The Ayia Napa based rapper and producer A!MS shot to fame as DJ Sniper, then A.M Sniper. With a big 2024 on the horizon, he’s returned with ‘OUD’ a new single that combines with a new fragrance, available now via his website. Read our VIPER Presents interview to get to know him better…

What five words define your sound?

Hope you’re bless and excited for summer 2024! I sure hope Napa is part of your destinations you got mapped out for the year! On that note, the five words would be exotic, innovative, positive, rare, timeless. 

Tell me something unique about your creative process.

I don’t have a specific routine or process, as I feel it takes away from the fact that we chose this craft due to art being freedom; it’s not something you can bottle, or package, or process. It all starts with the music for me. It could be a beat, a melody in my head, or something I’ve heard from the many talented people who send me stuff. If it talks to me I take it from there. Ideally, I’d have my team who are in the studio with me describe it. This won’t come across as very humble, but I have one of the best set of ears in the world, which is both a gift and a curse. I think mostly a curse for my mixing and mastering people, as we end up going back and forth for weeks. The fact I started as DJ and also produce, combined with my writing, allows me to always evolve a record. Although I usually accept a track as ‘finished’ when I feel it’s 95% there, I’m never 100% satisfied. I rarely have a song I first recorded sound the same as the finished version. I can record something and go with it right away, but I also have tracks that we still cooking so I am excited about 2024.

Which song of yours would you like people to hear first? 

My personal faves are not necessarily my most successful ones, I keep improving so I would say my latest ones out like ‘SELF ESTEEM’ which is a good sum up of both my skills and my melodies combined and then with ‘Champione’, I literally pour my heart out and thank my lady for all she has done for me, so those sides are a great combo to introduce your ears to A!MS. On my first studio album ‘OFFSHORE’, some stand outs are ‘Big Boy Problems’, ‘Hunting Season’ and ‘Hail’. But this year I’m releasing my best solo music to date… Starting with ‘OUD’ of course! 

What inspired you to make that song?

‘SELF ESTEEM’ was recorded at a time when I felt at my best and I was fully gassed with the support that was coming in, including the whole splash gang, it was getting flooded!!!! [That is the saying! we flooding it!]. So it’s time to show the levels of being the king of Mediterranean sound, with a touch of London of course. ‘Champione’ is an ode to the woman that is there for the long run, that holds you down and you share a life with and that then brings another life into this world. So my wifey and my daughter Melody were the inspo. 

What’s the most vulnerable you’ve allowed yourself to be when writing/making music?

I would say ‘Champione’ and ‘HAIL’ were two songs that were very vulnerable. People expect me to be that power, up-tempo, summer don that will party and have fun. So for me to ignore the noise and just focus on my music, away from the hype and expectations, and to apologise on record for things; it was uncomfortable. But I’m also real. I still have feelings bottled up about various things in my life that I am saving for a specific project at a certain point in my journey. 

What’s the best/worst experience you’ve had on stage?

My audience has been with me supporting from all over the world for years. I’ve had the underdog mentality and response when performing at shows and I got used to being the least known. There’s been times where people just did not care specially back in 2017/2018, but I have been forever grateful that I kept it going. Post-covid I’ve focused on my own multi-sensory events where you see, hear, smell and touch our creativity during the show. That’s been amazing. I’ve been creating a platform and giving a voice to so many artists for years, so I’ve focused on what we do, as opposed to what the industry is doing.

What is your favourite song to perform?

I love ‘OG Life’ which is my intro, and also my custom dubplate from Julian Marley, of Bob Marley’s ‘Three Little Birds’. My shows combine artist, DJ and producer in one and I always want my shows to show a different version of my released music. I really can’t wait to perform ‘OUD’, but I have one track I really really can’t wait to perform this summer! Will explain later [laughs]. 

Which artist/song/album made you want to make music?

My family night club made me do it! It opened in Napa in 1985, the iconic Club Black N’ White. It’s the only club in the world that hasn’t changed location or brand name, and that plays Hip Hop and Dancehall, (and back then Soul and Swing). This is the place where I first learnt about N.W.A., 2Pac, Biggie, Jay-Z, Bob Marley, Beanie Man, Vybz Kartel, and the first UK Garage sounds. It’s like it was the science lab that created me!

What’s the meaning behind your name?

I was originally DJ Sniper, and then A.M. SNiPER. When I decided to change my name, I needed to still be A.M. SNIPER but with a silencer on it. So Aims (A!MS) was the shortened version and ties in with the whole point of being a sniper trained to ‘aim’. A!MS is a legacy, A!MS is me and everyone who helps build it.

If you weren’t making music, what would you be doing instead?

What I already do minus the music. Invest in businesses and overall keep my family united. See the illusions that these dream sellers are giving are unlike the reality. A decent rap career won’t get you paid like a decent doctor or lawyer. The opportunities that you get to utilise through having a Rap career is what will level you up, but this isn’t easy. So, it is cool to be in school on the grind, and to just be business minded. Don’t believe these rappers, it’s all hype. 

What’s success to you?

Living well and doing what you enjoy. It’s a sad fact that very few can do that. So, the least you can do is try to make people feel inspired, motivated or just have fun, because it’s not easy out there. I’m so thankful for having support and being able to go against the grain. This is not an easy or kind business, and it never will be. Creating, however, is success. When you stay true to yourself the final recognition and appreciation will come.

What moment in your life/career forced you to change direction?

Luckily enough I realised in my teens that no label or company cares to nurture young talent. I then had my daughter, and daddy duties helped this boy become a man.

Where can people keep in touch with you?

@whoisaims and of course sign up to www.houseofaims.co for exclusive multi-sensory drops. Thanks for having me, A!MS HIGH, welcome to the splash gang! Flood it!

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