A polished blend of abundant grooves and effortless flow, Perth dynamo CHISEKO impresses with a brand new beam of euphoria via his new single Outside. An alternative dance-fuelled paradise, Outside also arrives today armed with a music video drenched in vivid chromatics and CHISEKO himself drawing you deeper into his creative universe, and we were lucky to have some time with him for a quick Q + A
First up, can you please give us a quick intro about yourself?
Hi! I’m a multi-hyphenate hip hop/dance/visual artist from Perth WA, I grew up in the UK and was born in Zimbabwe. I make hip hop influenced dance music and have a background in architecture and design.
Hi, thanks for taking the time to chat with Hear 2 Zen, what have you been up to today?
I spent most of the day working on new music and organising myself for my next run of shows. I’m playing Spilt Milk Festival next month, WAM Fest in WA and Leavers so my schedule is super busy. I’ve been taking it a bit easy recently as I came back from BigSound and SXSW feeling quite burnt out, caught covid and had my wisdom teeth come out all at once so I’m enjoying being able to get back into the swing of things.
Tell us about yourself, how long have you been performing/creating music for?
I’ve been creating music since I was 13 years old, but I’ve always been a visual artist. I started out by painting and sketching from around the age of 4. I eventually switched my mode of expression to music after I couldn’t attend art school and ended up in a private school. I found that hip hop music really helped me to find an identity in a place where I was a minority. My first live performance was at the high school talent show when I was 13. I had never experienced that level of anxiety and adrenaline before, it was a powerful experience.
Who are your greatest inspirations? Why?
Virgil Abloh because similarly to me he studied architecture and was able to translate what he learnt in school to music and fashion which helped him to create groundbreaking work. Kendrick Lamar because he consistently creates open and honest music despite what is currently popular and trending and still manages to engage audiences. Biggie Smalls because he has the greatest flow and delivery of all time, he was simply a maestro at his craft and few rappers till today have managed to reach his level of execution on songs. Anyone who can defy the odds to manifest a lifestyle which suits them and the way they want to live.
How do you create music? Are you lyrics/story driven, or does the music/melody come first? Explain your process.
I normally try to feel the beat as much as possible. I feel like the music often dictates my lyrical content and I try my best to reflect how the chords feel. I used to spend a lot more time on my lyrics, really honing in on each bar but these days I’m getting into the groove of editing on the fly. A lot of my favourite rappers historically were storytellers from Q-tip to MF DOOM & Biggie Smalls. They were all able to paint a vivid image in your head without the need for visuals. I often aim for this when I write.
What has been your greatest challenge so far in performing/creating music?
Definitely the financial burden of funding all of my projects, particularly at the very start of my career. Musicians are criminally underpaid and we often have to make huge sacrifices in our everyday lives in order to pursue our passion.
Tell us about your new release Outside, how did it come about?
Outside is a fun track that Abe T and I wrote one night after a few glasses of Hennessey. The idea was very rough at first and had to go through 28 iterations before we were happy with it. It’s a really special track to me because of how different and unique the sounds are. It’s also really unique because it’s the first track that Abe T and I put out as a collaboration.
What advice do you have to artists who are just starting out?
Find people who believe in you and build a team. You absolutely cannot do it alone especially in today’s world where the odds are stacked against you from the get go. Also, surround yourself with other creatives. The other often underrated factor is simply taking care of your health. Exercising can provide you with a level of balance and calm that sets a stable platform for you to create well consistently.
Tell us your favourite Zen practice.
Going to the gym!