Sitting in The Jazz Café in Camden acts as a familiar setting for Kentish Town’s OthaSoul, who since the release of their debut full-length project, The Remedy, last year, have managed to certify their place as one of the leading underground Hip Hop acts in the UK at present.
There’s tangible excitement amid the pre-show preparations as the group’s two emcees, Louis VI & Dozer Carter, get ready to support Slum Village, another renowned act to add to the list of those they have opened for in recent times, also including Pete Rock and Talib Kweli.
Viper Magazine sat down with OthaSoul to find out what’s been going on since the release of their exciting debut and what they have planned for the future…
Can you give us an update on how things are with OthaSoul?
Dozer Carter: Things are really good with OthaSoul at the minute.
Louis VI: We’re sitting in the Jazz Cafe about to support Slum Village.
Dozer Carter: Things are really good. There’s good opportunities coming about on a regular basis and I think we’re in a period when we’re definitely finding sounds and changing up, and I think again we’ve evolved individually, which has come to change the new stuff we’ve been recording.
Louis VI: It’s dope because we’re both really developing as artists in our own right. Dozer is working on an EP [with] really dope singers. I’ve got a solo EP about to drop, which I’m really proud of, Dozer’s got a couple production credits on that and yeah – shit is good, man.
You released your debut full-length project, The Remedy, in September of last year; how has the response been to that project and what has been the biggest change since its release?
Louis VI: I think it legitimised us a lot. I felt Real Talks was really well received and then to do The Remedy on top of that was like, ‘ok, these people can make music’. The year has kind of shown it for us – supporting Pete Rock, to Talib Kweli and now Slum Village – it’s a pretty crazy thing, it’s a pretty crazy development and I think that’s what it did, it legitimised us.
Dozer Carter: Even though we’re proud of everything we’ve released, we would never release anything without giving it the stamp of approval all the way through, but I think the Real Talks EP, because there was so much chemistry, [it] just happened so fast. It literally happened in the space of 6 weeks – this is what it is; let’s just drop it. There was no promo, it was just completely organic and because of that, any reception you get off that, you’re like, ‘that’s sick’, you know what I mean? When you do a proper project and you put however much behind it, there’s so much more organisation around the whole process, so it’s nice to see it come off.
Do you think you’ve made as much progress as you would have wanted since the release of The Remedy?
Louis VI: I think [the progress we’ve made] has surpassed what we thought we were going to do. To be working with artists like Emmavie, Tom Misch – all these people out here that are really doing their thing – is like another thing. I was a fan of Emmavie before we’d even met and now we’ve got a track with her. It’s hard to expect that, you can’t really predict life.
Dozer Carter: There’s definitely been a progression. Everyone’s thinking a lot deeper about what we make. The good thing is that we still don’t feel any pressure, there’s no one around us telling us what to do. If we make a different type of music, if the sound changes, it’s purely because we want to do it ourselves and it’s a nice feeling to have, so hopefully we can keep that going as long as possible then our music will continue to be as good as we can make it.
You recently released your single, ‘In The Dark’, which features production and a hook from Emmavie; how did that collaboration come about and how was the experience working with Emmavie?
[Emmavie – who later that night joined OthaSoul on stage to perform ‘In The Dark’ happens to walk into the room upon the question being asked]
Emmavie: How did we meet?
Louis VI: I know how we met; it was that photo shoot for FutureSNDS, and then she headlined FutureSNDS and we supported.
Dozer Carter: In terms of the actual track process, because Emmavie is an incredible producer as well as vocalist, we didn’t go there with any idea or intention of what we were gonna make. So, we vibed out for a little bit, listened to some tracks we were both making and then she just literally banged out that whole beat in 25 minutes, I swear down it was so fast.
Louis VI: The long and short of it is that it was a really organic process and a good back and forth vibe and we completely got each other’s vibe.
Who are some of the other artists you’ve been working with recently?
Louis VI: NK-OK from Age Of L.U.N.A., he’s got that production crew as well now, Blue Lab Beats. He’s a disgustingly sick producer.
Dozer Carter: His style is similar to DMobbs, in a way – big up DMobbs – it was so familiar to us.
When we last spoke, you said you felt that there was a “renaissance” in the UK music scene; do you still believe that to be true? If so, what is the biggest indicator of that renaissance?
Louis VI: It’s funny that we said that because look what happened. It happened for every kind of [UK genre], but probably most obviously Grime, with everyone jumping on the bandwagon, like Drake. What Drake did was really dope, he co-signed something and made something that is dope even bigger, so I think that’s sick. I also think for Hip Hop coming out of the UK we’re getting more and more legitimised, like, [Little] Simz is on world tours [and] so many of us are around doing massive things. Barney dropped his album, which is incredible, Loyle Carner, who we went on tour with as well, that was one of the craziest things that’s happened this year because to be certified by someone that’s in your scene, from your city that’s doing their thing as well feels more special to me than doing something like [supporting] Talib Kweli.
You’ve supported the likes of Pete Rock, Talib Kweli and now Slum Village over the past year; how important were those experiences for you?
Dozer Carter: I think it’s important to see how professional people at that level are. I think that’s an important thing for any young artists to see just how hard these people work. Tour life is tough – we’ve been doing a week here and there, some of these man are on 60 day tours. It’s definitely been a good experience to see how these people work because they really do grind it out. It’s made out to be quite a glamorous lifestyle for people at that level, but they still have to go on tour buses, a different hotel every night – it’s tiring [but] you learn your lessons. Also, it’s good to meet these people, as well. Most of them are very, very down to earth and sometimes you make prejudgments, but the people that we’ve met have been the nicest people.
Louis VI: Chilling on the tour bus with Talib Kweli was just amazing.
In addition to your exploits as part of OthaSoul, you both also work as solo artists; can you give us an update on your individual plans?
Louis VI: I’ve got an EP coming out called Lonely Road Of The Dreamer, and that’s coming out in the next month, maybe less. I did a video for ‘Chasing Me’ and I did that a slightly different way. I filmed the video first and did the music to that and it was a really nice way to do it. I think artistically it’s allowed me to do some crazy shit.
Dozer Carter: I dropped a Grime remix last month and I’ve got a couple more to drop as well. I’ve got an R&B project, which has been a completely different process of working. Working with singers is a whole different ball game. It can take months just to get recording back and forth and working with them in the studio, because it’s so much more of a technical process it makes such a difference, so it’s been interesting to work on. I’m working on my own solo stuff as well, as an artist, trying to work out where I’m going to go with that sound-wise. I think it’s nice for us to be doing our own shit at the same time; it gives you a creative break. When you work as a team, you have to forgo that hard lyric you wanted to write just to make the tune better, you can’t just do exactly what you want, so it’s nice to do both.
What can we expect from OthaSoul in the future?
Louis VI: We’re doing a lot of collaborations that we would have wanted to do for The Remedy, but there’s a lot of good collaborations coming out. Just working with a lot of artists that we like and at the moment we’ve worked on a good amount of things, we just got to work our when to release it.