Friday, 15 May 2015

The Rest

Photo by Sirius Film
So here it is; my first interview of the year, and I couldn't think of anyone else to kick things off with. I spent the day with Alex and Lewis, two filmmakers who go by the name 'The Rest'. We had a great day chilling and finding out about each other. In this interview we talked about how they started out, what projects they've been working on and their goals for the future. Enjoy!

Who are you?

Alex: Alex Motlhabane, Lewis Levi and were The Rest, a filmmaking duo from Northampton.

How long have you guys been doing film?

Lewis: Ive been filming for just over three years now. Two years at uni, one year freelance.

Alex: Ive been filming for around four years now. I had a music video module at college, it was the only part of the course I was good at and enjoyed, so when I had to go to uni, I wanted to do more of that and took a film production course.

How would you define The Rest? What does it symbolise?

Alex: We dont try to apply to any genres and dont feel a part of the mainstream culture when it comes to being filmmakers/videographers. Its about making work thats a representation of you and if other people like it then great.

Do you think coming from Northampton limits you as far as creativity and reaching out to other creatives?

Alex: Yes and no. In terms of access, London is second to none because when were in London, we have access to cameras, to studios etc. But not being from London works to our advantage in my opinion. Not like a major difference but it gives us more of a universal way of looking at things.

I love London, but I think sometimes people forget that there
s life outside of the city. We all pay attention to whats happening here because its the capital and we visit often but I wouldnt be surprised if people from the city dont venture out.

Do you feel like the people you grew up around have an understanding of what you do?

Lewis: From the age of around thirteen, I was hanging around with Alex and weve always shared similar interests/thoughts when it comes to anything Art based. But all the people I grew up with, I no longer talk to. I guess I just grew up and grew apart from a lot of people. So as far as anyone else having an understanding of what we do, I dont really know.

Alex: The people that are around do understand and thats what matters. Its difficult and its hard to justify to your parents and family because money wise its not great right now. But theyre very supportive and always impressed.

How did you first get connected with Kojey Radical?

Alex: We first met Kojey shortly after his Chapter 2 show. Craig MPH (co-founder of PUSHCRAYONS) checked out our work, passed it on to Kojey and they must have liked it.

How did the response to The Garden Party make you feel?

Photo by Ray Fiasco
Lewis: The response was sick, right now its just over 25,000 views. But, we dont really care about views because to us, its more about who sees it, not how many people see it. Id rather people watch it (whatever it may be) and connect with it negatively or positively rather than to just watch it because its got a little hype around it.

How was filming Bambu different from filming The Garden Party?

Alex: Visually, Bambu is more the style we want to do at the moment compared to The Garden Party where at the time we wanted to make dark, social realism films. But we knew what The Garden Party needed and we knew we could deliver cause weve done similar in the past. But Bambu is the opposite. Technically, Bambu is sick and everything came very natural.

Can you tell us the story behind Bambu?

Photo by Ray Fiasco
Alex: If you want to teach somebody something, youre supposed to give them a little bit of new information with a little bit of what they know so that its easier for them to digest. And thats what Kojey does with the track, and thats what I believe the video does. 

What was it like having your work published via The FADER?

Alex: The FADER is great, we appreciate it because it gave us a great place to jump start from. But being virtually nobodies, it can be a nightmare getting on those platforms. We kind of appreciate it and dont appreciate it at the same time.

Lewis: I just dont like the idea of relying on those platforms. They scramble to post the latest Kendrick Lamar or Drake video etc, but theyll have new talent on hold for weeks before they set a release date. Its all long. Either way, I appreciate all the love the Bambus received so far.

What is your proudest piece of work to date?

Alex: It has to be Bambu now because its a quality shift for us. But The Boy With The Thorn In His Side rivals Bambu because I feel like we just knocked a short film out and it came out sick.

Lewis: Bambu, easy.

Whats the ultimate goal for you guys in the end?

Lewis: The ultimate goal for me is to be making feature films. I also want to be one of the people that change the way in which we create and view music videos. Weve got the ideas, but a lot of musicians are scared to break the basic conventions that music videos follow currently, which is understandable because its safe, but its getting boring.

Alex: Feature films, for real. But Id also love to have a production company where we also housed other directors. I want to be an Andy Warhol type figure and have an input in all things once I get to an influential place. What seems more important right now though is that I feel like we need an online media company that will treat our work properly, you know. Somewhere that cares about celebrating great work and not just chasing the hits. There are some out there but not the leading ones. Its difficult.

What creatives are you supporting in London right now?

Lewis: So many people are doing stuff I support. But right now, Im going to say Jasper Sommer because Ive heard whats to come and its [flame emoji]. 808INK / Black.Anubi$ are keeping things interesting, those guys are crazy talented. Lastly, Kojey Radical. I think hes either hit or miss with a lot of people, but his unreleased material is powerful/ground-breaking. Genius level.

Alex: A lot of people. I agree with Lewis on all those people and honestly we could sit here and drop names all day but its long. But beyond just music, London is really strong because of this. But as soon as people pop off, they go and set up shop in US. Fuck that, let them come here. We can still make money in America without selling America.

Photo by Sirius Film

[Watch Bambu here if you haven't]

Tuesday, 21 April 2015


I can't believe I haven't written a blogpost since October 2014! However, I shall be back very soon with some more content including cool features and very special interviews. I've been working alot on my photography website and instagram Sirius Film (previously known as 'HIWTHIA'). If you haven't seen my work then I promise you it's worth checking out.
I've also taken time out to focus on my studies and am excited to be starting a degree with the UAL family later on this year. You can read all about my photography final major project in my first ever interview with the very cool girl culture blog Superhero Mag.
I have also been trying to find motivation within myself. I've been to so many events, concerts, exhibitions and museums trying to find inspiration for both Sirius Film and Sirius Mode. I have spent time hanging out and conversing with alot of creatives, especially some of my friends in Neverland Clan, who I've collaborated with for photography and video based projects. I will be posting some of my work with them in due time.
For now, I will slowly be building Sirius Mode back up again. I have some great people lined up for interviews and possibly some follow-up interviews with creatives I've spoken to in the past. I want to work more with moving image and I will definitely be posting more of my photography work on here. I want to do alot of things however I'm not ready to tell you what that is just yet. Thank you to anyone who has supported me in the past and still is. I appreciate all the positive messages and comments and welcome the constructive ones; it only motivates me to work harder.
Hopefully my next post for you is something that you will enjoy.

Joey Bada$$ // ROUGH TRADE // LONDON

Sunday, 12 October 2014

Isaac Danquah: The Boy Meets Man Experiment

It's been a while since my last interview, however I'm back with something special from Isaac Danquah, 20 year old rapper from Hackney. The sensational lyricist has recently just dropped his latest project 'The Boy Meets Man Experiment', streaming on many websites including Complex. I caught up with Isaac a few weeks before the release, to find out how he's been getting on...

What was it like growing up in hackney?

"This question got me digging the crates of the minds museum, haha !! Man looking back I think balance of a few things. Lived here with my family for as long as I remember, cultural house hold so ultimately cant escape my roots. But i was also a kid who moved with like minded friends free from most pressures and just wanting to do shit all the time. Of course growing up as an inner city youth in London your exposed to a lot from young age and for the most part the hyper masculine attitude i.e 'do it or you're a p-ssy' scenarios occurred often as well as other things. But its a part of inner city living, secondary/primary friends, parties and nostalgic vibes always. I feel like it ultimately stemmed the type of person I am today and I'm greatful." 

Was music always something you wanted to do?

"A very solid question, I feel like from young I have been admirer of the performer and sounds, I think one of the first visual experiences I can remember is Michael Jackson in Bucharest performing, seeing people collapse whilst he's passionately singing and having the crowd at the time in awe was crazy. But ultimately I feel like there was a periods in my life where soundtracks went hand in hand with me growing up. My parents used to host parties a lot back in the day so I took musical elements from those moments to grand theft auto game soundtracks with sounds from the 70's and prior award shows to current made me a fan in general. When grime music first came about I saw dudes perusing the musical art form who were no different than myself, so at around 11/12, I was rhyming locally and in secondary school for fun, left it for a while. It wasn't until after I left after secondary where that period in my life, the only vent was a soothing output recording songs in my boys bedroom. All I had was the music, that being said amongst other experiences it might be written somewhere for me to but i have always been a fan ultimately."

What is it like preforming?

"Performing is one of those things that has been one of the barrier breakers for me. The type of person I was before I first ever got on stage ever for the first time, I was quite quiet. But ultimately I had to prove to myself that I can be able to deliver on any of life's platforms.Going into shows especially are quite an emotional mix of wanting to perfect words to delivering a lasting performance. Over my time I've done a fair few exciting sets I personally have enjoyed and its the satisfaction. Overall its the physical end product of fractions of hours put into your craft, delivery and effort showcased to a small or large crowd is always cool."

Have there ever been times when you've felt like giving up?

"I wouldn't want to contradict myself to say negative things have not once crossed my mind in the past but for me its perseverance, discipline and also re-assessing find where you stand and sometimes why you started in the first place. For me I like to read on great people sometimes, even talk to people sometimes. Motivation comes from the weirdest places." 

You also model. What kind of campaigns have u been involved in?

"I think whenever finding your feet in the world it never hurts to try things and experience, provide memories but also just wanting to push to do more. Fashion I have been a fan of for a long time. Style in itself is an art-form and quite cool but kind of in reference to the earlier line finding my feet. 2012 was the eye opening year for me really seeing things differently and within that short space of time, things slightly started popping off . I think where i'm from and growing up round my area, I have got to experience different types of people, backgrounds, cultures and subcultures, however most of us then and even today hardly ever get a shot or are just not in the position to make things happen due to self, financial issues, family and many other things. It's quite easy to fall into a subjective mindset of 'the sky is the limit' you know. Sometime's people don't do things just because of people not relating or they're afraid of doing something different. That is common aesthetic, a norm where i'm at and I've always been the person who liked a challenge, a one dimensional attitude. I think there was a trend revival period in the east end and in London after the the riots. People fail to address that time as turning point but that's just me. Gentrification of the rich fashion art world kind of narrowed into the inner city a bit more in places which are considered I would say a nay to go to at the time. I have seen being a roughneck modern wild west to a more subtle ghetto high end if you like, in terms of changes of people attitudes and so on. One example; I lived across a theatre which quite recently closed down and was re-modeled into studio spaces. I wanted to get into fashion just because of people who I related to musically especially in the genre of rap, But I honestly didn't know what I was getting into. No harm in trying right? One particular Saturday I looked my window to see a whole crew of people in the cage across the crib shooting for what I know now as a test shoot. I spotted few people days later and see one the dudes outside the studio. I took the initiative with a friend to reach out. A few days later I had finished my first shoot ever and looking back I really enjoyed it. That stemmed into doing things with M.I.A., to Adidas haha (humble regards). I think when it comes to branding as well, it's kind of a cool thing to have under your belt but more so the experience it provides too. I wouldn't say i'm superficial to delve into the facade of style or looking the part. In terms of style for me minimal is cool and i'm just blessed to have clothes really." 

Tell us about your latest project you've recently dropped and how does it differ to your previous work?

So yes I have been working on a bunch of stuff. More so this release is quite reminiscent of where i'm at as a person, with my views and experiences just really encapsulating that sonically and musically. It's something more diverse. I'm never one to like the idea of boundaries so it has been a quite exciting period just having fun with an immanent goal at mind. But there's allot of surprises in general." 

Any possible collaborations we can expect?

"In terms of music, I would like to think so. I'm defo an admirer of other artists and other sounds but ultimately all will have to make sense. A good friend mentioned using your craft is like your lifeline. You have to be careful what you tie your name with, but that being said things you also have to be musically open minded. I Would have to be fan too. I have a few other avenues in terms of venturing some creative expertise but we'll see how things pan out." 

What is your main message you want to communicate to your audience?

"I feel like my music is quite reflective of me, my experiences, my views and my introspect and life in general. The purpose is of course my art, my vent first thing and last thing on my mind (minus my family / close people ), but its also to share and provide what I bring to the world and gradually the story would be painted on this canvas we call music. I feel like there's a lot things in our world today that people are afraid to touch on because they're sensitive things, but it's okay to challenge aesthetics or formula of how things should be done and so on. But its never really that simple as it's a complex world and time we live in. Music can be outspoken yet powerful as lines or verses to synth, melody to a note on a song snare etc can evoke emotion and feeling amongst many other things. I just want to be able to do what I love and build on it. This is me at age twenty but as I grow, learn and experience its ultimately almost a natural progression for one to detail more than one aspect of memoirs. And most importantly, the audience, the listeners and the fans can relate and if not respect it hopefully." 

Thursday, 11 September 2014


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Today's interview is with the very great and talented CIESAY. Most of you will know him as the guy who started Places + Faces, bringing you the best film shots of your favourite icons and the coolest hoodies around. CIESAY's work has even been featured on Vice, Mass Appeal, Life + Times and many more. I found out about how the man himself goes about approaching his work, where it all started, Paris and shooting in film. 

It was only last Summer you and your friend thought of the idea to start ‘Places + Faces’. What is the concept behind it and where do you get your inspiration from?

"It wasn't really a concept; I didn't really have an idea for it. Literally I was bored in New York in my uncles kitchen and I had all these different pictures of rappers like Vinny Chase, A$AP Ferg, all these guys, and it was like where can I put these picture without looking all cliché and just putting it on instagram like ‘hey look who I shot today’ or ‘hey look who I met today’. So I kept going into the BBC store (Billionaire Boys Club) and they had Pharrell’s book spaces and faces or something like that? So I think the name ‘Places +Faces’ just came out of me thinking of the book and just thinking of a blog or place I can put the pictures on, of going different places meeting different faces. And then I hit up my friend who was in London at the time, to cover stuff in London while I was in New York. It was a nice system, because I would send him a photo, he’d edit it, and because there’s a 6 hour time difference, when I’d go to bed he’d have them edited, so we were quick and efficient."

You seem to travel the world often, where has your most enriching trip been?

"It has to be when I was in New York where I started ‘Places+ Faces’. I always wanted to go back to New York again, but every year I’d put it off by saying ‘I’m going to go this year’, and when it came I would be like ‘let me just stay in London and I’ll just go next year’. And then randomly around January, an uncle hit me up on Facebook like ‘hey, I’m your dad’s cousin, whenever you come to New York you can stay with me’ and then I felt like that was a sign to go New York; 2 months later I went New York for 3 months, and now we here."

You also travel back and forth to Paris allot. Would you consider there your second home?

"Most definitely. I feel like Paris is a cool place. When you think of London, everyone’s kind of shooting in the same place and hanging out in the same areas, whereas in Paris they appreciate things more. We probably get an event here every week or every month, whereas they get it at certain times, so they’ll have a day where everyone comes out and appreciates it because they don’t know when they’re going to get it again. And also I just like the culture. They have buildings from the 18th century. Inside is modernised but outside still looks like it’s from back then so it’s really cool. Like I’ve been to a Dominoes where they still use those board things to put the pizza in and all that. Also Paris is brown whereas everywhere else like London has this greyish tone. Paris has this nice brownish colour that’s nice for shooting. Plus they got nice people out there."

So it’s not true what people say about Parisian’s being quite rude?

"Well I’ve met a couple rude people- not to name any names- but nah; I don’t really talk to other people because I have friends there, so I just hang out with my friends. And I know my way around now so I don’t really talk to random people. But there is allot of class situations. I feel like because of your ethnicity you can’t be as high as another person, e.g. like black and white. Black people won’t be as high as white people in Paris because of class. You can’t be a successful guy who is black in Paris with a clothing line, without a white person being in charge or something, but that’s just how i look at it in my opinion."

You met Kanye in Paris! What was that like?
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"Meeting Kanye in Paris, that was cool. It was like a strange thing because on new year’s day/new year’s eve I was like to myself ‘okay I’m going to shoot Kanye and Pharrell’, and literally 2 weeks later I met Kanye and I got to shoot him. So it was cool because I was going to this club and we saw a guy come in. And someone was like ‘oh shit that’s Kanye’ and I was like ‘oh shit wow’, then he came out and I was like ‘fuck I’m not gonna get to shoot him now, I missed my chance’. So we get in and everyone’s partying, and like an hour later we see everyone crowding around a table taking pictures. And then I peeped over and Kanye is just sitting there chilling. And then he kept going in some room and coming out, and I was thinking ‘what’s this guy doing?’ And everyone kept following him. So I just thought ‘man, that’s a bit too hype for me I ain’t trying to follow this guy’. And then he disappeared for a while again and people didn’t know where he went, but then he came back again through a secret exit so everyone still thought he was in the other room, so when he came back he was kind of by himself. The dance floor was empty with just me and him sitting back where he was, So I just looked at him and was like ‘yo Kanye’, and then he looked at me and got up to shake my hand and called me to come sit next to him. And then yeah we just had a little two minute conversation about life, I didn’t even tell him about what I do; we were just talking about his album and random things. And I was like ‘before I go, can I get a picture of you’ and he was like ‘yeah sure’ So I took a picture of him smiling and then I took another one, and his face switched so quick- like he was smiling and he was happy- then he had the meanest face you can think. But I think that’s the Kanye face for paparazzi pictures. But I’m not paparazzi though."

Do you know if he acknowledged the photo?

"He probably saw it; it was like everyone stole that picture on the internet, that picture was like everywhere. He’s probably seen it and I know people that work for him that have probably showed him the picture. I know he said one of my hoodies were dope to someone that was wearing it, so I know he’s probably seen my stuff."

What other interesting people have you taken pictures of and was it daunting at times approaching them?

"I did Alexander Wang in New York but I don’t think anyone really saw that one. I made it into a gif. It was one of my first really rare pictures. A$AP Rocky was cool, I know his DJ. I don’t think there’s anyone who’s been daunting. I think Kanye would have been the one where I was like ‘oh shit is my picture going to come out right’ because I took it in film, so I wasn’t sure if it was going to come out right. I think after Kanye it was just like, I’ve done the top guy, so with everyone else even though they’re all good, I wasn’t really nervous because some of them I’ve already met or I’m use to their character, whereas Kanye you never know how he might react to that situation."

How do you go about approaching your subjects, e.g. finding models?

"I just get all my models from social media really. I don’t really like going through agencies. I've never emailed an agency. But yeah just social media and emailing, basics."

How does using a film camera differ to DSLR camera’s?

"Film has a more natural feel. With SLR’s you can get flaws, like even though you get flaws with film, but with SLR’s you can take a picture, and what you think is the real colour doesn’t come out the same, and can make it lesser than what it is. With film, it’s natural and it fits in with what I do because I like to take things in the moment. I never want to go to a studio and be like lets shoot here for 2 hours, I’d rather see someone walking on the road and just get them in their element to fit their mood and environment. When it’s in a studio, it gets kind of boring and the artist is probably use to all of that stuff. And with film the person is less scared of it. I feel like with Kanye, if I took a big SLR, he’d probably feel like it’s a paparazzi stunt, but with film it’s less harmful and doesn’t really affect you. Okay cool it can be online, but people appreciate it more because it’s a film camera and they know you took time to develop the pictures. Everything’s an art with film."

Embedded image permalinkDo you have a favourite camera?

"That I can’t tell you, I can’t really tell you my secret. I have favourite camera(s)."

How many do you own?

"I own 1 DSLR but I own like 4 cameras and only use 1. The others are for display to throw people off. They don’t know the real one."

Did anyone inspire the ‘Places + Faces’ clothing collection?

"No not really. Originally I only made the hoodie just for me to wear. When I’m on stage I wanted people to see when they took pictures the hoodie would reflect, so they’d be like ‘what’s that? What is Places + Faces?’ But as soon as I dropped it social media went crazy over it so I was kind of forced in a way to put it up for sale, which is cool. I like the fact that people around the world like my stuff and are hash-tagging it, so it makes a kind of culture of its own. But there were no inspirations for it, I just thought one day, I want to make a hoodie that reflects. It was suppose to be glow in the dark but I couldn’t find a glow in the dark material, so 3M was like the next best thing."

What photographers inspire you?

"None. I inspire myself. I try my best not to look at other photographer’s work. Not because it’s a competition or anything like that, it’s just that I don’t want to feel like ‘I need to take a picture like this’ to fit in with what’s in trend right now. When I started taken pictures I never knew anything about pictures. I use to hate photography because I thought I could never do it. And one day I just picked up a camera and started shooting and this is what happened. I met a guy in New York called Chi Modu who took all the iconic pictures of 2Pac and Biggie that you see on Google all the time, but he’s like a dope guy. I just met him randomly in a bar and didn’t even know who he was until he told me his work and his name. He’s a cool guy. I’ll check his website just to see his stuff but I wouldn't say there’s anyone who I’d say ‘oh shoot, this is the guy I want to be’ because you can’t really shoot like anyone else, you need to shoot for yourself, because you’re shooting for what you believe in and what you think would work. If you’re taking inspo off another guys technique, is it really you that’s shooting or are you just imitating a person you want to shoot like?"

Follow the Places + Faces Movement: 

CIESAY twitter
Places + Faces twitter
Places + Faces website
Places + Faces tumblr
Places + Faces Soundcloud

Friday, 29 August 2014

Fady Elsayed

Recently I spent the afternoon shooting with a friend of mine that I greatly admire, Fady Elsayed. Most of you will recognise him for his exceptional acting in the awarding winning British Drama 'My brother the Devil'. Growing up I have seen him become a gifted individual with a talent that the film industry has been waiting for. With Fady I had some time to talk to him about his current life situations and growing career. Here is a short interview of how things are going for him.

How has life changed since my brother the devil?

"Dramatically. It has opened so many doors for me. The acclaim myself and the film got really helped me put my name on the map. It's a great feeling to be acknowledged for your work." 

What other projects have you been working on since?

"Since My brother the Devil I have been cast in several movies and TV shows like Silent Witness BBC, Penny Dreadful alongside Eva Green. Tyrant for 20th Century Fox."

Are you working on anything at the moment?

"I am. I wish I could tell you but I have some very exciting upcoming projects."

You get allot of love on social networking sites. How do you deal with the attention?

"The only annoying part about the attention is that my battery dies very quick. Apart from that I love the support I receive and appreciate the consistency my supporters show." 

What has been your most challenging role yet?

"I would say Penny Dreadful as I had to play a Vampire who spoke Arabic." 

What things do you do to relax?

"Star gazing, praying, reading, watching films."

You are considered part of the Space Age movement, who are they to you?

"They are my best friends. From young I was always told to surround myself with positive people and I couldn't have asked for better friends. They are constantly positive and always inspiring me daily. Everyone has ambition and is hungry to achieve their goal. We have a lot in common." 

Are you in love?


Top 3 Favourite movies?

"Dallas Buyers Club, My Brother the Devil, Basketball Diaries."

Who inspires you outside of acting?

"Little Simz. Every artist should work on perfecting there craft. I have grew up with Little Simz and watched her master her craft into an artist which i strongly believe is the best out. I hope to be the best in my field someday. In fact I will be." 

Follow Fady on Instagram and Twitter!

Tuesday, 12 August 2014

808INK . Full English (piece 02.)

If you've read my interview with the talented art duo 'Black.Anubi$', you would know the story behind Mumblez and his EP 'an Artistic piece'. 808 Charmer and Mumblez Black Ink are what form the hip-hop collective '808INK'.

The guys are proud to announce the release of a video for their second track on the EP 'Full English'. The video is said to be the first of a three-part video series that the guys are working on. The video carries strong aspects of their theme 'Dreality', a concept they push through into their artwork.

The song was even featured on Noisey where the track was described as:

''Sitting somewhere between Balam Acab and Clams Casino, the first taster from 808INK is brilliant.''

I could go on and on about the reasons you need to watch this video NOW but i'll just leave it to you to make the right decision to click play on the video link below.

If you still haven't read the Black.Anubi$ Interview check it out here NOW:
The Black.Anubi$ Interview

Download the EP on Bandcamp

Follow the guys on twitter: 

808INK: an Artistic piece. cover art

Friday, 27 June 2014

Brainfeeder's Azizi Gibson

Today is a very exciting day for Sirius Mode as I release one of my biggest interviews yet. Today's feature is on one of my favourite artists under the label Brainfeeder, Azizi Gibson. The 23 year old rapper who currently resides in L.A is set to be dropping some crazy new music that will have his fans going insane. Azizi has already collaborated with some exceptional artists including Jeremiah Jae and Flying Lotus. Check out what happened when I got up close and personal with Azizi, to discuss how he got to where he is now and his plans for the future. Also check out Azizi's latest EP 'Backwards Books' which dropped today!

What kind of lifestyle did you have growing up in Thailand?

“Well I spent alot of time in school because my mother was a teacher, like of course we went to landmarks and locations- I mean everything is like a landmark overseas- but yeah I spent a lot of time in school doing sports and just listening to music here and there, but I don’t think it was anything too specific. I was in this embassy environment around people who spoke my language, but when we would shop it was like a totally different world. But as you know third world countries be learning English and shit. These Americans are stupid to like other countries, so it was like a normal life, just with Asians really.”

Do you think experiencing such a different culture had any influence on your music?

“Yeah I definitely do. I heard different styles of music, like I didn't hear too much hip-hop living in Thailand. The only hip-hop I heard was through my brother or my sisters or whatever they were listening to. I didn't know where they got their outlet from of music because when I turned on MTV it was like a lot of pop songs that I couldn't even understand the language to. And then I heard like Eminem and Dr Dre and Jay Z, very large artists that could make it to an international level on MTV, so that was like my hip-hop. I just think the sounds from all the music that I use to just hear, has lead me not to limit myself with just hip-hop, because I feel like a lot of the new shit I’m doing is more like...I don’t want to call it ‘RnB’ but it’s more of a melodic state than it is a rap system.”

So you mentioned Eminem and other popular rappers. What other musicians did you listen to growing up?

“I guess Eminem was like the biggest part that leaped me into really to wanting to become a rapper, but as far as like what I would listen to and shit, my parents were pretty strict about the type of music I would listen to so I had a Gorillaz CD that really wasn't rap, I fucking had like a Shaq cassette tape, like who gives a fuck about that? My parents would buy me like Aaron Carter cassette tapes and shit. What I remember listening to the most that I bought behind my parents back was the Linkin Park album so that was like the only albums I ever had.”

What made you and your friend Taylor decide to start PreHISTORIC Crew, and what’s the story behind it?

“It’s crazy because I haven’t talked to Taylor in years, like we don’t make music together. I still love that guy though. It was a little coffee-house dig where you showcase your talents in school and shit and I actually played guitar. Like I was rapping and shit all the time but I had never been to a coffee club before and I was doing it with some girl, so I just played the guitar for her- It was some simple shit. And then like a scrawny white kid came up three acts after us and made some super powerful beat on stage with a lot of bass, like no one was expecting it, it was like ‘damnnnnn’ and then I wrote him on MySpace- these were MySpace days- because he commented on my shit, and then I see we go to the same high school so I was like ‘yo, lets link up, make some music’ and then we got together and just made music, made a really cool song that night, and then the next morning I came up with the name ‘PreHISTORIC’ then we started making music under PreHISTORIC.”

So would you say you’re more of a solo artist now? Who is within PreHISTORIC crew?

“I mean it’s not just like some musician shit, so it’s like whatever you doing to the fullest you know what I’m saying? I don’t have to be the only musician or I can be the only musician. It’s a very loose thing so just it’s just a lifestyle I guess. PHC is trying to make history as you go, nothing more than that. It’s not a gang sign; it’s just a logo and just a way of thinking. We just all trying to go down in history, and get our names in the book instead of just fucking working for the man and doing this, that and the third. Let people be able to look our names up in the future.”

In terms of the ‘Ignorant Prayers’ mixtape, how did you and Jeremiah Jae come up with the concept, and how do you think your sounds compliment each other?

“I don’t even know, the truth is, he gave me a beat CD with like 20 beats on it and he was just like ‘rap to whatever’ and then I rapped to 3 of them and then I just ended up rapping to more just because I was like fuck it I’m gonna just do this, and then our mixtape just came out. So it was like no chemistry at all. It was like here are these beats, do whatever you want. And then I just ended up with ‘yo I got this mixtape, let’s call this shit 'Ignorant Prayers' and drop it on ‘Brainfeeder’ and then he was like ‘alright fuck yeah let’s do it’ and then it worked because it was right before his album so it was great. We plan to do another one, but we plan to do it together because like I said 'Ignorant Prayers' was just like here’s the beats and literally like a month and a half- it was very quick-I ended up rapping to a whole bunch of this shit and we just liked it. And he also did the artwork for it so yeah. And in terms of the concept, when I rap I build a concept, but there was just like no chemistry. So for 'Ignorant Prayers' I was just like I’m gonna be ignorant, people always expect the fucking spirits in this world to take care of everything when they don’t even try themselves. They just continue to pray, and expect a sandwich to be made; like you already got the ingredients why you praying for someone to make a sandwich? People just be looking at shit backwards.”

In one of your interview’s you said that ignorant prayers was throwing off the perception of who you are. How does your new mixtape ‘Ghost In The Shell’ show who the real Azizi is?

“Just because you can’t be ignorant and arrogant and show all your feelings and be an asshole to everybody. In 'Ignorant Prayers' I’m very nonchalant, not giving a fuck, humorous, and being a comedian. But 'Ghost In The Shell' is like alright there are some serious things in life that you need to take care of, and it’s just me. When I’m at a party, I’m vibing with my homies, even though I love 'Ignorant Prayers' I’m not gonna play that shit at a party. 'Ghost In The Shell' is just Azizi, what Azizi likes, and what he wants to do and what he wants to promote and whatever of that nature. Like 'Ignorant Prayers' was Jae and I compromising to make a whole new sound and style of sound or whatever. Whereas 'Ghost In The Shell' was pure me, what I’m thinking and only what I’m thinking. I chose the beats and I had a large selection, so it made me feel like this is what I need to tell my story.”

Who would you say inspires you lyrically due to the fact there is such a difference between ‘Ignorant Prayers’ and ‘Ghost In The Shell’?

“I don’t even know. I guess that’s the million dollar question. Life? I don’t sit down in front of a television and be like ‘this is how I rap’. I rap because I’m use to it now, it’s something where I can put my life onto paper. Every day is inspirational when it comes to writing, you never know. It could be a shitty day, and you could write a fucking hit on paper. It could be a great day and it might be an average song on paper for someone. I live my lyrics.”

You met Flying Lotus in the gym! How did that lead to you being signed to Brainfeeder and how has being part of such a successful label helped you progress within your career?

“Yeah I met Fly at the gym and I told him I did music and shit, but I didn’t do anything crazy, I just happen to meeting Flying Lotus at that time. And then I ended up losing my job at Urban Outfitters and I had some mixtapes on me, and then I saw him at the gym again and then I gave him my mixtape. After he hit me up like that night on twitter, and then I checked it and he was like ‘yo, let’s go get lunch’. We got lunch the next day after he heard my music, and then we started building this relationship together, and he eventually signed me. I mean as far as being on Brainfeeder, there’s a lot of progression for the future for many different directions. It’s a good base to be apart of from any angle, on a business side they don’t steal from you at all which is a good thing. We all have to go in a certain direction because I do see the potential in Brainfeeder, I love Brainfeeder, I just want the best for it. I want it to be looked at like Interscope one day. So a lot of people know Flying Lotus, some people know Brainfeeder. I want it to all be like on one thing like oh ‘Fly Lo, Brainfeeder, Azizi, Underachievers blah blah’. I mean it’s not there yet but it’s amazing already. Brainfeeder has its fans and that’s a good thing. Brainfeeder has honest fans.”

Do you plan on collaborating with anyone else in Brainfeeder?

“Whenever the time really, with anyone in Brainfeeder I’m always down. Everyone’s busy and doing what they’re doing so it’s difficult. Like, it’s a bunch of big family so maybe one day, maybe we should put out a collaboration mixtape or album, it would probably be amazing. Actually...nah I’m not gonna spoil it but, they should.”

What is your favourite piece of work that you’ve done so far and are you working on anything at the moment to release?

“I guess one of my latest tracks ‘Crown Violet’. I don’t know why but I think it’s just the beginning for me to really start taking everything seriously and doing things for myself and not really worrying about others anymore. I’m doing an album, but I’m definitely going to have something secretly drop before then very soon, probably something with more than 5 songs.”

Who would you say inspires you outside of hip hop?

“The biggest influence outside of hip hop was the Gorillaz. Outside of hip hop I’m listening to King Krule and Cudi a lot recently; I just take it all in really. I’m very bad with names also, like even with actors, actresses and locations. I don’t give too many fucks so I just don’t remember them as well. So there’s so much I haven’t said but I’m just very terrible at that stuff.”

Do you listen to anyone in the UK rap scene and would there be a possibility of collaborating?

“I really don’t. I use to because Taylor was the fucking man, Taylor got all my music. He’s the one who introduced me to Flying Lotus’s music. Taylor was like my music sense. When I moved to L.A my sense of music of what’s out there was horrible. In terms of collaborations and stuff music is music, I don’t give a fuck where you’re from. If it sounds good and I think we can make a good track that makes sense- it’s all about making sense- and we like each other, it’s organic and we’re not forcing it; because I don’t like someone trying to pay me money, like of course I’ll take the money but when people want to collab with me, I turn a lot of email collabs down because I’d rather us organically come together and make some shit and vice versa. Me not know who you are at all and then you drop a song, and then me not want to promote because I don’t like the song or you creates a problem. So I’m down to collaborate with anyone as long as it’s organic.”

Have you ever been to London?

“Yeah, I was in London for like 1 hour catching a train, and they searched my bags and everything. I was like the only black person to hop off the train and searched by like dogs and shit. But it wasn’t me so I didn’t even care. But yeah I would still come here to perform. Hell yeah. Whenever they book me to come, I don’t discriminate anywhere I perform. The dungeons of hell if they paying me.”

Lastly, what’s your favourite anime show and video game?

“Got to be ‘Hunter X Hunter’. My favourite video games series ever is ‘The Legend of Zelda’. It’s not a game you would continuously play over and over, that would be stressful.”

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