Rising Irish DIY rapper KhakiKid dropped his latest EP, 'sand bebé,' featuring the standout track 'Maradona' featuring Bricknasty.
'sand bebé' continues to showcase KhakiKid's signature mellow hip-hop style, reminiscent of Atlanta legends Outkast, as it features glittering jazz-inflected beats with a dancefloor-ready groove. Also exploring rockier textures with 'stress belly,' where KhakiKid shows off his soulful vocals over a heavily distorted guitar. The finale, 'stone washed denim,' brings an uptempo, uplifting, feel-good vibe characterised by his playful lyrics.
We caught up with the rising Irish sensation to discuss his journey as a musician from his bedroom where he taught himself how to produce music to today where he is heading out on headline tour dates across the UK, his latest release, 'Sand Bebe,' working with close friends Bricknasty, and his other creative outlet - co-directing visuals.
Check out the full conversation below.
So let's take it back to where it all started, your bedroom, you taught yourself to produce and you progressed to making music, was there any moments when things started clicking and you released you were onto something?
The first, I feel like big pivotal moment was my very first show, my own show. I think once you finally get out into a crowd, it feels extra special. All the stuff I was doing at home, I was kind of detached from the people who were listening to it. So being able to actually see people in person and see the reactions and seeing people knowing lyrics and stuff like that was really special and I think it's why I love doing shows almost more than making music itself. I love performing.
I think that can be seen when you perform, you've played notable shows in Dublin and made festival appearances, do you think they've helped you grow as an artist?
Hundred percent yeah, in multiple ways too. Obviously, they've helped me grow on stage and become better performing on stage but also they've kind of helped me become better as a person, to be honest. Just like being in the moment, the first few shows were kind of just hectic energy and I wasn't in the moment that I would just jump around for 45 minutes until the set was done and then I even couldn't remember what happened, so I was able to become more in a moment from doing those shows.
But also, you learn when you do festivals that not everyone there is going to know your lyrics and not everyone is going to be a fan of me or my music, and that's the time to make them a fan. So that kind of affects the music you make. I've come home from festivals before being like, oh, I want to make some more energetic songs, or I want to make songs with hooks that people can sing along to if this is the first time seeing me, because I'm sure you know yourself, but I've strolled into so many acts at festivals that I've never known and then fallen in love with them there and I want to be one of those acts too.
Oh for sure, for me, it's one of my favourite parts of the festival. The way you're turning a negative into a challenge that you can build from is great because so many other artists hate festivals and the idea of people not knowing their songs, but you see it as a positive.
Yeah, it's a challenge, but that's probably one of the more fun parts, winning over people, even if it's five people, if it's six people, if it's a thousand people, it's a nice little challenge. You get to put smiles on stranger's faces if they do enjoy it, and I think that's super sweet.
So your latest release 'sand bebé is quite a significant release for you. Where did you find your inspiration for the project?
I'd say just the kind of mess my life has been the last couple of years. It's not like anything particularly crazy has been going on, but it's just the mess that everyone goes through, wherever you're, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, and just kind of finding yourself.
I feel like when you're lad, you're 18 and you're 19, you finished school or you're in your last year of school, you get this kind of arrogance or cockiness, I definitely had it myself, and then couple of years down the line, you're kind of becoming self-aware and maybe too self-critical. But the last couple of years, personally, I've just been all over the shop and I feel like that's what kind of inspired the project and I feel like it's a position a lot of people in our generation have found themselves in.
We are pretty confused, a little lost and just don't know what we're doing. So that's kind of one of the big inspirations for the project.
I feel like it's such a key moment in your life Is that 19 to 25, especially as a lad, as it's all about finding yourself, Is that what you tried to capture throughout the project, have you found yourself?
I don't think during this project, I have found myself. I think it's more about the things that happen along the way while trying to find myself. I don't think I've finished the project being like, oh, this is who I am. I think I'll still do some further exploring, but I think I'm closer now after releasing the project than I am than I was before.
Do you think working on this project has helped you explore more? Have you looked back and been able to reflect, like ah, that was wrong, I should have done it this way?
There are countless things like that from my past that I thought of while making the project, most of them didn't make it onto the project but writing it allowed me to think about so many things in events in my life that I might regret, I might have loved, that have shaped me into who I am.
It made me more aware, I had to look inward while writing a project. I was more aware of how I spoke to myself and how I spoke to other people in the last few years.
Did you have a standout song for yourself off the project that holds quite a special place in your heart or you've got more of a connection with?
I really like 'Maradonna' just because I think it's always special when I get to make music with Bricknasty. They're my best friends, that was the most fun making music with friends.
'My Boys' is another one I really like just because it's really boom bap rap and I kind of grew up on that and so I found it really fun to go back through those kinds of roots and just write boom bap rap and just have fun. Again, that was one of those where I had no concern about anyone or anything other than the song when I made it. So I had a lot of fun writing it.
I'm glad you said 'Maradonna,' for myself, it was a standout track and I wanted to know, working with your mates Bricknasty, did it make the process harder?
It is easier at first because they're so good. It's also they're the type of friends where we know each other so well that you don't waffle with each other., you don't lie to each other., you don't have to make sure you're not hurting each other's feelings. So specifically with Brick Nasty, if they do something bad, you can be like, I don't think that's it, and you don't have to be afraid of hurting their feelings.
So it's always fun writing with people you have a good connection with and you can truly speak your mind. I feel like that aids a process the best., and the good thing about that as well as they might come back and be like, I think you're actually wrong as well, it's just a good process when everyone's honest with each other.
'Maradonna' got given the visual treatment, to which you co-directed, why do you feel like you need to co-direct?
I think it's just fun.
I don't even know how you knew that, I'm not credited as the director, but I did co-direct it I don't like taking the credit for it, I think it's a little dishonest, but I love writing music videos. It's just another creative outlet.
One of my favourite reasons to write music videos, to be honest, is it's another excuse to hang out with my mates. I dunno why I need to have an excuse, but if I ever want to see the lads I'm like, oh, I have a music video idea. Let's go work on this, and then we spend 40 minutes working on the music video and four or five hours just chatting bollocks and it's just a good excuse to hang with the lads.
I think that's what it's like though when you grow up, sometimes you actually need an excuse to see your mates. it's sad. When you're kids, you go meet up and go down park or something, but when you get older, you can't do that. You need an excuse, so I get that.
It always has to be a pint or something. Recently, I'll go for a point and be like why can't we just lie down, go to that park? Do you know what I mean?
You've inspired a new song there.
I'll take credit for that, so what can we expect for the rest of the year from yourself?
Release more music, I am having a little battle with my manager about releasing more. We have one song set to release, but I want to release more and I'm just going back and forth about that. But we have the tour and then we have some more music and then possibly some more visuals and then if I can convince my manager more and more music.
So more, more, and more Khakikid.
I got sick and tired of just holding the music for the perfect moment for this to line up with this and oh, you can't release music at this time of the year because it's Christmas time and everyone's listening to Christmas music. I'm sick of hearing all of that, especially because I don't feel like it's true, but there are so many reasons I'm not releasing music and I don't want to listen to any of them.
I think people would appreciate it. Especially have you ever heard that about the Christmas thing where people are like, don't release music around Christmas because everyone's listening to fucking Mariah Carey or some shit like that.
I don't know what, if any of them there are Gen Z or millennials or whatever, nobody's listening to Christmas music just on the way to work, on the way to college studying. Nobody's doing that. Even if Mariah Carey is going, number one, it's not going to stop people who like me, my music from listening to my music or whoever else the music from listening to them. Do you know?