Kojaque's sophomore record Town's Dead is out now! We chat to the musician about the release and so much more.
Irish rapper Kojaque recently unveiled his debut album, Town’s Dead, navigates themes of love, mental health, and the claustrophobia of his hometown. We caught up with the musician to chat about the release and so much more.
The release explores how love can influence your headspace, especially the glow of new love that burns hard and fast. The collection of vulnerable tracks documents a tumultuous love triangle, playing out across cinematic and atmospheric soundscapes.
Since the release of his debut mixtape Deli Daydreams, Kojaque has shared the stage with the likes of slowthai and Lana Del Rey, cementing himself as one of Ireland's most exciting emerging artists. The musician has also made his foray into film, adding award-winning film-maker to his list of achievements with his film Love In Technicolor.
Town’s Dead is out now! Read our interview with Kojaque below.
Could you tell us a bit about your background in music and what led you to pursuing a career?
I’ve been obsessed with music since the Spice Girls. It’s always something I’ve wanted to do, either that or film making. I got obsessed with Odd Future when I was a teenager and I think they really pushed me to be myself and go after what I wanted.
Congratulations on the release of your new album Town’s Dead. The album navigates themes of love, mental health, and the claustrophobia of your hometown. How important was it for you to document these themes across this collection of songs?
I think your environment is so important when creating and mine always seems to come out in the music one way or another. I wanted to make something that sounded like Dublin, authentically Dublin, from the humour to the heartbreak. I wanted to make a world.
What was the hardest part about creating a body of work that is so personal and documents your own adversities?
Having to sit on tracks for years. It’s a frustrating process at times because it can take really long to link all the loose ends and to make something cohesive. So having to sit on tracks that you live for years is hard. Maybe finishing is the hardest part.
What new knowledge and experience were you bringing into the sessions working on the new record, that differs from creating your previous EP's?
I think I was much better at taking criticism this time around. I also know what advice to listen to and what advice to ignore. Sometimes criticism makes me even more sure that what I’m doing is right, because I take on board what they say and think about and go, 'nah fuck it, my way is better'. But I’ve learned that the music is something I do, not who I am, which makes it easy not to take things personally when it comes to criticism.
How did the album evolve and change as you were creating it, and were there any tracks left on the cutting room floor that you think might have a life in the future?
I’d say there were four tracks that didn’t make the album, and three other “finished versions” of the album. Obviously there’s only one real finished version and that’s what came out, but sometimes you have to step back from something and say that it’s finished just to see the holes in it.
You have some incredible visuals can you walk us through your process when it comes to conceptualising and how involved are you with the development of the visuals?
I’m a mad cinephile, so I usually get inspired by watching old movies and then develop the idea from there. Like with Towns Dead, I was obsessed with Sleepy Hollow and I’ve been getting more into VFX recently. So the idea kinda merged with the opening line of the song “I just got my head kicked in”. Me and Sam McGrath who directed it with me just thought, 'alright so you’re a butler at an upper-class garden party and you’ve just lost your head, what could happen next?' And we went from there. When I work with Sam we usually story board the video within an inch of its life.
How important are the visuals to you when it comes to portraying the stories and themes present on the songs?
The visuals are incredibly important, although I treat them as a separate piece of work to the song usually. They’re a way to imbue a song with a different or a new meaning, I never like to just show the story of a song through the visuals. I think that’s lazy. Show don’t tell or vice versa.
If Town’s Dead was a piece of pre-existing visual art which artwork would it be?
Gin Lane by William Hogarth
What’s one line from the whole album you find at times could be stuck in your head? Or a line that you come back to?
"Life’s that thing that ya do when you can’t face pintin'."
If you had to pick three songs off the album to play to someone who has never heard your music to make them an instant fan which would it be and why?
Probably Towns Dead, Sex N’Drugs and Curtains
Dublin has a diverse and vibrant music scene, who are some of your favourite acts and why?
There’s too many to choose, but For Those I Love made an incredibly brave and intimate album this year. Pillow Queens are absolute weapons. Damien Dempsey is one of my all time heroes. There’s so much more I could put here.
With everything that’s been happening in the world touring has changed, what are your 2021 touring plans, what can fans expect from a live show, and is there a chance we’ll see you performing in Australia when you are able to do so? I’ve got a UK and European tour booked for November that I’m really excited about. I’m pumped to go play the region shows around Ireland and the UK again. As soon as I can get to Australia I’ll be there with bells on. I’ve never been, I’d be so excited to see what it’s like!