Art Culture > Music News > Music Interview – Feral Is Kinky tells us how it is Date posted: June 15, 2012

Music Interview – Feral Is Kinky tells us how it is

Feral is Kinky hails out of London and has been taking the independent scene by storm in the past few years. Her mix of reggae, percussions, electronic music and witty lyrics make for a certain dancefloor success, and her live performances are a real show.

She tells us how Americans are bad at naming genres, how girls in the Favelas wear machine-guns rather than handbags and lots more…

 

Hi! First off, how long have you been in the business? How did you come around to making music?

Ages now! I’ve been making music and writing professionally since 1987, but was playing percussion and writing lyrics since I was even younger. I saved up for my own bongo drums when I was a kid, I was really obsessed and played percussion at primary school musical evening. I loved music and dancing, I used to watch James Brown on TV and copy his really fast footwork (laughs).

You wrote on your SoundCloud page that your track ‘Supastar’ (one of my favourites) is “London Bashy Funk Tropical Carioca” – could you tell us a little about what that means? What and who are your major musical influences?

Glad you like it! It’s a combination of funk that comes out of Rio, particularly from the favelas. I’m a Londoner, I was born here, so my track uses similar rhythms but with a London sensibility. It talks about people guarding the borders of the favela, wearing their machine guns like women would wear their Chanel, Balenciaga, Louis Vuitton and Prada handbags…slung over their shoulders. We went to a funk party in Rocinha and into the favela a few nights; everyone was cool with us. My track has a bashment vibe, not a rap vocal, I’m into reggae, dancehall and bashment rather than hip hop and it fits in with the tropical or global bass scene. I’ve been into reggae since I was around 7 years old, I’ve been to see Bob Marley perform twice when I was at my new secondary school. When I got older I went to loads of sound system dances in Paddington, which is  near to where I’m from and in Harlesden, Ladbroke Grove and Brixton.

SUPASTAR PREMASTERED CLUB MIX 9TH DECEMBER

by FERALisKINKY

You mentioned you’ve got some interesting collaborations being released over the summer. Can you tell us more?

Ive got a track coming out with gLAdiator from LA called ‘Bitchslap,’ a track with ETC ETC! also  from LA, called ‘Bad Kitty’, which is really XXX-Rated, a track which is an humorous anti  racist number with The Bumps from London, which  tells a  story of a  right wing idiot, that  didn’t realise his Grandad was actually black, called Glass House and a NYC collaboration with Punx soundcheck called ‘Heavy Medication’ Just got the latest collaboration back from Pickster & Melo in Arizona, a summer moombahton dancehall number called ‘Kill it 2Nte’ I Love it! There are tracks that have been recorded but not  mixed yet, others i’m still writing and other producers that want to collaborate in the USA, Canada and Europe.

feral is Kinky interview 2012 

What’s your take on the quick rise in popularity that moombahton and affiliated genres are having in the club scene? Why is everyone going percussion-crazy now?

Well at the moment it’s more popular in the States than it is in the UK and Europe. Americans seem to be experiencing a similar situation to the one we already experienced in the early nineties, they’ve even decided to come up with a really bad name for this music (laughs), “EDM”…electronic dance music. Thank you America for that, you gave us McDonalds, an almost extinct Native population, apartheid in the deep south and now EDM! So I guess they’re creating a lot more dance tracks and really pushing them. We’ve had rappers and MC’s voicing dance tracks for decades, they seem to think putting rappers over House music is a new invention of David Ghetto/Guetta. They’ve found a new freedom in dance music and they’re going for it. We call it different genres, they lump everything together: moombahton is part of that. The moombahton I make is linked more to bashment, dubstep, house music  and drum and bass. I will never describe it as EDM (laughs). It’s like the “new world” explorers “discovering” lands that had already been populated and had existed for years. Maybe Americans are colonising dance music. Our hip hop is bashment and grime, not American rap, we don’t have a huge Latin American population, so that’s where the percussive element comes from; my influences aren’t the same at all. The Americans are now starting to use a lot of reggae and bashment samples in their tracks too.

Who are your favourite musicians in the contemporary scene? Is there anyone in particular you look up to?

There are lots of people whose individual tracks I like and respect, there’s some really good global bass and dubstep coming out of the States. So after making fun of them I’ll name a few good ones (laughs): Dillon Francis is really talented and has a  good melodic disposition, Skrillex has started to use reggae a lot in his work, he’s really good at what he does. Major lazer (UK & USA) are really good at bringing out dance floor smashes, and there are loads more.

Feral is Kinky wearing mask 

London is mostly reknown worldwide for it’s punk and then indie scene. How do you relate to that? How is London evolving?

London still has an underground scene but it’s getting smaller, it seems everybody wants to  become a celebrity or famous and not necessarily for doing much other than existing, or wanting fame. I used to be able to press up 500 white label records as promos independently and sell them to small record stores, now it’s all about the free download files and trying to build up your live audience, Twitter and Facebook followers and try to perform as much as  possible. There’s a bigger divide now between the mainstream and independents, and although technology has made production easier, it is now harder to become known and to get your music out there. We still have a really strong music scene in terms of what’s produced and the fashion and art scene is still strong too, but financially it’s difficult. There’s not wide spread funding in a way there was before and even though you may try and apply the punk or indie aesthetic it’s hard to get a record deal in the old traditional sense, plus people seem to be conforming now. The money isn’t there anymore, and smaller labels release online or you have to release yourself via iTunes but without the promotion and push behind you people won’t even realise you exist. Shows like X Factor and Britain’s Got Talent reduce the art of making music and practising your craft to the level of a low rent game show with huge financial backing and support. It’s a means to make money, not a means to produce ground breaking or interesting artists that demonstrate what they are feeling or are compelled to do. It’s corporate. The way I work is very independent, very DIY and I don’t expect to be signed to a major, but without a label behind me the chances are my music might not get heard. London is still an exciting city to live in and it will always be, the ideas we have are quite special, we are a really small country but our output is immense. I don’t see that changing, it’s the way Londoners are, wherever they came from originally.

 

You have a wonderfully flamboyant stage persona. Is Feral in any way different from the real you? 

Thank you, I would say FERAL is still the real me, but it’s the me that gets up on stage and has quite a lot to say and is opinionated (so no changes there). When your’e performing a different part of your character takes over, or comes to the forefront, the one that quietly works at home or in the studio and hangs out with friends goes on the backburner. To behave the whole time like I do on stage would be a nightmare for me and everyone else. FERAL is a part of me, we all have different facets, this is the one I currently use to convey my music. When I MC or DJ I dress up a bit less, but who wants to go out to see a show and watch someone in jeans and a T-shirt like Coldplay? One of the biggest bands in the world…shit! So that’s what I’m doing wrong!

Italy definitely needs more kinkiness. I read you have quite a number of gigs coming up, can we expect to see you here soon? What are your plans for next year?

I enjoy performing in Italy a lot, the people are always really cool and up for it, the food’s amazing and the countries pretty diverse. I played Skylight club in Verona twice last year, that’s always really good fun, the trannies there are great. Next year I’m starting a new side project where I’ll be writing for other people too, hopefully I’ll be doing a lot of live shows DJ-ing, I’d like to continue travelling for work. I would really like to find a really hot producer to work with, I don’t want to produce my second album myself, it would be really good to just concentrate on the vocals for once rather than doing everything with my engineer. I like collaborating with people so I hope to do more of that too.

For more from the wonderful Feral is Kinky, check out the links below 

www.feraliskinky.com

Feral is Kinky on Soundcloud 

Interviewed and Written by Andrea Ratti

Soundcloud

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