Welcome to Downtown Kayoto, the rising creative genius of Hull, turning all of our eyes away from London.
This vibrant city is home to The Deep, Humber Bridge, and a burgeoning talent known as Downtown Kayoto. As we eagerly await the release of his upcoming EP, 'Learning In Public,' this Hull-born artist has captivated our attention with his single 'Lite,' a track he has been anticipating for the past two years.
Downtown Kayoto's musical journey has been one of exploration and experimentation since his debut in 2019. Breaking free from the confines of genre labels, he has collaborated with various producers and fearlessly pushed beyond his comfort zone. With songs like 'Karma Called,' he has been on a quest to discover his vocal range and determine the perfect balance of production elements. However, 'Lite' marks a significant milestone in his artistic evolution, as it brings him closer to fully sharing his stories and granting listeners the joy of singing along to his heartfelt lyrics.
What sets Downtown Kayoto apart is not only his musical talent but also his remarkable ability to balance his pursuit of a biomedical science degree with his unwavering dedication to music. Crediting his success to the exceptional team he has assembled, individuals who share his vision and can effectively execute his ideas, this approach has allowed him to maintain creative control and meticulously strategize his brand's growth.
Although Downtown Kayoto's earlier works were characterized as Indie/Hip Hop, his artistry defies easy any categorisation as it refused to be boxed in. Within his upcoming EP, you can expect to encounter unique rhythms, captivating melodies, and surprising elements of UK rap.
With 'Lite' as a tantalizing teaser, his upcoming EP, 'Learning in Public,' is set to make waves upon its release on July 6th. In each track, Downtown Kayoto fearlessly explores the fear of missing out that accompanies his retreat into his musical sanctuary—a sentiment that resonates with anyone who has juggled their passions and dreams alongside the demands of daily life.
We caught up with Downtown Kayoto before his impressive set at Dot To Dot to discuss his upcoming EP, his latest release, and his impressive co-signs.
You've got your upcoming EP "Learning In Public" coming out soon, when creating the project, what was the concept behind the project?
Well, I feel as if in the past year I've learned so much about everything, not just about myself, but the music industry and stuff and it's kind of just an amalgamation of all the lessons that I've kind of learned. So going into the EP, it's like, I don't think I'll ever be perfect and I don't think I'll ever have shit truly figured out. But I will say I'm somebody that will always have a willingness to learn. And the EP is just me saying, do you know what guys, from the last EP I've upgraded, these are the lessons I've learned, these are the experiences I've gone through, and this is the product of me being in the studio perfecting these songs. And here you go.
With everything you do, you're very DIY and involved with every aspect, even down to the artwork. Is this something you pride yourself in?
I don't just do music for the sense of myself. I do music and I do creative stuff for the people who can't do it. Additionally, especially being from Zimbabwe, I understand that not a lot of people have the same opportunities that I do. So whenever I go through a project, it's a question of how much essence can I inject of myself into the project. I can never be satisfied letting and kind of giving somebody else the pen. I like having control of that. I like to give people as much of myself as I can and with the covers and the creative stuff, it's a part of that. Seeing is believing.
That clearly can be seen throughout your latest release "LITE," what's the story behind the release?
The song was made with my boy Frankie Koker out in America, and it was just a case of when going into the session, I'm not going to lie, there wasn't super long-winded context to how the song was birthed, but it was just birthed from a place of creative expression.
I went through a gap year, I was sold certain lies that were not necessarily true and didn't become true, and I found myself in a slump. So I think that song is about me venting pretty much and just kind of coming to terms with the outside and me being inside and me taking a gap year.
Do you think your background and upbringing has played a part in your music? When people talk about the North's music scene, they don't really associate the sounds you make, do you feel like this has helped or hindered you?
1000%. I was saying to a few people, I have certain advantages and disadvantages from not being from London as well as being from Hull. I'm in a place of privilege, but then also I'm not. As I'm introducing myself and telling my story to the world, I'm just trying to show that I'm bringing a fresh perspective. I was raised where there are probably more blades of grass than there are people, Concrete for me is quite scarce. I don't really like tall buildings and stuff, so when I'm coming through, I'm telling a different story and I've kind of got this thing where I don't need to follow a crowd necessarily and I'm used to being the loudest in the room sort of thing.
Before we wrap this up we can't not mention the amount of industry support you've been getting from the likes of Zane Lowe and Pharrell Williams, how does that feel to have such important names supporting you?
Yeah, it's crazy. It's just like, it's that thing of when you're doing something, you dunno if you're doing it right and those co-signs, every step of the way sort of thing, It's kind of just an indication that, okay, keep going. You're doing the right thing. Especially when it's somebody that's got the same notoriety as Pharrell, it's like, this is somebody that I would say has influenced all of my favourite artists. He's my favourite artist's favourite artist. So hearing that it's amazing.
I was geeking for a straight week and it's mad as well because Pharrell is not so far from my generation and my mom's generation. So that's also a pinpoint to my family to say, okay, fuck. We've heard Pharrell in the Snoop Dogg joint. Okay. And now he is co-signing me to a certain degree. So yeah, it's hard.