We’d chill with Natty. Wise beyond his years, London based artist Natty Wylah radiates a refreshing energy with a humbling perspective on life. Speaking on the things that matter most to him, social issues, identity, family, life and death, Natty’s music is a poetic exploration of the inner workings of his mind while remaining relatable to listeners. Natty’s latest track 4 Siblings is no exception, brought to life in a small studio in Camberwell with producer Mac Wetha, 4 Siblings is a homage to brothers and sisters, past and present.
We chat with Natty about musical upbringings, the therapeutic nature of music, early lyrics, new projects and the small things in everyday life that inspire him…
Hi Natty, thanks for chatting with us, let’s start with an introduction, tell us a little bit about yourself..
I’m about 227760 hours old and counting, I grew up in NW LDN currently residing in SE and me and my girl just copped some chickens who are currently teenagers so they’ve been smoking spliffs and listening to delinquent music all night – trying to tell ‘em to go school so they can learn how to lay some proper eggs.
Can you describe your sound in 3 words?
Abstract, earthy and tactile.
Who or what got you into music? Do you come from a musical background?
Music’s always been apart of the household I grew up in, my Mama and my Pops always had some good stuff on rotation from Keith Jarrett to King Tubby – my grounding was good!
What was the first song you could ever rap fully?
Many Men – 50 Cent
First bar you ever wrote? Even if it’s embarrassing!
Ah!! this is the earliest one I can remember, and it’s from midway through but… ’we’ve lost grip like a Michelin tire, that’s on fire and wasted away. I’m just tryna get my wage for today, not even on a paperish chase. When I’m older I just wanna blaze everyday, hope that I don’t get raid by the jakes and I’ve realised that I might have made some mistakes but its not too late, to make that change.’
Your music and the issues you discuss such as identity, have a really therapeutic quality, do you find that music is an outlet for you?
A thousand million percentage of truth right there. Through some rough patches, writing rhymes and reflecting through them or even writing rhymes to absorb the present moment is healing – it’s a channel. A lil zone.
Continuing from my last question, tell us a bit about your songwriting process?
Ooo – so I’ve been a lot more melodic as of late; I’ve got copious lil voice notes with song ideas sang out of tune so I can’t work out what they are, but, soon come I’d like to expand my singing game and flex those parts of myself. However collaborating with producers for the most part, it’s symbiotic – sometimes the bars are written the beat wraps around them or equally the beat sparks the imagery. Sometimes it’s that sweet midnight lull that coaxes out that different shit when somethings in the air and it floods the page.
Outside of music, what inspires you?
Little details, seemingly insignificant shit: little magic moments. Mother Nature. Puns. Laughing when you shouldn’t be. Chatting nonsense with people. Films. Colours. Dreams.
Okay so new music, your latest single 4 Siblings is really thoughtful and quite an intimate experience to listen to, how did the idea for this track come about?
Sitting in what was once Mac Wetha’s little cupboard studio in Camberwell… He’d already made the beat with the other section as a separate idea – we put them together and it forged a concise little musical journey. I guess at the time I must have been thinking about life, death and what could have been if my miscarriaged siblings would have made it through – however paying respect to my brothers and sisters here with me now, who aren’t blood related but we been through madness so, you know, we are more family than some family.
How involved are you with the visual element of your music, do you like to have the final say or choose a creative director and trust their vision?
I’m difficult to work with probably – I’m a megalomaniac artist arsehole with a vision, so yeah it’s an almost equal part to the sonics. I’m learning to delegate more but at this stage I’m essentially making art with my friends – it’s a very DIY organic process which is enjoyable and produces innovative things… but soon come when the budget burgeons I’ll have minions running around feeding me sandwiches and Francis Ford Coppola smoking fags and wagging his wand at the dolly operator who keeps tripping over the mini Great Wall of China on set.
What can we look forward to for the 4 Siblings video?
Many treats! There’s some old DV footage of me and my pals shooting Ball outside of the school! Back in the back in the day… The video was pieced together during the transition into Quentin Quarentino mode so parts of which were actually filmed by my girl Umi, who did bits! (She’s slyly my creative jury.) With animation from Sam Bell, Me and my friend good friend Calum Reilly co-created this one but it is his well acquired vision that has sewn the final seams!
How has the lockdown affected you, are you still able to make music? What effect do you see it having on the music industry?
Theres a lot of darkness that has arisen through the lockdown. Fear. However it’s a thought-provoking time. Light shines through the cracks and things have been exposed: from our government’s foolish shambollox to our own inner contemplations, Mother Nature has implemented a necessary grounding. (As in your grounded, stay in your room.) I’ve got a mic set up luckily and I’ve just unearthed my old Casio VL-1 which I used to fuck with when I was miniature so that’s very nostalgic – I’m still making music. The last question is a scary one which I’d prefer to avoid, but I think there will be some pretty heavy implications. It’s hard to feel what the state of music venues will be like when we are having to queue at distance to cop milk then I wonder how people are gonna feel moshing in a rammed sweaty room. I have faith, however we will need more than 2 metres worth of patience for what’s to come.
Where do you see yourself in 5 years?
At Elon Musk’s house playing charades, reenacting the scene from ‘2001: A Space Odyssey’ where HAL begins to lockdown and take control then pressing the red button on the ejector seat leaving with the blueprints for the Mars expedition to burn them as fuel for my eco, wind turbine powered sky boat en route to Uranus.