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“…if you keep original and maintain the sound that had people interested in in the first place, there will always be room for you to be popular. There is only one you.”
Capo Lee has all the makings of being the next name in grime to come out of the underground and into mainstream consciousness. He’s already achieved many of the goals he set out, including working with his dream collaborator, D Double E.
We caught up with him for a chat ahead of his performance at Outlook Festival‘s 10th anniversary from September 6-10.
You’ve had shows on Axefm and Mode. Do you think radio is still as integral a part of grime in 2017 as when it first emerged as a genre and movement?
Axefm is where I started, that’s where I learnt all the values in music I carry with me today, so I think it definitely still holds value today, even when I do live shows radio practice helps me with voice control, breathing, learning new lyrics, it’s sort of like our training ground.
Who’s still flying the flag for radio today?
Haha, I’ve heard I’m one of the ones flying the flag, but there are a lot of us that came through in 2015 and that was due to being consistent on radio. The likes of Nico Lindsay, Big Zuu, YGG, Jammz, AJ Tracey, there are too many names to mention but there are loads more.
Growing up, did you think grime as a movement would have the legs to become part of the mainstream?
To be honest with you, I was so young when I was into grime I didn’t even care if it didn’t make mainstream, I just wanted to hear consistent music.
I think times were a lot different then, so I doubt a lot of people thought it would have travelled worldwide and you’ve got to thank people like Wiley, Skepta and the whole of BBK for opening the doors for us.
Does gentrification in London dampen the culture?
How I look at it is that if you keep original and maintain the sound that had people interested in in the first place, there will always be room for you to be popular. There is only one you. Remember that and you feel the pressure.
I read somewhere that you would have said your dream collaborator would be D Double E, but you already achieved that goal. How did it feel to work with someone you admire so much?
It was totally sick working with D Double E, even after we recorded the tune I was listening back thinking “wow our voices are actually on the same track”, haha. Was crazy. Was also very inspiring, he had his headline show at O2 Academy Islington and he brought me out to perform our tune ‘Mud’, so that was a special moment for me. Big up D Double E forever.
How did that collaboration come about?
He saw me in a rave I think, and we spoke and he said he had been hearing my name about on radio and respected what I was doing, and said he doesn’t really collaborate much but he would like to get a tune done. So that was a hype moment for me, haha…
What other marks in your career will you look back on with the same sense of pride?
Getting booked for Outlook is a big one, I remember my friends went last year to party and I said I wasn’t going ’cause next year I want to be performing. I put it in the universe, so that was sick.
I’ve had a chance to work with sick artists like P Money who’s always showed love from the start. I’ve done fabric a number of times, just places I was seeing everyone else get booked for in 2015, I’ve now played at. So I can’t be doing too bad…
Having a whole EP with Spyro is a highlight, having a release on Rinse FM’s label, getting played on Radio 1 and 1xtra due to Mista Jam, Target, Charlie Sloth and Sian Sanderson… There are too many highlights so I’m going to shut up now, I get excited.
How has the reaction to that recent collab with Sir Spyro been?
Everyone has been showing a lot of love man, it’s made me realise I have a lot of supporters that don’t do music, they’re just really into what I make and I think that’s really important to me because sometimes you can think your support solely relies on people in the music industry and it really doesn’t.
So I’ve learnt that along the way. Big up Spyro though, he is a don and I’m happy to have worked with him and we will continue to both put out new music together.
It’s your first time playing Outlook as you said, alongside some of the biggest names in grime and soundsystem friendly music, what are you most looking forward to about the festival?
I’m just looking forward to being out there. Obviously performing is going to be sick – I don’t know what to expect if I’m being honest. I’ve made a lot of friends in music so it feels like it’s going to be a party with my mates and we watch eachother perform. Also, always wanted to see Dizzee perform, he was like our childhood so it’s going to be great fun.
I think what’s next for me I’m going to release a few singles in the lead up to summer, get a summer anthem going, one for the ravers and just have some fun with the music, try some different tempos, work with a lot more producers of different genres and just see where it takes me. Oh yeah, and more visuals. Also, I’m growing my hair so look out for that too.
Click here for information on Outlook Festival 2017 where Capo will perform alongside Dizzee Rascal, Giggs, Wiley, Dawn Penn, Swing Ting, Madam X, Princess Nokia and more.