Design by Roberto Castillo-Olivares
Design by Roberto Castillo-Olivares
….has been scribbling down ‘really weird short stories’ since he was eleven, and ever since has been exploring his written potential. This lead to him to writing lyrics and incorporating these with beats and playing shows. Eventually he was signed to In The Balance Records – Verb T’s own record label. Early last year he put out his debut EP under the label, Arthur Lager.
His themes of being young, broke and a troublemaker over old school gritty and urban beats entice even outsiders of the underground UK world of hip-hop to buy tickets for his next show and see it all for themselves. Whether or not this guy is really as destructive, troubled and masterfully inventive as he sounds on his songs – to which you find out that he is – he is still just as madly entertaining.
Rye Shabby has remained active in his creative field, producing and collaborating, late last year having released his song ‘Shab City’. With his new EP DiESHABBY just around the corner, scheduled to be released this year, Rye has been working a mean amount and produced ‘a lot of cool songs’. In the interview it’s clear he’s not afraid to make his problems public, boldly choosing to come out with the issues he’s recently been tackling, regarding substance abuse and difficult life choices.
Rye Shabby, what have you been up to recently? Any shows? Is there any planned material out soon?
“Bonjour. As of recent, I have started my own business in buying and reselling refrigerators but it is going really badly so I have not given up on the rap stuff. Recently done a few shows in the midlands area one being at Nottingham’s Rough Trade venue which was fucking boss. New material is now about to land, the second E.P of the journey ‘DiESHABBY’. To cut a long story short, I basically had a bit of a difficult time in my life with drugs, alcohol and just making really bad decisions in general. The project is about me giving up on being that idiot of a person and killing him off, hence the title. It’s got a lot of cool songs.”
Could you give an insight as to what lead you to start writing as an artist?
“I started writing when I was like, 11. Not necessarily rap lyrics, or any lyrics in general, it was just really weird short stories and a lot of stuff I was just embarrassed about people seeing ahaha. I started writing actual stuff I could shout at people when I was like 13-14, it was pretty whack but I had the bollocks to rap with the older lot so people digged it.”
Who are your inspirations? Is there anyone who started it all for you?
“Of course I have inspirations from the usual legendary hip-hop names, to name a few; Andre 3000, Doom, Nass & more. But the thing that actually made me want to start rapping and trying to impress people was because my older cousin who I really looked up to through my childhood used to spit and was in a group down these ways called ‘Alliance’, so I wanted to do that”
I’ve read and heard stories about how you’re pretty mental when you’re up on stage. Are there any funny or great memories from your best gig?
“I don’t know what you mean about me being mental on stage!? How rude! Na, it does get a bit mad….energy levels have to be raised and faces have to be shocked otherwise it’s boring ennit. I tend to get in the crowd and be involved a bit and try and enjoy my own shows as well entertain the audience. A funny moment was at my first High Focus event I ever was blessed to be a part of at Concorde 2 in Brighton, I was so fucking nervous, and ended up drinking pretty much the entire rider and I fell off a huge speaker during my set. Luckily I managed to carry on rapping whilst on the floor, thought I broke my arm. It was described as an ‘oil painting’. S’all fun and games.”
I think some people I know could relate to Arthur Lager a little, from a younger person’s perspective, especially those that feel a bit disenfranchised. It almost feels like a cinematic experience. What’s it all about?
“The first E.P was all about being broke, still wanting to let your hair down whilst struggling. A LOT of partying was going on around those times because I had just been signed to In The Balance Records and I was very proud of myself (maybe a bit too proud), so it was about the journey through all that. Which then links up with the concept of the second E.P very well.
Cinematic experience yeah? Rah, I can run with that nice one.”
Does the album name refer to the puppet that got onto the BGT final?
“Nah it doesn’t. I didn’t know that was legit, but it probably did have some subliminal link with inspiration. Fuck knows.”
You work a lot with your pals over at Indigo Frequency such as Sloth. Is there anyone else you want to give a shout out to?
“Yeah, Sloth is a good friend of mine and so is Whispy & DJ Ghosty who I also work alongside. The little toe rags. Big shout out to Forrest Moon, a producer from Ipswich you will be hearing a lot about. Shout out to the don photographer Gant…it’s his birthday today too so mega shout out blup blup blup gun fingers and all that stuff. Shout out to everyone involved at In The Balance Records ‘cos it’s takeover time. Massive shouts to Uncle Verb T, because without him all this magical shit wouldn’t be happening. Shout out mumzy too.”
What’s your favourite TV show?
“The TV shows I watch are fucking shit ‘cos I don’t really watch TV that much so it’s all just to laugh at the idiotic people on this planet. I like that shit ‘Four In A Bed’, people are petty.”
What would you do with a million pounds if you were given it?
“Most sensible thing to do would be give £20K to a responsible source for funeral costs just incase I enjoyed myself a little too much. Lol na, I dunno really. Buy a few exotic animals, just have a panda rolling around my yard or something. Dress him up in old Fila. I would name him Eric.”
If you could have dinner with anyone alive or dead, who would you pick and why?
“The 80’s Kate Bush, she was fire.”
Mr. Shabby, thank you for your time. Is there anything else you want to say?
“Thank ya you’s lot, it was a pleasure. Big up you guys. All I would like to say is keep supporting, DiESHABBY out in April – cop cop cop so I can afford to eat and keep abusing my body slightly. Nah I’m kidding. Well I’m not, but yeah look out for the new shit. Fuck Donald Trump. Keep it fucking gang. Easy.”
One genre that is silently taking over the indie rock scene is a distinct woozy and laidback, lo-fi, psychedelic, and jazzy rock. Something so reassuringly, infectiously listenable. An entire genre centred around the desire for imperfections in the recording to achieve a detailed and unique personality in sound. Micro details in the mix, often intentional and sometimes accidental; a subtle record crackle, a tone that’s slightly off-pitch, a tinny sounding drum groove that loses rhythm every now and then, use of old sampling machines over subtle record crackles and static hiss. Nothing too noticeable – but it all adds up to the lo-fi feel, cleverly inducing a relaxed and nostalgic notion. I speak of artists like Mild High Club, Mac DeMarco, infinite bisous… they all cherish a DIY approach – you listen and are immediately teleported to the bedroom or garage they recorded it in.
Japanese band Boys Age proudly headlines this genre. Not only is Kaz supportive of this easy going attitude, but has also attracted many fans from overseas. When playing live, Kaz is the frontman of a medley of friendly and eccentric songs, with Takamasa Kobayashi providing energetic rhythms on drums.
Romance Planet is a 44 minute-long string of stoner vibes and tropical, loosey tunes. In terms of the mood, this new album is the most chilled out of Boys Age’s so far. Kaznary makes his signature move and adds his deep, quiet and idle sounding voice just under the surface of the instrumentals. On the record, each album notably accommodates a different feel with a different dynamic. To achieve a distinct sound for each release is almost exponentially more and more difficult in a such a narrow genre such as this. Top picks on the album are Interstellar Flight, a song driven by it’s rocket-like rhythm and Water World, featuring retro, spaced out synths, a multitude of guitars drenched in chorus pedals and drum grooves a phone call away.
The beauty of the modern age is how close the world of art and music is stitched together, thanks to platforms like Soundcloud, Twitter, and YouTube. Getting into contact with Kaznary was easier than I thought it would be. Kaz more than celebrates the close, woven world of the web – he is an internet geek, loves music, video games, art, poetry, novella. By sharing his music on social media, alongside internet algorithms and his good marketing strategies appealing to mostly young, some may even say “edgy” underground music fans, Boys Age has attracted a significant following.
I interviewed Kaz via email – although many readers will find a clear language barrier in the interview, in some ways this may be confused with the complex and hard-hitting ideas Kaznary puts across.
Boys Age is: Kaznary Mutow and Takamasa Kobayashi.
Who are some artists or bands that you’d like to give credit to as inspirations?
“Yo La Tengo, Van Dyke Parks, and Television. Absolutely Impossible to remove their music from my life. Ah, recently I often listen to songs of some young musicians, especially bands signed to one of my favourite labels, Human Sounds Records, based in Canada.”
Are there any underrated Japanese bands or artists you want to recommend for people to listen to?
“Haha, yeah it’s a serious problem. Of course there are some good musicians in Japan. For example I love 図書館(toshokan: library), who are a very nice band, but most bands are not a big deal. There are just so many deteriorated copies of bands of Western countries. Often everyone misunderstands, Japan is a musically third world country. Just about twenty years ago there was money. Japan has never been on a national level to lead the world with music. Many people think that coming to Japan is the entrance to success. There is no such thing. I don’t even have enough money to go to the hospital.
Neither money nor future, here is nothing.”
What is your goal for Boys Age? To eventually tour the world or to continue pumping out singles for fun?
“I would like to go to various countries. And I want to play there. We’ll need lots of money and connection. If I were to set a goal, I would just sing and live.
This is a manga line, but ‘I want to live like a plant calmly’.
I’ll continue to travel on in this universe till the end while believing there’s something that I can believe somewhere. The endless journey is the real goal.”
What is the favourite memory from any of your gigs?
“A few years ago there was an event with the Embassy of Spain and we played on front of many Spaniards, that was very nice night. They were very passionate and enjoyed the music in six senses.“
I have found that listening to your music, most notably your album The Odyssey reminded me very much of Mac DeMarco’s album Rock n Roll Night Club. In a good way!
“You’re talking about the song ‘Postcards Holiday’, right? Aha, I was rather confused because nobody mentioned much ever. In the first place, that album was my first compilation album of releases. Everyone is misunderstanding. Of course I’m REALLY glad that so many people liked the album and songs. But PLEASE also listen to the original albums. Those are really nice. Indeed I like Mac DeMarco’s music. But I REALLY REALLY want to say, it is a coincidence. But, well, It might be fateful…maybe!”
I have heard you are into gaming. Do you have any other hobbies as well?
“Ahaha, ya, indeed I like video games, but I’m not a game geek. I enjoy art, movies, comics, novels, poetry, drawing… ART is something that man has always had since birth. It is one of a few of virtues of the human as an organism. Art is proof of what humanity has noticed about the world.”
Do you have any other projects planned, music or non music related?
“I have another musical project called Black Opal that I started for healing music, and also drawing and comics. Recently I started to write novella. I hope I can do various things. Make a soundtrack for a movie or a video game, draw the artwork, collaborate with fashion, I want to know how far my universe is spreading.”
Kaznary Mutow, thank you. Is there anything else you would like to say?
“Music is about finding signs for everything in the world.”
Late last year saw KYANOS’ debut EP release Elevator To Japan – a body of work so short yet so satisfying – showcasing the potential of the new band. Consisting of four songs, the EP feels like it is built mostly around the second track ‘Thunder In Japan’ which highlights everything about smooth, lo-fi psychedelic and jazz, musically referring to bands like The Doors and Homeshake for direct inspiration. KYANOS harbour inspiration from these bands but take the chilled vibe to a new level, almost making you forget where you are. Making you lose all conceptions of the genres they aim for. Elevator To Japan is cleverly recorded with crisp and reverby electric guitars, bathed in washy, ghostly synths and jittered with elevator and soft rainy thunder sounds, and female Japanese vocal samples (say hello to the EP’s name). Not only did the band receive the success it deserved with the EP, but it caught the attention of NME.
Most interestingly, the entire EP was recorded on their iPhones.
For artistic reasons? To challenge themselves? A lack of equipment? The real reason being they initially recorded the first ‘Thunder In Japan’ demo on their phones so that they wouldn’t forget. Listening back to the track, however, they ended up enjoying how it sounded. “We liked the natural, lo-fi sound the recording made, whilst still sounding pretty cool and crisp. It was a couple of days after that we met up and recorded the rest of the EP live; and other than the synth solo in Lift we played everything together as if we were just jamming”.
KYANOS is: Sam Golding on Lead Vocals, Guitar and Synth, Seth Bauly on Lead Guitar, Fintan Wightman on Bass and Zach Franklin on Drums.
We all went to school together at one time or another, and we’d been in a band called The Folly, playing kinda crappy Arctic Monkeys covers and other indie rock songs, then I think we’d all started to get really into Tame Impala, Mac DeMarco and all that, and it all fell into place really. We started writing and recording our own material and eventually put out our first demo ‘BAJA‘ on Soundcloud in October 2016 I think it was. Shortly after that our boy Zach came in on the drums and it was then that we evolved into our final formation!
‘Kyanos’ is the Greek word for ‘deep blue’ and is a derivation from the name of the stone Kyanite. We picked up a dictionary on New Year’s day a couple years ago and the first word we saw was kyanite, which we thought well reflected the more jazzy and psychedelic songs we had started to write.
I think as we were writing Elevator to Japan, specifically the main track ‘Thunder in Japan’, we’d started to really understand and develop our own sound, but we take influence from so many different things that our ideas are always evolving and changing. We haven’t been recording on our phones this time either, which has most probably had an effect on the approach we’ve taken when writing and recording the new tunes.
Quite often a chord progression, riff or bass line might arise during a jam and we’ll all just kinda come up with ideas collectively. We had tended to focus on the music first before the lyrics which came after to fit the melody, however for some of the most recent tunes the lyrics have been written to coincide with the music a bit more, which has probably ended up giving the songs a slightly different feel to what we’ve written previously.
We are all involved. It’s not so much one of us writing something and everyone else being told what to do, but an idea coming out of somewhere before we all contribute and get the rest of the song finished. Our latest single ‘So High’ is a perfect example, the song was a product of all of our collective ideas. Taking a group approach to writing helps the clarity of the song and the ideas we want to achieve, as well as giving it that proper KYANOS sound.
We’re currently coming towards the end of writing the final couple of songs for our debut album, Lost in Blue, and have been working on recording the tracks pretty consistently since about October last year. We’re also hoping to play as many gigs as possible to follow the release, as well as take part in the BurySound 2018 Final at The Apex in Bury St Edmunds on March 9th.
We’re playing at the BurySound final at the Apex in Bury St Edmunds on Friday 9th March (tickets), and at The Hunter Club with our psychedelic buddies Sun Scream and F.O.X. as part of the Bury Fringe Festival on April 7th (tickets). As we’re working on the debut album at the moment we’ve been spending a lot of our time writing and recording, but as the album slowly gets into the final stages of production we will be announcing more live shows hopefully all over the place! We’ve played some great gigs at The Hunter Club in our hometown Bury St Edmunds where we’ve had a lot of great support!
Nothing is confirmed as of yet because we want to keep our focus on making the album as good as we can, however we were talking about maybe a couple singles or something being done when the album is all finished and put out for everyone to hear. But that all depends on how the album goes and the direction we feel our sound is heading. We’ve definitely got things we want to do, and have a great producer who is interested in working with us, which could lead to some really interesting music being made.
KYANOS’ new song So High, is a bold, dreamy conglomerate of their influences, painted in a new direction, and is now out on all platforms.
I just been eating away when I found her. All drowned in grey, I might have drowned her. I caught her plate number, and yeah, I might have seen it all.
If I picked out a random song in the entirety of Mount Kimbie‘s discography and asked you what the genre was, the potential answers would most likely be varied, because of how diversely they cover their genre’s spectrum. For example, if I played you Made To Stray, or Sullen Ground you’d probably say they’re along the lines of, left-field, house. If I played you Maybes or Blood and Form, you’d get mixed reactions, from Ambient Downtempo to Lo-fi hip-hop beats. If you listened to Home Recording, at the risk of sounding slightly pretentious, you could call it post-left-field-electronic-jazz-dance. However, it is a difficult task for artists to switch between sub-genres, yet keep up with their own unique style, so well. And that is exactly what Mount Kimbie do, not only in their past releases, but in their new album, Love What Survives.
Contrary to their previous albums, Mount Kimbie deliver a detailed, massive, live-sounding, collection of arrangements, despite being only an electronic two piece. However, the entire album is still defined by its heavily syncopated rhythms and slight jazz influences, and world music influences.
With the album featuring King Krule, James Blake, Andrea Balency and Micachu, Mount Kimbie never fail to show how well they have collaborated and synchronised with other artists, witth either parties stepping out of their comfort zones but also implementing their own style, creating something completely new and ethereal. This is mostly notable in the songs We Go Home Together featuring, James Blake, and my personal favourite, You Look Certain (I’m Not So Sure), featuring Andrea Balency. That song is an absolute cluster explosion of energy.
When Blue Train Lines was released as the second single, both Mount Kimbie‘s and King Krule‘s fanbases were excited due to this collaboration meaning new music to be released soon. This song is the musical equivalent of speeding down the motorway. Featuring straight to the point keyboards, overwhelming and fast tracked rhythms, and Archy Marshall’s iconic gritty, London accent voice (King Krule and Mount Kimbie have collaborated many times before).
Marilyn is another great pick from Love What Survives. It starts off with various african like percussion timbres, soon after disappearing into silence, then bursting into an arrangement of very fixed rhythms, working so synergistically with an accompanying smooth bass guitar. The vocal delivery from Micachu is phenomenal, displaying a performance just underneath the mix of all the other layers of the song, not stealing away any of their prominence, much like the rest of the album.
The album contains many extremely hidden gems. With previous albums being very focused in the left field area of electronic, many of these songs include a new varied approach to electronic, making of the songs sounding like a live band at points. Some of them also sound a lot cleaner, more accessible, and they have collected their post-dubstep-hip-hop influences and flipped it straight around, moving towards the other side of the musical spectrum, whilst keeping their unique, established sound. For first listeners, I recommend these: Delta, Marilyn and Blue Train Lines.