Krysis [King Rising Yet Surviving In Society] Mikhaal is a Rapper, Singer, & Songwriter hailing from North-West London.
Inspired by the Old & New School era of Hip-Hop, R n’ B & soul, Krysis Mikhaal brings a truly unique and eclectic vibe to the UK scene. Krysis achieves this by experimenting with different genres and styles to manifest his own unique sound. Following up from his debut project, Overflo, his latest EP titled Room 808 slightly deviates from his general sound. Using an 8‑track, trap-heavy, melancholic yet hard hitting body of work where he brushes on battling inner demons, self-worth, self-care, addiction and heartbreak.
However, from the time I have met Krysis he has always been mad humble and modest. Easy to talk to and express ideas with all the while being seriously laid back. He is a truly unique individual with an even more addictive and diverse sound, and I wanted the world to get to know the artist and his music.
This may come across a bit corny but if you could describe yourself with one word what would it be?
This is like the hardest question on here as I can’t describe most things with just one word…but challenge accepted bro… I think the best word to describe me would have to be ‘Wanderer’.
What was it like growing up?
I had a pretty chill childhood, to be honest, I grew up in Wembley until I was about 9 and I have been based in Harrow ever since.
I went to a predominantly South Asian high school but it was still multicultural, so I was exposed to many cultures and beliefs at a young age as most kids in London have experienced. I would often slip into the bad crowd when I was a teenager. I had a rebellious streak and a curious mind, but I steered away from that crowd before I’d end up doing something completely out of character and regretting it. I was also blessed enough to have parents who had the drive and means to travel regularly. So, I witnessed poverty, luxury, and the beauty of this neglected world which has humbled me until now.
When was it that you said to yourself, I am doing this music thing and what inspired this choice?
I have always been into music, you know, the technicality of it. I tell this story to my cousins often as they forget they were my inspiration to start producing at 14, the same way I am now their inspiration at the ripe age of 27. I remember vividly getting gassed when I saw them rapping into a £5 desktop microphone on a recording program, and I just had to learn more. I spent the rest of my teenage years just learning production and attempting to spit every now and then but I wasn’t confident with it. I used to get dissed for the beats I would play in high school haha! People used to shout ‘Krysis Beats!’ and not in a good way but I learned and kept it moving. Now, the moment I decided I was seriously going to do this music thing as an Artist took many years before it was a definitive decision. I was in University studying Audio Engineering, and I came across a new interview with Chance the Rapper. It was the quickest and most straight forward thing he said that made something just click in my head. Chance said ’to anybody that wants to try something they are not 100% about. my advice is to just do it’…and that was it.
Who and what are your influences that helped create your unique sound?
I personally love particular elements of every music genre on this earth. So, I may not actively listen to country or heavy metal music but yeah, I can get down with that guitar melody fading in and out every 4 bars, or the vocal skill of that guy screaming his lungs off. But when it comes to my sound, I wouldn’t exactly call it unique because it all derives from somewhere but my identity is what makes this my own. I am heavily influenced by R n’ B/Soul, most people don’t realise that style of music is my foundation as I never really listened to rap until I was a teenager. I guess from a baby my ears were protected and moulded to be more responsive to melody and old school instrumentation. My parents would play Aretha franklin, Denise Williams, Luther Vandross, Earth wind & fire, Erykah Badu, etc…It was only natural that I would grow up listening to Michael Jackson, D’Angelo, Usher, Chris Brown, Erykah Badu, and yes, I’ve said her name twice. On the rap side of things, I had to study because I knew my taste was solely reflected off what mainstream was feeding me. My interest in rap emerged when Lil Wayne was known as the ‘Greatest Rapper Alive’ and although I believed him at the time, I knew this couldn’t be the peak of new Hip-hop. Sure, I loved the likes of Outkast, Eminem, and 50cent but what was the new generation about to tell us? I was pretty satisfied with what was in store for the 2010s, to say the least. To wrap this answer up, rappers like Kendrick Lamar, Ab-soul, Hopsin, and Andre 3000 really influenced me as a lyricist. Since then I’ve been learning to fuse everything I know and love together to create the artist you see today.
What made you choose to combine both the Hip-Hop and R n’ B sounds?
They are the genres I resonate with the most, the styles where I feel most at home. So, it is only right to make these the foundation to this lane I’m trying to pave out. Many artists are doing this right now so it’s nothing new, but when it comes to my story, my message, and the place I am coming from, it sets it apart from most things we are fed in the music industry.
You have very intricate and thought out lyrics and songs what is your process to get into the zone?
I appreciate that analysis but I can’t help it, for the most part, haha! I’m constantly thinking about my thoughts on other thoughts. When it comes to getting in the zone that is probably the only time, I don’t overthink it. I don’t like to force the creative process so if it happens, it happens…the subject matter of the song could be inspired by my mood, or a current event that has sparked an idea then I just let it flow from there.
Your Overflo Mixtape is extremely refreshing as it reminds me of the Old School Hip-Hop albums. I love the fact that you are having conversations with your friends and family, like the skit with you and your brother before Rice & Peas. Which is a beautiful track about spending time with the family and the segue really made it come to life. So, my question is what was the inspiration and thought process behind the project? What did you take away from it once it was completed, and what learning curves did you come across?
The Overflo project is special to me because it was a completely natural and unintentional body of work. It’s the explosion in the lab that discovered a new element’ type of project if you will. From 2015 to the early months of 2016 I was actually working on an album that was going to be titled ‘Measured in Joules’. I still intend to dabble with the name and the concept of it, so I won’t go too deep on its meaning but long story short. Life hit me with many trials and tribulations at this point, which led me on a musical tangent without me realising it…it wasn’t until I was 20+ song ideas deep I noticed I was creating a whole new project. I was certain that it was the result of the overflow of emotions and inspiration I had been going through the past couple years. The skits throughout the project I added once I completed the majority of the tracks, which is, as you said an in-depth conversation with some of my closest friends and family. Covering various topics with ‘The current state of music’ being the headline. I called it a FLOcus group because I always love the passion and energy in the talks, I have with my bruddahs and people will be hearing more of them in the near future. Rice & Peas is a sentimental one of mine so love for the acknowledgement. My family is everything to me. They are to most people, so regardless of all the bullshit I was going through mentally, being with them has always been the main flame to my happiness as cheesy as that sounds. This is just my love letter to them and even that song doesn’t measure up to how I truly feel. In hindsight, I will never regret creating Overflo and the struggles that came with it, I see music projects as timestamps and listening back to this project always reminds me of the mindset, I was in. 17 tracks minus skits, do I think the project was a bit lengthy? Yep, but to an extent that was the point. An Overflo of tracks where not one song sounds like the next. This project had very little exposure but I was cool with it for I was just starting out, because as I said on 24 going on 40, ‘ I made this for myself, but maybe this won’t only speak to me.’
What are you favourite tracks off Overflo and why are they your favourite?
Gold Dust, Aroma & S2B ll. I would say these songs because they are pretty much the blueprints to the sound I was searching for while I was experimenting throughout the project. I don’t go back to this project as often as I used to as I’m trying to move forward with this new sound, but these tracks and a couple more have good replay value for me and others according to Spotify.
I remember when you sent me the pre-release of Room 808, and like I said then it is a crazy mini-movie. However, it was a vast shift from the previous laid-back relaxed vibes of Overflo. You explained that you wanted to come from a darker place. What inspired this project and can you elaborate in a bit more detail, why you went this route rather than sticking with the Overflo vibes?
Now, this is where it gets a little dark so I apologise for the change in tone in advance. I briefly mentioned that I was going through some stuff during the time I was making Overflo. Well, most of that ‘stuff’ was suffering from mental health issues. A very hard thing to talk about but fortunately, in this climate, the conversation about it is less frowned upon for black men such as myself. I was probably in the darkest place I’ve been, but was doing my best to keep a happy mask on while living and working on a 2‑part album beginning with ‘The Comfort Suite.’ While writing songs for both of the albums, like ‘Loophole & Stained Glass Windows’ I was steering towards darker, more hard-hitting instrumentals. Before I knew it, I had 5 full tracks with the same sound sonically. So, I decided to enter another room before I got to the Suite to see where it would take me. Turns out I had a lot of aggression and negative energy to release before I could move onto the next phase. I never mentioned this in the earlier questions but one of the main reasons why I do music is because it is honestly the best way, I can express myself as I am pretty much an introverted hermit. But nothing comes close to my addiction to creating something new out of love, it keeps me sane, it reassures my purpose and if I can share that energy with my family and the rest of the world then that is a life well-lived.
Tables is definitely one of my favourites off the EP. You can definitely feel the passion and aggression on this track. Plus, I love the way the track just flips and so does your flow. How did you come up with this banger? What was going through your head when you put it together?
You are way too kind bro. This is one of my favourites off the EP too. I mainly think it’s because it just gave me a chance to push my laid-back humble ways to the side, and just talk some real but braggadocios shit. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not the most modest man alive as I believe in my ability but I needed the lyrics and my tone to hit hard. I even slowed down the flow as opposed to the previous tracks so listeners can really take in the words. I wanted the tables to literally turn on the listeners which is why I chose to flip the track the moment it was at its peak. I hope I succeeded in that feat.
At the end of Tables, you segue with another skit which leads us into Venom Ft Tipsey J. You have to break this one down for me how did you construct this, and how did the idea come about? What made you also finish the track with another skit?
It’s that symbiote, maaaan. Venom found his way in this universe and for some reason and was lurking in room 809 for a human hos…Nah! I’m playing but the idea is so similar I would probably get sued if I made it a comic so let’s continue. Due to the negative thoughts, I was having about myself, life and everything else under the sun, I felt to make a skit to describe a dormant demon residing outside. Waiting to be let in to cause self-destruction as the whole Hotel is a metaphor for my mind, which is why you have me screaming ‘then I let in!’ in the chorus. The whole concept for the song is pretty much fighting the battle of staying positive in a world that can seem so bleak sometimes. Then it was only right to bring the talented Tipsey J in on the action and have the venom pass over to him and face his demons. I concluded the track with another skit as I wanted to portray the energy lost in blind rage, but also the moment of relief you have once you’ve ended your rant or mental breakdown. The phone call from the receptionist is the time of self-care which leads to reflection, and when you need to reflect, you have to be alone for a bit.
My second favourite joint on Room 808 was DND can you break down the story for me? Lyrically and where did the inspiration come from?
DND or DoNotDisturb was a couple of things for me… firstly, it was the first full track released where I am singing throughout the whole thing, so that was nerve-racking as hell. Secondly, it was mainly a moment for me to self-reflect on my journeys with love/lust, my addiction to smoking weed, and my denial of the truth of my self-destructive tendencies. The song was initially titled ‘RULES’ as I kept breaking the very guidelines, I gave myself, but I got to say I was pretty harsh on myself when I listen back. Especially when I say things like ‘everything I touch turns to fed up, I’m fed up, so mind how you move’. But it was still necessary, that harsh truth you have to throw at yourself sometimes.
Loophole was you Summer 2019 single where you have reverted to your original sound, well at least sonically. As you can hear the more aggressive rhyming style you used on Room 808, but combined with your harmonising similar to Overflo. Is this the new Krysis and the sound we are to expect going forward? Will you ever release another Overflo type of project or is that the old Krysis, not the new Krysis?
Yes and no, that’s a good question because it has only been recently where I have been consciously making songs in the sound and styles that I’ve crafted. Before I was just making song after song letting it flow freely and now, I am filtering and refining what I need and I honestly feel like the NEW Krysis Mikhaal is still on its way.
I remember when I saw the original Sky All in One Place advert, and I thought I swear down I know that voice. Turns out it was you! So, how did this come about? Did your write the bars for the advert or were they provided?
It’s crazy that you noticed that, I don’t even tell people many people about it as it’s not my style at all. Haha! But still a dope experience and opportunity all the same. I won’t get into too much detail but I caught wind of the Sky Creative Team wanting a rapper for their next ad campaign. I knew someone in the creative department at the time, I submitted my name for consideration along with a couple of my songs. I literally got a call the next day saying they want me to do a demo for them. They provided the script and everything so I didn’t have to write it. All I did was take or add words to it so the rhythm would flow nicely while I was spitting Sky content galore…I now work with an external creative team that represents Sky. It has been an eye-opener and a half as an upcoming artist, to experience the different lanes you can take other than the primary route of a musician
During this crazy period of Lockdown, you have dropped you’re a Single Stained Glass windows. Tell us a bit more about it?
I’ve been sitting on this track for about a year and I just wanted to share one of my favourites off the new batch of music I am working on. I am a very mellow fellow to the core, and I like to think I can be pretty deep when I want to be. But this is one of those moments where I just wanted the vibe to speak more than the lyrics. Stained Glass Windows was inspired by 2 things. The first one is distorted truths, I always thought looking through a stained-glass window was tedious. As it altered whatever was on the other side not being able to see with clear vision. I applied that to life as a metaphor when we become in denial of our own addictions, our flaws, who we please/hurt in the process, etc…But as I said I let the vibe do the talking as it is all open to interpretation. The Second inspiration was very simple but still important. I was having a smoke session with my bros, and one of them rolled up a spliff with the thinnest raw paper you can get. My other bro noticed a stained-glass pattern that was made through the mixture of the…you know what I’m talking about, moving onnnn…
How have you been dealing with Lockdown especially as a solo artist? What struggles have you come across and how have you been dealing with it mentally?
Honestly, as an introverted artist who already prefers his own company and going out as minimal as possible, eh, it could be worse… I can’t speak for the rest of the world though. I am just very curious about how things will be post-lockdown. We are at the halfway point of 2020 and this has been the wildest year of the 21st century. Also, since I am nothing but real with you, not only were these questions so well thought out to a point I had to take my time with this. It was very difficult writing about myself and my struggles up until now, as they pale in comparison to the oppression we continue to face as a race consistently. BUT the culture must continue and we must prevail!
From the start of Room 808 you are checking into the lobby, but they do not have your room ready The Comfort Suite. Your next project is The Comfort Suite, which is also the room you booked but didn’t get and ended up in Room 808. Room 808 also finishes with a song called The Comfort Suite Outro. Are we safe to assume that this a series? If so, what made you think this is how I want my current projects to link? It is truly a interesting concept and if this is the case then why? Finally, when can we expect it to drop?
Yes, it is a series that begins when I enter the Meraki Hotel and will conclude after 2 or 3 albums, not sure yet. I don’t know, you know I mean I love animé and standalone-episodic type shows. I want to treat my projects like arcs or sagas where growth is felt through the course of the album. Just think of Goku before and after the Frieza Saga, or Killua before and after well, all of HxH. I basically want to make the Jamie Lannister of albums as he has one of the best character arcs of TV history. Portraying my bodies of work as various rooms inside my mind has made it clearer and easier to navigate. It doesn’t mean I won’t deviate and leave the hotel anytime I please. For I’m forever learning and growing like everyone else, plus I can be quite impulsive which is why I refuse to give it a release date just yet!
Other than The Comfort Suite what else are we to expect from you going forward?
This year I have had the privilege to work with some new producers, and fellow artists so stay tuned for that collective masterpiece and yes, I mean masterpiece. I’ve been songwriting for some very talented upcoming singers and providing my verses here and there. I am still forever working on my craft, but I intend to put out much more visual content in the future including a short film. In the meantime, check out my freestyle on ‘Only Bars’ and the visual to ‘Stained Glass Windows’. Love to you and everyone who took the time out to read my boring life haha! Stay Blessed!
I want to thank Krysis for taking time out to answer our questions and appreciate his time. Krysis is now returning to hibernation to work on his debut album The Comfort Suite. He now plans to stay true to his Rap and Soul Blend whilst adding his own Identity and experiences to it. He is defiantly a unique and amazing upcoming artist to watch out for. Stay tuned and check out his music and socials below.
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Jay St Paul AKA JuJu Man
Founder of Hi…Creativity LTD
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