Nealo talks becoming a father, which rapper would solve Ireland’s problems and his trophy-laden sporting days.

Since the release of his ‘October Year’ EP towards the end of 2018, Clonsilla MC Nealo has showed no signs of slowing down, subsequently enjoying an impressive trajectory in 2019.

Utilising his previous musical experience and bringing a softer blend of thoroughly jazzy and thoughtful hip hop, it’s easy to understand his widespread appeal.

The former hardcore front man stopped by to have a back and forth ahead of his headline show in The Grand Social.

You recently became a dad, congrats! How does it feel?

It feels amazing man. It’s exhausting at times because now I’m juggling being a father, working full time to pay the insane Dublin rent, and chasing the music all at the same time, but when I come home at the end of the day and he smiles at me, it lights me up and makes it all worthwhile. Sounds cheesy, but that’s genuinely how I
feel.

What was the pick of festival season for you this summer?

Longitude was the best for me. It’s just a load of absolute young fellas going rasher in a field to hip hop. The fact that thousands of people came out to watch us do our thing was mind blowing. Everyone in my crew nailed it and I just had a blast on stage
to be honest with you. Also the sound was great and that really helps.

You can rock the stage with any act past or present, who are you choosing?

One of the hardest and most energetic hardcore bands Terror played in Fibbers a few years back and I got to do a part in a song called ‘One with the Underdogs’ with them. That was a serious tick off the list for me. I’d like to front Rage Against The Machine for a gig in Croke Park, at the risk of sounding cocky I reckon I would be the
right man for the job.

Whose music are you listening to at the moment?

Andre 3000 & Paul Simon. Fuck it, I might do a song with them and all.

How has 2019 treated you so far?

It’s been the best year of my life. Had a beautiful son with my wife, I don’t have a boss I work for myself, got to play 5 amazing festivals and release hip hop music. I get very dark moods at times, so for me the struggle is to move past those and find perspective. But once I do that, I’m so grateful. It’s just some days I can’t see the wood from the trees.


Something people don’t know about you?

When I was a kid I was a really good tennis player. I used to play every day and enter the adult competitions and beat a lot of them. My mam has a box of trophies in the gaff somewhere. Jesus I haven’t thought about that in years. Life is gas.

You can choose one Irish artist to head up the Irish government and subsequently save the country, who is it?

Jehnova. He’s like a stoner version of the Dalai Lama. I’d love to see him stick Leo Varadkar in a headlock, legalise weed and then solve the housing crisis.

You recently joined the ranks at Diffusion Lab, how’s that been so far?

It’s been unreal. They’re such a supportive group of people and they really have their shit together. It’s hard to balance their level of professionalism with being sound, but they seem to manage it well. My only qualm is that I haven’t been in there enough because of the baba and just being mental busy, but I’m going to sort that out after this headliner on Friday.

You are playing the 3arena and they ask your rider requests, what are you having?

A crèche so my Mrs and baby can come, 5 bottles of Middleton Very Rare, a deck of Uno cards, and all my best mates.

What are your plans for the rest of 2019?

Autumn and Halloween are my favourite time of the year. So I’m going to enjoy bringing this young fella into the park and showing him the orange leaves, maybe carve some pumpkins and go to Tayto Park. Except the last time we went there at Halloween they had these gobshites dressed up as scary clowns chasing my Mrs around. I had to literally threaten the chap so that he’d go away. So maybe I won’t bring the baby there or I’d end up with a lad from Meath dressed up as a clown in my boot.

Anyway I’m going to enjoy my favourite time of year, finish writing the best album that I possibly can, and just keep my head above water mentally. Acceptance is key.

Nealo plays The Grand Social 27 September, Click here for more info.

Words: Dylan Murphy 
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