After creating one of our favourite EPs of this year, we invited the man that is Wu Yen to headline our event at The Crofters Rights this Saturday 15th October. We met up with him on a cold evening over-looking Stokes Croft to find out a bit more about the project, why it was an alias and what's to come.
Photos and interview by Beth Sheldrick
"As much as i love making grime, I don't wanna trap myself in a box..."
So help us visualise a little your musical timeline of being on the mic as Sparkerboi, to production as Hi5ghost, to your newest project Wu Yen…
I was MC-ing and hosting as Sparkerboi from early. It was my name from back in secondary school, I think i pack it in not long before my first release, I was slowly getting more DJ bookings and by that time I felt that as Spakerboi I had reached my peak, so I decided to focus more on production. Wu Yen is a more recent thing for me to just make anything i want without any rules or preconceived judgement. If someone said “Oh, have you heard the new Hi5ghost tune” automatically they would assume it's gonna be grime. As much as i love making grime, I don't wanna trap myself in a box, so i use Wu Yen to allow me to be creative with other styles and techniques.
What made you decide your recent Noire EP needed to be released under an alias?
I hoped that using a different name would make anyone who brought it listen to it with an unbiased opinion and not judge it based on my previous releases or affiliates.
What came first, the decision to create an alias or the progression in production where you thought "right, this needs to go under a different name"? The production hands down. most artist will try new styles and ideas to see what happens and sometimes you can fit it under the same alias however I felt it would be easier for me to keep them separate. The key influence for me to try other sounds was definitely my friends from Young Echo. Bristol a small city and it difficult not to be influenced by your peers. the name came after just so that i can give myself an excuse to make more stuff outside my comfort zone.
" I think with modern day music more people are experimenting and being subjected to various styles of music that we can't even name yet."
The Noire EP received much positive acclaim in the music community, also becoming Mix Mag's album of the month, do you think with the amount of instrumental grime in the market now, people were gasping for something a little bit different?
I don’t know, it's natural to always want the next thing when something becomes as popular as how grime has become over the last few years. I'm happy that the EP was accepted with open arms expertly from people I didn't think it would appeal to, however I think with modern day music more people are experimenting and being subjected to various styles of music that we can't even name yet. The fact that instrumental grime is still rising I think helped the EP in a way that shows that people are happy to buy a complete project without any vocals just as much as if it was a vocalised single.
What's your main goal when it comes to production, are you striving to do something different or is it a case of whatever sound comes naturally? Always what comes naturally, if it ends up being something different then it is what it is.
The EP came out on your physical-only imprint, Papercranes Records, does this mean we can we expect more activity from the label in the near future? Yeah, I know in comparison to other labels mine has been very dormant, I've just been planning on the direction i wanna push it and try to keep it to more of quality over quantity.
Our October event is only the second time you've played out as Wu Yen, how can we expect it to differ from what you play as Hi5ghost? More listening music, I hope that some of the stuff I play will increase peoples' curiosity. A lot of the stuff will be sounds that influenced the Noire EP and the rest will be stuff I enjoy listening to but never get the chance to play.
Where are you looking to take the Wu Yen project, did we hear a mention of live sets?
Yeah that's the plan, still working out some of the details.
With the creation of an alias, do you think Hi5ghost will be on the back burner for 2017?
Na, ill be busy working on both
Finally, if there's one thing you could say to new and fledgling music producers, what would it be?
Stick to your guns. be patient and stay humble.
You can see him play this Saturday 15th October Coconut Presents: Wu Yen and listen to the Noire EP below.
You can also win an exclusive USB with tracks from everyone on our line up including Wu Yen, see post here.