who are you guys listening to now and why?
Right now, we’re listening to quite a few things. We’re always listening to Hip-Hop classics from the likes of Nas, Jay-Z, Ice Cube, Outkast etc. Their music is timeless. In a time where a lot of music is here today and gone tomorrow they give us something to aspire to and keep our minds focused on striving to createquality music. We listen to all sorts too, right now we jump between artists ranging from Fela and Flying Lotus to Little Simz and Travis Scott. We’ll listen to anything that is interesting and different. It’s not unusual for some of us to listen to comedy albums and movie scores even.
Q. Why do you think we don’t hear much socially conscious music like yours in the mainstream these days?
The simple answer is because it isn’t trending. Most people are concerned with making something that is popular, irrespective of whether it’s a true reflection of themselves. Safe songs, with basic lyrics and catchy hooks are more likely to get constant radio play, so that’s what most feel they should make in order to be heard. When socially conscious music becomes popular again, you’ll see and hear more conscious rappers. We don’t even class ourselves just as socially conscious rappers to be honest. Especially when we feel that our music encompasses that and so much more. Socially conscious to some degree, means to be aware of ones surroundings. But what’s next? There has to be progression and the only way to progress; to be bigger and better, is to break free of any restraints and just be. Be brave enough to apply what you see and know in areas never ventured before. Artists have to be brave enough to discover better; better ways of expression and better ways of getting things done. But anyway before we digress any further, we definitely appreciate the title. It’s an accolade in itself especially since most shy away from it despite there being much reason to be proud of being that.
Q. How important has the internet been to budding independent musicians like yourselves? Has it made it easier for independent artists?
Extremely important. It can’t be overstated. It allows us to enjoy the obvious pros like promoting our music to people in different countries without needing a middle man. I wouldn’t say it’s necessarily made it easier because now the internet is flooded with budding musicians who feel they deserve a shot and so it’s quite crowded. We welcome the competition so that’s not an issue. The biggest thing is that it allows us to really connect with the people. The back and forth messages that are now possible between ourselves and people who really relate to our music is unreal. It has never been like that. The feeling we get from reading a DM or an email from a fan/supporter letting us know how much a song or even a particular bar touched them, makes the hard work all worth it. And then being in a position to respond so easily makes that exchange even better. It just has to potential to make everything more intimate and personal.
Q. What have you guys got cooking at the moment? What does The New Blxck have in store for us in the future?
Well we’re focusing on the promotion of The Night Is Dark and I’m Far from Home at the moment. Trying to do as many shows as possible and really connect with the people. We’re also planning on making more music videos for some of the songs on that project. But in terms, of work outside of that…we are indeed working on our next project, the title of which we’re keeping under wraps for the moment. But that’s just a number of things we’ve got planned for 2016.There’s going to be lot of interesting things coming from THE NEW BLXCK and our YOUNG AND DISGRXCEFUL movement. Stay tuned, you definitely wont be disappointed.
The project can now be streamed and downloaded free from www.younganddisgrxceful.com.
Watch the Film Here:
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