After a year of outstanding releases, Hertfordshire-born and bred mustbejohn has dropped his highly anticipated EP,
‘Romance In Great Britain’.
Inspired by his surroundings, mustbejohn is constantly building on his unique and signature sound that blends together a wide array of genres that he is now becoming known for. Keeping this signature sound alive throughout the project, each track weaves in and out a wide spectrum of genres as his raw songwriting takes centre stage as he tells the stories of life in the city, the parties, and of course as the title suggest - Romance.
We caught up with mustbejohn on the day before the release of this incredible project, discussing the build-up to the project and how it feels to finally release this body of work that’s been on the cards for so long into the world.
So who is mustbejohn?
I ask myself that every day, mustbejohn is an artist. I’ve been making music since I was young, I started taking it seriously in recent years merging sounds from dance music to Uk rap and everything in between.
So speaking on that, your music is quite niche. You blend a lot of sounds to create your unique sound seeing you rap over dance beats, how did this come around?
Do you know what I think it is? I think it’s just I’m a massive fan of so many genres. I think a lot of the time it’s what I enjoy listening to but then I enjoy rapping and expressing my feelings as I write meaningful lyrics on things I want to talk about. So blending the genres and creating that juxtaposition with a happy dance-infused beat but more meaningful lyrics, then other times its just straight-up party vibes. I think it just comes from what I’ve been listening to.
Every track you can see you go from like one extreme to another, for example, ‘Handy Mandy’ to ‘Romance In Great Britain’, they’re polar opposites but still represent you.
Yeah man, I like to think it all just blends together.
So this EP feels like it has been on the cards for a while now, this is an EP that everyone is wanting. How does it feel to finally get the EP out?
Man, I am super happy, feel very gassed to get this one out. I made these tracks over a year ago so I’m just ready to get them out. so everyone can finally listen to it in its entirety. It’s nice when you have a solid body of work for everyone to enjoy, I do enjoy releasing singles but there’s something different about a body of work. It’s like a time capsule of that period of my life and I’m just so happy to have it out.
During the build-up to the release of the EP we saw a wide array of tracks from the project get released as singles, why did you select the tracks you did?
To be honest I feel like it was all to do with timing and just what I was feeling at the time. ‘Days Feel Like Seconds’ was the last track I made for the EP just before summer. I knew we were about to do festivals and shows, so I was like I want this out for them so we could have everyone with the one-finger, two-finger raving. I think in this day and age people take in singles easier, maybe in the next project I might do one single, but ill see how I’m feeling then.
Speaking of summer and all these shows, how were they?
It was buzzing man, it's different meeting people in person and seeing how they react to the music and having them sing your lyrics back to you, it's just nuts. When we went over to Portugal to do a show, I thought that people might just walk on by but we had a couple of people there singing the lyrics and that was nuts.
I bet that was a mad moment.
Yeah, it was, I love meeting people after the sets and finding out how they found out about my music. I just love hearing that shit, and like actually seeing who is listening to the music. It’s one of the main things for me.
When did you find yourself writing the project? I know it was around a year ago but how does that reflect back to a time in your life?
It was a time when a lot of stuff was changing, I’d just finished university, and I had finished everything with my previous project, but it was a weird time. For a little while I was confused as to what I wanted to make, one day I stopped thinking about it and just got in the studio and made what just came to me. A lot of the projects are produced by a guy called HigHager, he’s from Denmark, and like he sent me a batch of beats once and we got on really well and got connected just by sending stuff back and forth. He came over for a week, we made a lot of tracks during that week. I feel like I was going out a lot during this time too, everything was lifted, so that’s probably why it’s got more of a dance feel to it.
Is there anyone in particular who inspires the sound? You go from dance on ‘Handy Mandy’ to like UK rap on ‘Romance in Great Britain’ it’s such a wide plethora of sounds.
The whole scene man, it’s hard to pinpoint one person like I’m tapped in. Whether it be people with new stuff coming out, or people who have been releasing for a while. I love all styles of UK rap, I love taking in all aspects. I really enjoy listening to dance music, like old-school stuff and new stuff. I think literally that’s the blend. When I was younger I was first introduced to rap as grime, and then as I got older and started going out I was listening to dance music and the sounds, so I think that’s where the natural blend happens.
So obviously Tibasko remixed ‘Handy Mandy’, how did that come about?
Someone showed me their music and I was like yeah these boys are crazy, I was a fan of everything they were doing. So I reached out for them to do the remix, and they were proper game for it. What they sent back was nothing like I was expecting, but if anything that made me love it even more cause it’s such a polar opposite to the original. It’s nice to have a remix that comes out and does not sound like the original. It’s one that the DJs can spin in the club.
So if you could tell someone to listen to one track of the project, what are you picking?
That’s a hard one, like you said there are so many different styles on it. I would say, maybe, nah this is hard. If they ain’t heard anything from the project before I would say ‘Romance In Great Britain’. I feel like that doesn’t sound like a lot out there at the moment. I am proud of that track and it's the track that kickstarted this whole campaign. It’s not even my favourite track but it just sums up the project.
So what is your favourite track then?
I knew that was the next question, I dug myself a hole. It changes every week to be fair but at the moment it’s a track called ‘Is It Me?’ It’s one of the unreleased ones. It really displays a time period in my life when I was writing this like when we spoke about earlier. I think it’s one people can relate to. I think you can listen to the song and know it’s a place I’ve been in and probably will be in again.
So what else can we expect for 2022?
Not a lot this year, but we’ve got our tour next year. It’s going to go off.
With a tour next year, will we see you there?