BARKING: Interview with CYRS
Multi-faceted artist and producer, CYRS, is back from Germany with a wealth of new eclectic music. Having taken a 4 year hiatus to escape the pressures of conforming to British mainstream ideals, he’s home with a new sound and single Komm Mal Her, Feat. Timmy the Kid and Ruby Sparkles. Heres what happened when we met CYRS.
Tell me where your love of music began?
Music has been in my life from the beginning. My Mum would play classical music to me while I was in her belly. My Dad is from the Caribbean so reggae, house music and garage was played constantly.I was exposed to a lot of worldly music. Classical music is the one thing that soothes me though. I had it from the womb.
You act, sing and dance as well, why is producing your chosen medium of artistic expression, when you’re such a multi-faceted artist?
Producing was always what came first. I’d been playing with music software since I was 10 years old. I started playing the saxophone at this time also. Dancing and performing, as much as I love it, is what pays for my music. Music has always been the goal.
Performing in theatre took you to Germany, where you were cast in starlight express and where you produced your new single Komm Mal Her. Tell us about the whole process?
I used Starlight as an opportunity to make some money and to figure out what music I truly wanted to make. I initially thought i’d be there for a year, but ended staying for 4. Needless to say, I took my time finding my sound.
How did you finally find your sound?
When I got to Germany I was surprised at how different German culture and music is in comparison to Britain. There is a fusion of cultures and the percussiveness to the language which really inspired me. I wanted that range for my music; So I took the opportunity to work with local musicians, Timmy the Kid and Ruby Sparkles, and made ‘Komme Mal Her’.
Will you elaborate on the differences in the German and British music scene?
There’s definitely a music formula which is universal. I just found that in Germany the sound was very diverse culturally. You go out to a club and you’ll hear about 6 different languages being played, in Britain you’re only hearing English. I found that hearing all these different cultures gave me more opportunity to play and look outside of what I know. Germany is more experimental on a mainstream level.
Given our political climate how do you think Brexit could affect creatives and particularly you as a producer?
Freedom of movement. That freedom afforded me the opportunity to work and cultivate a sound that I may not have found if I stayed in the UK. But if Brexit happens we’ll have to find a way, because artistic expression is too important.
What artists are inspiring you at the moment?
There’s a singer called Rosalia. I love her fusion of mainstream music and traditional Spanish music. I don’t tend to listen to English music anymore.
What other countries music do you listen to?
Dutch and German music. When I was younger I listened to a lot of French rap in the hope that I’d learn, that didn’t work.
I understand that there can be a pressure for artists to find a sound quickly, how valuable is it for artists to take time and nurture their sound?
It’s invaluable. This chase for radio play and fans is short-lived. It’s better to take your time and attract an audience that like your unique perspective, not because you sound like everyone else.
How do you know when you’ve got your sound?
You won’t know until people stop you and say, “Did you make that, it sounds like you?” Its like 100% you. Like breathing, you don’t even know.
What’re the next steps?
I’m working on some new tracks and should hopefully be releasing a E.P at the end of this year. Then start performing them in 2020.
What advice would you give any young person who wants to do what you’re doing?
Just do it. Obviously there are limitations, but hustle. Beg, borrow and steal. You don’t need all the best equipment right now, It’s not necessary. I’ve made some of my best beats on my mums dining table. Just do it.
Interview and visual by Daniel Kwabena-James Bailey