"I FEEL LIKE A VILLAIN. SOMETIMES TO MYSELF, SOMETIMES TOWARDS SOCIETY."
Slowthai at Sole DXB 2018, Friday December 7th.
Sit down with Slowthai, one of the leading grime artists from the UK, with lyrics that cut through with a rawness and unflinching honesty…
Where did ‘slowthai’ come from?
slowthai; no space, no caps. When I was younger my words would jumble together, giving people the impression I was slow. My birth name is Tyron, so people around my area nicknamed me ‘slow ty’.
Growing up, who did you admire musically? Has it always been grime since day one?
I was brought up around different genres. My mum would listen to garage and jungle, my dad would listen to Bob Marley, and my uncles would listen to hip-hop/rap. Grime came in my early teenage years whilst hanging around with older kids in my neighbourhood who were either making beats or MC’ing.
Your music is very personal. Do you find it intimidating putting that out to the world for everyone to hear?
I feel it’s important I spread my story as openly as possible because a lot of people my age hold down their emotions and are scared to be themselves or face themselves. If I can voice my darkest moments to the world and still stand tall, that should help others realise that we’re all human. The same flesh, all going through stuff. You’ve just gotta fight yourself sometimes.
There are a lot of film references in your music videos – Alan Moore’s Batman: The Killing Joke, Stanley Kubrick’s The Shining. Are these characters that you relate to? So called ‘villains’?
Exactly. I feel like a villain. Sometimes to myself, sometimes towards society. Those characters are relatable, so it makes sense to pay homage to great cinema/art that helped shape me in some way.
How influential is Northampton and its culture in your music?
It’s where I grew up. It’s where my story started. Those years and memories made me who I am at my core.
How do you think people outside of Northampton, and other global cultures, can relate to your music?
Listen to my song The Bottom. I explain it there. All over the world there’s a bottom of the pile within society. That’s what and who I represent.
You’ve become pretty well known for performing in just jeans, no top, and sometimes just boxers. What’s up with that?
It’s a visual act of fearlessness and being your true self, without any labels, brands or style defining who people think you are. It’s me showing the audience that this is me at my rawest. Be fearless.
Tea or coffee? Depends what side of the bed I wake up from.
Carling or Cognac? ‘Av a bit of Carling.
Kanye or Kendrick? Both boundary pushing artists. I respect them equally for different reasons.
North or south? No borders.
Rave or behave? Always rave.
Featured in Sole Magazine Event Edition 2018. Available in select retailers in the region including Amongst Few, FRAME and participating brands including adidas, Reebok and PUMA.
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