The New Order of RIMON

Eritrean – born, Amsterdam raised, and now set in London, RIMON continues to shift the boundaries of music and is ready to elevate her next step. 

Emerging onto the RnB scene with her debut ‘Grace’, RIMON’s past four years have been nothing other than success. After leaving school at the age of 17 and spending her time moving from one to place to another, RIMON found comfort in the underground scene of the capital city of The Netherlands and grew an irresistible connection with Samuel Kareem, a producer she hasn’t left his side. 

Now boasting over millions of streams and worldwide attention from the empowerment of her debut EP and sophomore EP ‘I shine, U shine’. RIMON moves across the board as she finds inspiration from the entwinement of technology and how deep we are digitally within her latest work. One that wasn’t meant to happen but perfectly slots into her discography. 

As a new era, beckons, we caught up with the ever-growing artist about her latest EP ‘Digital Tears’, her upbringing, the dream collab with Kendrick Lamar, and ditching EPs. 

Let’s get straight into it! How have you been, and what have the past few months been like for you since the release of your EP ‘Digital Tears’? 

I’ve been busy a lot, my project dropped, and it was London Fashion Week right afterwards, so it was just mayhem. I felt really all over the place, honestly. But now I feel good. I can finally have the time to calm down and think about how I feel instead of going into this roller coaster of not thinking and just going quick, quick, quick into things. And with the release, I’m really happy. I’m relieved that it’s out.

Inspired by losing your phone and delving into the social dilemmas of our generation. Could you talk us through the themes and emotions of this EP, and do you believe it has achieved your objective? 

What I wanted to do, is touch upon certain subjects. One of them was information overload. So, like our brain, not even being able to comprehend all the information we receive. That was one subject. Another one was the communication problems between partners when they communicate on phones, so like, you know how a guy can like someone’s picture, right, and the girl gets upset. You hear it all the time. Cancel culture – these were a few subjects that I felt I wanted to write about, and I did. It turned out into six songs that all have a different meaning. But the last song is the end of the entire journey and coming to a close and realising, oh wow, I’m spending so much time on social media and on my phone, like, there’s a whole world outside of this. That’s the closing chapter. I’m on a more positive note of what’s around us, and there’s so much beauty that we don’t see; we’re too distracted to see. 

Conceptually shifting into a new chapter sonically, visually and creatively, what was the reason you wanted to route down this path, and how would you describe your sound?

It wasn’t even a conscious decision because this EP wasn’t a conscious idea at first. It just happened, and I was way too deep in it. And I was like, you know what, I’m going to make an EP about this digital world that we’re living in. When I started writing the lyrics, I automatically envisioned the visuals and the entire creative direction; I wanted to do something different. Last year, I dropped a short film that was shot on film, super different from what I’m trying to do now. So now I wanted to be like, how am I going to take that next step? And how am I going to elevate everything I’ve been doing, from sound to visuals. It’s also to keep myself excited.

From the hit single ‘Feed Me’ to the title track ‘Digital Tears’, you distort between sounds of R&B, jazz, and soul, but how would you describe the creative process of this EP, and do you believe you’ve grown musically from your previous work? 

The creative process was really different from my other work. As I said, I wrote down most of the songs already without having a beat, without having a melody, nothing just puzzling what I wanted to say. What was different was that my producer Samuel Kareem had started playing the guitar for the first time. So, in that process of him learning the guitar, which is an instrument that you can hear throughout the entire project. We started off wanting to make it really alternative and electronic, but over time, we found the balance between sprinkles and details of electronics but still maintained that warmth and soul. It was a process of every time we would change, and it ended up being pretty, much a very live EP – there are loads of instruments, which was completely different from what my intention was, but sometimes stuff happens. And it sounds good. I do truly believe that I’ve grown music-wise, grown in subjects and the way I approach things. Also, on the productions side of things, I believe that’s what I strive to do. 

Out of the six tracks, which one is your favourite and why? 

My favourite always changes. That’s the thing. Right now, it would have to be ‘iCloud’ with Earthgang. I had phases where ‘Digital Tears’ was my favourite, and the outro was my favourite. But it changes depending on my mood. 

On the other hand, continuing to evolve in the creative sector. You’ve also created a digital character who lives in the digital world alongside your latest EP. What is the story behind this development, and do you believe it has created a platform for you to expand your emotions and experiences? 

I’m talking about the visual world, so it made a lot of sense to tap into a world that I would normally not. I wouldn’t tap into animation, VR, all these types of things, NFTs, the whole crypto landscape. So, it only makes sense for me to use and create a character with this girl called Sarah. She’s really sick, and I found her on Instagram. And it only made sense to use a character and be abstract and have that person be the voice of what I was portraying.  

Born in Eritrea, raised in Amsterdam and now based in London, what inspired you to pursue music, and when did you realise it was your passion? 

I think music has always been an important factor in my life. I’ve always been singing, always been in entertainment, but it was not until I was about 16-17 that I was like, oh wow, I really want to do this. I think I can actually do it because up until then, I thought I couldn’t. Due to the climate, the music climate, I was like yeah, there’s no way I’m going to make it. That was my thought because the music industry was really different back in the day. So over time, I saw indie artists breaking through and, independent artists and there are streaming platforms now. That’s when I gained the confidence to pursue this. But it’s always been, my first love. And from there, I met Samuel Kareem, and the moment I met him, he was the cement I was missing. 

Every song I’ve put out so far is produced by him. I think meeting him was part of the journey of being like, wow, the stuff he produces and the things we do together, in our opinion, is a certain standard that we haven’t heard around us in Holland at all. We were like, okay, we got this, we really got this. It wasn’t even a question.

Whilst being influenced by the likes of Amy Winehouse and Lauryn Hill, how have you coped with moving from one place to another, and do you believe your surroundings and heritage affect your approach and production in music?

Moving from one place to another made me the person I am now. And maybe not so necessarily influenced my music, but more the person who I am and the way my mentality is, so I’m very much let’s go in and get them. And that definitely stems from me seeing all types of cultures, places, country’s poverty, the grand scheme of life. Then from there, I’m like, how am I going to move? And how am I going to make it? 

I also feel my heritage, me being Eritrean, Ethiopian never influenced my music until now. Recently I’ve been doing heavy research on legends, Ethiopian Eritrean singers, and I’m intrigued now because as you grow older, I feel more connected to where I come from. Even in this EP, the first song draws on my heritage. I wanted a specific drum pattern that’s really recognisable in our country. It’s not fully on the track, but I think over time, I will come to a place where I want to do a full-on Eritrean song in my native language. 

Since the age of 17, when you left school to pursue your career in music. What have you learnt from your journey, and what would you have liked to know before entering the industry? 

What have I learned from my journey? I’ve learned a load of things. I’ve learned so many things being in this industry and this journey. I’ve learned how to put myself out there, deal with anxiety and mental health issues. I’ve also learned to protect my boundaries in this industry and so many things that are applicable to life.

I would also like to share the money part; the way I started was naive. I thought that loads of it were organic. But once I stepped foot into this industry, I started to understand that loads of it are backed by loads of money, advertisements, radio pluggers, PR agents and everything that needs a budget and funding for you to get the maximum push and outcome for your projects. For instance, and that I had no idea, I thought it just happens organically, like oh this his person just popped out of nowhere, and became this huge superstar, but when in reality, it’s a bunch of labels pushing through hard work and everything. And that’s something that made me sad in a way, like, oh, wow, my childhood, like the idea of how this went about, is just fully different.

From your debut ‘Grace’ to your 2020 EP ‘I Shine, U Shine’ and now your latest EP, can fans expect an album, and what secrets can you spill? 

This will be my last EP, 100%. This wasn’t even the plan. After I Shine, U Shine, I was supposed to finish the album. But I got inspired by this digital world, and I was like, you know what, I’m going to focus on this EP. But, yeah, most definitely an album. I don’t know when it’s going to drop. I know that I’m going to a writing camp at the end of the year, and I do have some songs already lined up. I also know the title of the album. But yeah, it’s just a matter of time.

Already showing off collaborations with the likes of Earthgang. Will, there be any collaborations in the future, and who is the dream to work with? 

We have a few already! In terms of a dream collab. If I can get Kendrick Lamar on my album, I’m done. Like Damn. That would be sick, especially because I truly think he would fit into everything we’re doing. And he’s a legend. It would be sick to be a girl from a small village from Eritrea and then Holland and then having the most, in my opinion, the best rapper alive at the moment on the album. 

Finally, as you continue to wow us and many across the world, where do you see yourself next, and what do you hope to bring into 2022? 

I see myself touring again! I know I’m going to tour, but I hope that the rules are going to stay calm. I’m just hoping that this pandemic is not having a round three or four lockdown because I’m finished now. So, I hope that we can get back to fully living our lives, fully touring with full capacity because here in the UK, it’s alright, but in many places, it isn’t. I hope that I can do a world tour. I hope next year will be the year that I dropped my album. And I hope I can create as much as I can and travel loads. 

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Words: Ross Mondon

Photographer: Ines Vansteenkiste – Muylle
MUA: Jazz Ben Khalifa
Hair Stylist: Yara Forster
Stylist: Sara Zwanenburg
Art Director and Set Designer: Rosa Kater
Production: Dalila Morais
Production: Aki Mateta
Videographer: Bart Sturing
Stylist Assistant: Naomi Bruintjes
Camera Assistant: Miguel Van Doorn Garcia

Top: Patta
Dress: Trumaine Huijts
Pants: Reconstruct
Shoes: Filling Pieces
Handpiece: Simon Marsiglia