First in our new interview series we catch up with the one and only Remi Rough – a world-renowned street and contemporary artist based in South London. As skilled in music as in visual arts, his recent musical escapades include a solo album and forming one half of the duo the Dead Can Rap alongside the legendary hip hop producer and MC, Mike Ladd.
We spoke to Remi about his journey through music, what he’s listening to now and what he’s been working on.
I started in the mid 80's in the throes of Thatcherite Britain, which was completely broken and like many young people at that time hip hop was culturally a way to disassociate from that and find a voice. Both visually and musically I was attracted to it and it became my guiding light if you will...
Artistically probably being asked to give a lecture in the Starr Auditorium at Tate modern in 2009. Musically, without a doubt, being asked to perform at the Sonar Festival in Barcelona which made me take making music seriously from that point onwards.
Music is a constant in my life and I listen to all shapes and sizes of it on a daily basis. I am open to discover new things always too. Music has shaped my path in terms of output and evolution. I always compare my artistic evolution to the Beatles and how they made 3 minute love songs for so many years until they realised they had to abstract and starting writing albums like Revolver and the White Album. (Not that I'm in any way comparing myself to a Beatle of course!)
Same way I always did, recommendations, my 16-year-old daughter has great taste in music, also a lot of my friends, who like me, still make music... Plus sometimes you just have to take a risk and give things a try... I discovered Bodies UK by chance and could easily have overlooked them but I gave it a chance and now they're one of my favourite bands and I'm lucky enough to be working with them.
I think R.A.P. Ferreira is going to blow up soon... He's a total genius.
More artists releasing their own music and doing well from it, streaming services paying better percentages and the live music scene getting more support from everyone. Music is a fragile industry at best.
Be true to yourself and the output you’re making and don't listen to naysayers... Anything is possible in this digital age and take control of your creativity and the workings behind it.
So I have just released a solo album called 'Sonic excursions' which is out on all platforms right now... I also have a guest appearance on the new Bodies UK Album which I'm really excited about and the first the Dead Can Rap single is out October 6th featuring the amazing Open Mike Eagle and the album is out December on Def Pressé Records... Visually I have a show in Trento, Italy, next month which I have been working on throughout the lockdown.
The new single from the Dead Can Rap will be out on October 6th, 2020, stay tuned on their page on Soundcloud and be sure to check out Remi Rough’s monumentally colourful, abstract artwork on Instagram if you haven’t already.
All photos by: Michelle Morgan