afropunk premiere: london-based experimental/hip-hop/dancehall artist and afropunk alum gaika drops collab with kojey radical for futuristic new single ‘loose residuals’

September 22, 2016

Just a few days away from his of his much-anticipated live performance at AFROPUNK London this weekend, Brixton born and raised experimental/hip-hop/dancehall artist Gaika has teamed up with fellow Londoner and musician Kojey Radical for their avant-garde new single, ‘Loose Residuals’. A high-flying, futuristic tune defiantly pushing past the bounds of hip-hop, electronica dancehall, reggae and more. Stream ‘Loose Residuals’ and read Gaika’s interview with contributor Semper Azeez-Harris, down below.

See Gaika perform live at AFROPUNK London this weekend (9/24) at Alexandra Palace: tickets here.

Q&A by Semper Azeez-Harris, AFROPUNK contributor

Semper Azeez-Harris: Do you think as an artist that genres are too restrictive to the music you create?
Gaika: No, I don’t really consider genre enough to feel restricted. I’m not really part of who or what decides on what my music is so I never really think to classify it in meaningful way let alone feel trapped by anything.

SAH: How would you describe Gaika to someone who had never hear of you before?
Gaika: Cinematic basement.

SAH: Let’s talk about expectations: I saw your comment regarding what the industry expects of ‘black’ artists-how difficult has it been for you in your musical journey?
Gaika: My musical journey has been pretty blessed to be honest, but I’ve not really attempted to enter the mainstream. I’ve seen what happens to people in that space. Ultimately I think black people are more loaded with pretty toxic expectations and subject to snap judgments based on superficial things. It’s a mania that bleeds into so many aspects of our lives, how to dress, how to be, who to love etc and it’s wack. I think denial of self artistically and anything that causes it is something to disregard in full. To me any kind of pre conceived expectation about anyone’s artistic practice is ridiculous. Sadly it’s something I’ve encountered a few times. I think that culture itself is defined by the culture maker and that’s really the only way for culture to evolve.

SAH: Skepta is an artist who has been successful as a grime artist-how important has his win been for male afro artists coming through?
Gaika: Everything Skepta has done has been important to everyone from day one. You can’t limit it to one prize. And I don’t think he’s done winning them yet.

SAH: Further let’s talk about being an independent personally for you—how difficult is it as a road if indeed it is?
Gaika:Creative independence is the most important thing to me, I’m only ever trying to create total artworks that exist over many formats and involve experimentation. I would never be able to do that in an environment that was more corporate then subcultural. Anything else is a deviation from the truth, more difficult than any financial hardship I encountered along the way to here, so I’m only grateful to have walked an independent road.

SAH: Your subject matter requires more thought (I would say) than most. What are the issues that are on your mind right now.
Gaika: Naked bodies, crime and punishment, mythology and dancehall—in that order.

SAH: On a practical level what do you use for your beat-making, any bit of equipment you want to add to your arsenal?
Gaika:We use a whole lot of hardware, if I could add anything it would be an impossibly massive real choir on demand or an ocarina selection.

SAH: Heard the track Loose Residuals with Kojey Radical—please just elaborate a bit about the track, the themes and indeed why you decided to collabo with Cagey?
Gaika: I heard Kojey’s record and I was truly blown away, he came through and properly shelled Boiler Room and then one day we ended jamming with Invader ALX. ‘Loose Residuals’ is a monster to me, the beat just made me think of moving through south on a mission whilst listening to Westwood & Chris Goldfinger back in the day

SAH: So, of course you are performing at the inaugural AFROPUNK London show, what will you be bringing to your performance, any surprises in line? Of course I assume you can’t tell me the nature of the surprise because that would be self-defeating-maybe a small clue?
Gaika: hahaha, nah just come and watch.

SAH: Grace Jones is on the line-up I could imagine you two dropping something together-what do you think?
Gaika: That would be the pinnacle, I’m pretty sure we could make a truly incredible work. I’ve seen her live and it’s the best thing I’ve ever seen. None of this would even exist without Grace Jones, and she knows it. Let’s be real.

SAH: Lastly, recall the last music conversation you had which had an effect on you, who was it with, what was it about and how did it change you if it did?
My late father who told me to put the Reggae station on.