Interview with Afro E
Location: Bristol, UK
Artist: Singer, Songwriter, Rapper and Producer.
Written by Bonnie Bulle
As you may know here at Convention Magazine we love to showcase underground and raw talent. The UK Editions have seen the likes of various artists who are based in London and in this issue we have branched out to the South Western outskirts of the United Kingdom and bringing in fresh talent from Bristol. Afro-E is a great friend of mine whose music is an incredible artistic duplicate of his mutli-faceted character. He is mostly known for his unmatchable passion for British Grime Music and his offering of innovative yet humorous beats and rhymes act as a luminous contribution to the genre.
Whilst I was down in Bristol (My British hometown) I managed to squeeze myself into Afro-E fully packed schedule and spent some time with him talking about music, listening to his music (new and old) and learning more about his gigantic heart and ventures inside and outside of music.
How are you feeling this year?
This year I’m feeling happy, excuse my 5-year-old language but look the definition up and that’s me!
Could you please explain to our readers who you are and the history behind you and your music?
Ok, I am Afro-E, a singer, songwriter, mc and producer from Bristol, I wish I could narrow it down to just one of them but I genuinely do all of the mentioned all the time! I love listening to and making grime, garage, dubstep, most 140ish BPM music. My friend in my college Art and Design class gave me a FLOPPY DISK when I was 16 with Fruity Loops 3 demo on it, that’s when I started producing so I could write lyrics to my own beats and I recorded vocals round my mates house in his bedroom with an 8 track and a laptop. Gave some drunk friends a lift home from a club and had some of my tunes on the CD player and was asked to join a band called The Giants, this is where I learned to write songs since I had a female singer at my disposal as well! Since the band had split up, and (we all) live countries apart now, I concentrate on my own music and the occasional collaboration or remix a tune for someone.
Could you talk a little more about your music and projects that you are primarily focused on at the moment?
At the moment I’m recording my first solo EP as Afro-E “Too Nice”, which will be sold on iTunes as I’ve done loads of free stuff and sold an EP with The Giants so its my turn now!
So what is the motivation behind your whole movement?
Grime and a lot of music I like gets a bad reputation due to lyrics and content involving some negative things, but not everyone is negative in the scene and there is lots of really great music that is made but hardly anyone knows about this genre, I’m trying to spread some positive music coming from a friendly light hearted perspective, with conscious, thought about lyrics and song subjects.
Name a few people you would like to work with if given the possibility?
Skepta and Sikh Knight, their instrumentals are my favorites. Dizzee, Ghetto, Kozzie, Elro and JME have great styles and flows so would work with any of them. Would also like to support my ginger brother Ed Sheeran and do a back-to-back ginger singing and rapping tune, that would be epic as well as visually epic!
How is the Internet changing your craft?
It has got me known by people from all over! Also the Internet can give you so much information on different aspects of anything in life.
Are you down with the whole twitter or Tumblr hoopla? How is this an important outlet for you and others?
Yeah, twitter, @afro_e is me, it’s a brilliant way to quickly sort something out with people you’re working with, getting permission to vocal someone’s instrumental, finding free music to vocal or download, promoting my music and mainly for me to keep in contact with friends and people I follow and who follow me who I may or may not have met in physical life!
Who are some people that you have been interacting with this year that played a major role in your work?
I’ve got to mention A.R.T who is such a musical inspiration and we’ve worked for years on different bits of music, also Alex Mendelev who is the singer and guitarist on Silly Games, Naomi C who I met on a night out in London and discovered she can sing and I mean REALLY sing! I could listen to her sing all day and genuinely feel disappointed that she isn’t sat on my shoulder all day ready to sing or laugh because she is a legend and a nice person. Other nice people are Twizzy and Jinxta who I’ve featured on a tune on the EP and they are brilliant rappers and funny guys who are very thoughtful and have a great way with words. Producers who have supplied tunes like Muncan, Demos, GingerLiam, A.R.T and Jinxta. Lots of other people I bounce ideas and music off each other like James, Mitch, Sian, Bui, my flatmates Kim, Coco, Will and anyone else who has put up with emails, facebook messages, tweets and texts! That sounds like a bigup list but they’re all people I interact with regularly…
The more people get to hear my music and that I earn some money while I’m doing it to help pay the bills and my extortionate chocolate/sugar habit.
Do you feel like what you are doing is important and in what way beneficial to you sector?
I feel it’s important because I play my Nan my songs and she likes them and can relate as I mention many different subjects, I try and make songs because a song has a subject and I stick to it. Quickly written ‘freestyles’ are all good for making a quick tune and some good lyrics but I’m more of a structured, song person.
When you started out did you think that music would be a serious business prospect and such a large part of your life?
Nah when I started writing and making beats I was in the wonderful process of my career plans going down the pan! It was just a hobby for the love of just doing it and it still is but now with all the added extra bonuses of being able to sell it at the end, hearing it on the radio, collaborating with designers, video directors/shooters and other artists whether making a song with them or gigging with other bands etc!
How do you separate yourself from others who are in the same industries as yourself?
I’m ginger and not from London.
Where is your Favorite place to create music?
Making beats at home, writing lyrics on the bus or in the car, I always used to come up with some amazing lyrics while driving, pull over to write it in my phone and had forgot them!
How do you describe your work to people who haven’t been regularly exposed to it?
My music is mainly grime influenced, very thought through from the production to the subject to the wording in the lyrics. Refreshing, enjoyable, catchy and thoughtful. And generally Nan friendly! Ha-ha!
What have you stolen/learnt or have been influenced from another artist lately?
Influenced by Jay Kay from Jamiroquai, I used to be able to sing his songs spot on and had a similar pitched voice. Its no good me trying to sing like Barry White or Pharrell’s higher songs as I cant do them notes.
How important is it to you that music has a relationship with the rest of the world and why?
Most music reflects the world and how we see it, perceive it, live it. So it’s usually a great insight into the mind of the artist wherever they’re from.
Finally describe your music as if we were deaf?
Full of character, tempo en-fuelled and keeping you on the edge of your seat beats, with words that are delivered in an approachable, confident, speedy manner.