Occupation: Rapper, producer
Current release: Keedo's latest single "Respeck Me" is out now.
If you enjoyed this interview with Keedo, visit his official Instagram page to stay up to date on his work.
Where does the impulse to create something come from for you? What role do often-quoted sources of inspiration like dreams, other forms of art, personal relationships, politics etc play?
This is a good question. I would say that a lot of music comes from personal experiences. That could be anything from past experiences to past or current relationships. Interestingly I sometimes wake up with a song I’ve wrote in my sleep lool.
For you to get started, do there need to be concrete ideas – or what some have called a 'visualisation' of the finished work? What does the balance between planning and chance look like for you?
My creative process changes all the time to be honest. For example: I can go to the studio with a whole idea but end up hearing something else when I get there and recording that instead.
A lot of the time I do have a visualisation first though. This was the case for my latest release "Respeck Me". I planned out the track before and even had the whole video.
Is there a preparation phase for your process? Do you require your tools to be laid out in a particular way, for example, do you need to do 'research' or create 'early versions'?
A lot of the time I'll make little voice recordings of ideas of a particular track before recording it. Sometimes I even make drafts of the track. I actually listened back to the draft version of my single ‘Mad Move’ the other day and it sounds totally different.
In terms of tools, I’d say I have certain pieces of equipment that I like using and also some key plugins.
Do you have certain rituals to get you into the right mindset for creating? What role do certain foods or stimulants like coffee, lighting, scents, exercise or reading poetry play?
Yeah, for sure. I like lighting candles in my sessions as it sets the mood and definitely can’t be too bright. I also got to have some fruit, water and apple juice. These are non-negotiable.
What do you start with? How difficult is that first line of text, the first note?
I feel the most difficult thing about writing for me tends to be the finish. It’s kind of like creating a story so it needs to have the perfect ending.
When do the lyrics enter the picture? Where do they come from? Do lyrics need to grow together with the music or can they emerge from a place of their own?
A mixture of both really. There are songs that I create lyrics to before I even have the music and vice-versa. Although, I generally tend to have the concepts of tracks before I create them.
What makes lyrics good in your opinion? What are your own ambitions and challenges in this regard?
I think good lyrics can be a very subjective thing. For me it really depends on the type of tune. Generally, I tend to listen out for wordplay, flow and things that resonate with myself.
Once you've started, how does the work gradually emerge?
I like to write as much as I can and then once I feel like I got a good base I keep going from there.
Many writers have claimed that as soon as they enter into the process, certain aspects of the narrative are out of their hands. Do you like to keep strict control over the process or is there a sense of following things where they lead you?
Yes definitely. I like to be sure and concise about what I’m doing but at the same time I try to be flexible if that makes sense. I know I’m a tricky customer lool.
Often, while writing, new ideas and alternative roads will open themselves up, pulling and pushing the creator in a different direction. Does this happen to you, too, and how do you deal with it? What do you do with these ideas?
I don’t physically write so this basically sums me up to a tee. I write lyrics in my head and this allows me to go in whatever direction feels natural. Sometimes if the idea changes, I will save the other idea for another song.
There are many descriptions of the creative state. How would you describe it for you personally? Is there an element of spirituality to what you do?
Yes!!! Me and team always describe music by the type of energy the music gives off.
Therefore, it’s like every tune has its own emotions which makes it easier for me to know the direction to take it in.
Especially in the digital age, the writing and production process tends towards the infinite. What marks the end of the process? How do you finish a work?
I think the digital age allows for you to be as creative as you need to be but it’s important for me to not get too absorbed in certain tunes. I try to focus on what’s the next move as you’ve got to be very consistent, especially in today's game.
Once a piece is finished, how important is it for you to let it lie and evaluate it later on? How much improvement and refinement do you personally allow until you're satisfied with a piece? What does this process look like in practise?
I try to sit with my music for a long time. If you ask anyone it’s all I play in my car as I’m constantly looking for ways to improve on each project.
What's your take on the role and importance of production, including mixing and mastering for you personally? How involved do you get in this?
This is the most important process for me and I can be very hands on.
My last single ‘Respeck Me’ had about 5 mixes before it got sent into mastering stages and that’s not even a lot by me and my team's standard.
In this day and age, you can record and churn your work out a lot quicker or keep going and going. But without that final finish, it doesn’t count to me.
After finishing a piece or album and releasing something into the world, there can be a sense of emptiness. Can you relate to this – and how do you return to the state of creativity after experiencing it?
Luckily, I haven’t felt this before I don’t think. I’m constantly recording and keep a backlog of tunes so I have a different type of problem. For me it’s always what’s next. I guess I’m spoilt for choice in that sense.
Creativity can reach many different corners of our lives. Do you personally feel as though writing a piece of music is inherently different from something like making a great cup of coffee? What do you express through music that you couldn't or wouldn't in more 'mundane' tasks?
I feel creating music allows me to be free. I see it as a form of therapy so I can unleash all my inner thoughts.