Melting grime vocals from the likes of Skepta and Jammz into smooth backing tracks – namely Blues samples – KwolleM’s early mixes were the vanguard of the Mellow Grime movement. To build upon his cult following, the producer released the much-anticipated ‘Mellow’ EP in 2015, which propagated the niche sub-genre in softening octaves on high-octane tracks to create a symphonious juxtaposition.
His refreshing fusion of British MC genres permeated the London scene and remains prevalent to this day, and on Friday, the Newham native dropped his tape ‘c2c’ on all streaming platforms. We had the chance to speak with KwolleM and gain further insight into his latest project…
You made an impressive step onto the scene by melding Grime vocals and laid-back, soulful beats, creating quite literally, Mellow Grime. Your fans have stayed tuned in the hopes that they can hear more of your signature sound – does your new work contribute to your already established genre, transform it in any way, or both?
In principle, it’s the same old mellow Grime. However it’s hard to build a strong narrative and concept when bound to remixing already existing tracks. So unlike the ‘Mellow’ EP, there’s more of a focus on original vocals – mainly via Joe.
The album features a heavy five-track collaboration between yourself and Joe James. What’s the motivation and creative process behind working together?
As a producer, in terms of leading the narrative, I’m limited to how things sound sonically. But lyrically I need to tap into someone who for one thinks or is like me – but also understood what I was thinking and as an Essex native, he probably was more significant in creating the project than I was lol.
Your sound is woven into the London soundscape, and the track names on ‘c2c’ reflect that embodiment, what’s your favourite thing about the city?
What are the influences behind this project; fellow artists, people in your life, moods, vibes – what have been your muses?
Joe James. Essex house parties. First loves.
In anticipation of the drop on Friday, we’ve seen some pretty clean shots of you for Places + Faces, can we expect any visuals to accompany any songs off the album?
Potentially one music video, just need to see how the tape is received! Did quite a few editorials though, so definitely some more relevant shoots.
Joe James features on my favourite track from ‘Mellow’, ‘Song For You’, it puts me in my feelings every time – is there a tune for the sadbois and simps alike on this tape?
I think ‘Fenchurch St’ is for you, ha ha. When you get a Joe song, you know he’s gonna sprinkle some lovie dovie stuff with his crud. It’s the mellow grime way.
Both ‘Mellow’ and ‘c2c’ boast some impressive features, is there anyone in particular you would love to collaborate with in future and why?
I’d want to build off the 67 remix and make some mellow Drill – but if I had to make a song with one artist, it would be Potter Payper. The streets need it!
In between your 2015 cult classic and the long-awaited album, we’ve seen you walk & work with A-Cold-Wall and mix for Places+Faces, what else have you been investing your time into and what is next for the Mellow Grime crew?
Honestly it’s just been that – I’ve always treated music extracurricularly, just so it never felt like work. I won’t make anyone wait five years for another project though! Rayf has an album coming out soon (go pester him about it, so he hurries up) & as mentioned before, I wanna create a Mellow Drill tape.
Can you share with us your favourite track off the album?
My favourite track is ‘SSS’ – perfect intro, the perfect mellow Grime song IMO.
Lastly, other than your own, what or whose projects have got you gassed lately?
Potter Payper’s ‘Training Day 3’ & the bro Rushy’s ‘Stress 3’.