Interview: In’ovative talks ‘Colour of the Sky’, appreciation for Wiley and MF Doom, and observing mental patterns.

In Hip Hop, Interviews by Nick Russell

A fast emerging emcee that’s really been impressing us over the past few months is In’ovative. The Dover, Kent rapper dropped his debut album ‘Colour of the Sky’ earlier this year, and fuses a range of rapping and production styles. We spoke to In’ovative, founder of Zen Say records about how his album worked as an emotional outlet,

In’ovative – your rap style is very distinctive, tell me which five words would summarise your craft.

Five words ay? I’d like to say Abstract, Diverse, Innovative, motivational and erratic like myself! 

‘Colour of the sky’ is an extremely profound project, what were the stand out emotions you experienced when putting the album together? 

That it is, I hope you enjoyed it! With Colour of the Sky I wanted to show what I could do and the different styles I can work with, kinda like a massive mixtape. 

There was a lot of resistance to keep moving with the project, frustration at creative blocks, stress at deadlines. The biggest feeling of relief was when I zipped and emailed the final track to be mixed down. I’m grateful for the journey of emotions – highs and lows. It meant I had enough inspiration from each cycle of life’s ups and downs, motivation, sleep deprivation etc.. to form the concept itself. 

I wanted to capture the moments of appreciation along with the times that were lost in the loops, all the way to the empathetic almost angry expressions like in M.Y.O.C. They transition swiftly like the colour of the Sky from morning to night.

Who would you say are the top 5 influences of yours as an artist?

In the early days of creating I was influenced mainly by the grime heads before I started working with hip hop but I can’t name them all as I’ve only got 5 to pick so… 

Dizzee Rascal, P Money, Wiley, MF Doom, Akala

Out of the music I listen to I’d say around 15% is hip hop and rap and the rest is anything from Queen to Chet Faker back round to Funkadelic and everything in between. So it’s hard to see where I gather the influence for me as an artist. I’d like to say it’s just true to the moment. 

You rap, MC and sing on the album – which of the three do you find are the most challenging?

The most challenging were tracks like ‘lost in this wave’ with a chorus, which took a little longer (recorded and deleted 30 times). There was more work as I had to adapt the tones of my voice to the tones in the track, not just the flow but the challenge is fun and learnt a lot about my voice and where I can go with it.

But as a base, I’m loving embracing the challenges and feeling more knowledgeable out the other side. 

How did you select the beats to use on the album?

I worked with predominantly 3 producers on the album –  Side Be, Slimb and Pond.

It started with Side Be sending 3 atmospheric, smooth beats.. Straight away I resonated with the feel of them and got writing. We decided to make an album after I recorded the first couple, so held of the releases till a concept was down. We first released Broken Silence as like a pre-album taster and it went down really well so lit the fire to carry on. 

About 6 months into the project and half way through, things kinda halted for a while and motivation lacked. Up until Slimb hit me up with a stash of gold in the form of instrumental heaven, almost instantly re sparking the flame to write through the blocks. 

The album was almost complete but I had a spark to create (and being never satisfied had to go with it). I hit up Pond and said what I needed to complete the vision, a couple of days later I have exactly what I needed to be (almost) satisfied. I’m glad I went with the urge, if I didn’t then Energy Impulse and Tell Em wouldn’t exist! 

Neroche is an OG and we worked together since my first studio recorded track. I felt like the album needed that grimy trip hop sound and it felt perfect for the part of the cycle where you’re pissed off and want to release. 

I also had Meloki do a remix for Broken Signals, I wasn’t sure what I was gonna do with the remixes I got back but this one made me screw my face and bang my head which is kinda different to the wavey feel of the original, so I had to bang that in as a little bonus.

Energy Impulse really shows off your hunger as an emcee, what was your mindset when writing and recording this single?

I was in a bit of a dark place after absorbing a lot of negative energy from others and my own thought patterns, I could say slightly angry but more frustrated and it wasn’t until I began to observe the patterns that I realised the spiral I was in. 

When I stepped out and had a look at myself, I was like “shiiiit you need to sort it out“! I changed some of my surroundings and focused on different things which does help but you gotta remember balance or you’ll be back in the loop!

It’s jokes tho, I listen back to my music sometimes like bro, you had shit sorted, how you back here again?! That’s why I feel it’s important to create as it’s a reminder that I’ve been through this shit before, there’s a way out, you know what to do. 

What’s next for In’ovative and your label Zen Say?

The fire is still burning strong and the foundation is building stronger every day, so expect a ton of new music from myself and more releases and events from the crew in the coming months. For now I’m gonna push out the last few visuals from the album while building the next project and start the cycle again with all the new shit I’ve learnt along the way.

Stream In’ovative’s album here and follow him via Instagram, Twitter, Facebook.