My interview With Archeo


                                           Article will be live on Culture Compass soon….

A potential male pop/style icon of the future?

The charts are awash with female artists who consider their
style and visual elements nearly as important as their musical output.
In fact there is an army of lady musicians who create more column inches
because of the outrageous or risque outfits than their chart successes.
When I try and put together a list of similarly
fashion-foward/fashion-crazy male contemporaries, I am sadly pretty
stumped. Okay, there are wacky exception and Tinie Tempah always looks
pretty stylish – a man able to pull of geek glasses and suiting as well
urban and sport luxe looks. Hurts also carry off simple smart menswear
beautifully. But it seems to me, that on the whole, we are severely
lacking in male musical icons that ooze style.
Some may argue that perhaps it is because they are quite rightly
prioritizing their music, letting their lyrics and melodies do the
talking rather than clouding public opinion with their style choices.
This may be so, but I’d quite like to be able to get excited
anticipating what the male stars might wear for their appearances on and
off stage. Being an artist and a performer not only gives you the
opportunities to experiment more than us normal folk, but it also gives
you access to all sorts of wonderful creations by the fashion big guns
as well as the weird or niche smaller brands. It feels a shame not to
take advantage, perhaps bush boundaries and/or influence trends and
culture while you are at it!
In past decades we have had many a male artist showing off their
fashion flair. Bryan Ferry did dapper, proving the power of a simple
shirt and quality tailoring. Michael Jackson showcased the impact of an
accessory with his flash of white socks, sparkling gloves and tilted
hat. Freddie Mercury managed to pull off the difficult mustache and
leotard combo. David Bowie used make-up and hair dye to enhance his
already outlandish and androgynous ensembles. Adam Ant used costume to
achieve iconic status and no-one could wear a ruffled blouse like
Prince.
When I first saw the young Archeo’s video for Mr General I thought,
this is more like it. Okay so he has not gone to Ziggy Stardust
extremes, he doesn’t have a phone on his head, cream exploding out of
his nipples, or rainbow- bright hair, but he has a definite’ look’, and
one that makes him look like he has already achieved star status. For
his devil may care dancing attire he teams shades with a round neck
black jacket over tight white jeans, a simple monochrome look completed
by his lacquered quiff – a feature sure to be one of his trademarks. I
guess it could be described at modern retro – there are definite 80’s
influences but with enough features to keep it bang up to date.
He may have a strong and definite style but his music won’t be pigeon
holing him into any confining niches. Thanks to his globetrotting life
to this point, which has seen him move from his birthplace of Bombay to
live in Hong Kong and then study at an American School in Nigeria, he is
likely to tap into all manner of influences and scenes, a factor which
he has coined at a ‘mish-mash philosophy’. This varied and open approach
to music is something he feels should stand him in good stead in terms
of appealing to as wide an audience as possible.
For the aformetioned single ‘Mr General’ Archeo worked in the studio
Steve Osbourne (Suede, New Order, Perfecto), but while completing his
debut album he has been honing alongside Fabien Waltmann (Will Young,
Mika, No Doubt), White Nerd (Loick Essien) and Ant Whiting (MIA, Paloma
Faith), partnerships he has clearly enjoyed. It would appear he is very
pleased with the resulting work from this studio time. Twitter
followers would have seen a series of frustrated vents regarding having
to sit on the music for the time being. He wants to unleash it on his
existing fans and the fans in waiting…. and I have to admit I am itching
to hear it too!
From your Twitter see that you have been in the editing suite. Does that mean you are do some final tweaks of a video perhaps?
Yea I recently went to LA to shoot a video for an upcoming song, so
its sort of tweaking and fine tuning, making it is sure it is up to my
standards. I’m really excited and it looks amazing!
Would you say are you a perfectionist?
I think to an extent. I think I’d drive myself crazy if I had to
re-watch certain things and I wasn’t pleased with them. I’m definitely
getting better and letting go of things, otherwise id absolutely drive
myself insane. But yeah, a little bit of a perfectionist!
Can you give away the treatment of this video?
It’s top secret!
Now from some cyber stalking I see that you met up with a
couple friends of mine (Charlie Crosser and Mike Kruger of Wall Street
Riots) while you were out there….

They are very close friends of mine. I’ve known them since I was 12
years old, so it’s been cool to have close friends in a country when you
want to sleep on someone’s floor basically!
Did you do anything musical together or was it more of a bro down?
To be honest I went there for about a week, and it was so jammed with
the video shoot and couple of others things like photo-shoots and
meeting people and things like that.
I have spent a lot of time out in LA, apart from this trip, just
knocking on people’s doors and trying to get heard. It doesn’t really
stop there. I’ve taken myself to New York and Miami, saved up, sleeping
on peoples floor and couches, and just kind of discovering as many
scenes as possible. But I am really pleased with living in London and
want to make my mark here more than anything.
From the places you’ve visited does there appear to be a place that ‘gets you’ more than the others?
I’m not really sure if there is any place in particular, which I
think is kind of the beauty of it. If people sort of get me everywhere I
go and it means I’m on to something, rather than something specific or
niche. I’m not coming from any niche or anything like that, I believe
that my music is quite rounded in a sense in terms of people getting it
or not. Just off that I don’t think there is a particular place which is
pretty cool!
From looking at your video for ‘Mr General’, which see’s you
strutting your stuff with a very definite style, we would been inclined
to think that you are a confident person. Is this correct or is that
merely a performance persona?

Yea, definitely. I think you have to be if you want be in this
business, but I don’t take myself too seriously at the same time, and
I’m happy to laugh at myself at the right occasion as well. But, I
definitely believe in myself and my music, and my direction, and it’s
important to me that I can build my own path. I believe you have to have
a certain level confidence to do that, so I will admit to that at
least.
Artists that have a very strong sense of style tend to
polarize. Would you mind being an artists that people either love or
hate?

Yea I don’t mind at all in fact I’d rather people have an extreme
opinion of me rather than sit on the fence or have no opinion at all. So
in terms of polarizing. it’s not like it’s not my cup of tea, in fact
it probably is, so I don’t mind it.
I’ve seen your recent photos in Attitude magazine. Does it
worry you that people might question you about your style preferences
before asking about your music?

Not especially. I mean for me I believe my style does come hand in
hand with my music, and it’s important to me to feel comfortable and
feel good about what I’m doing as well. This is why I have an interest
in feeling good and dressing well. It doesn’t bother me at all, if what
I look like on the surface is an introduction to me I don’t mind –
whatever gets anyone to the point of listening to my music. I don’t care
how they do it.
Do you want have/want control over all the visual aspects of what you do?
Yea, definitely. I think it some terms I want to have control over
everything I do, as it actually allows me to be more creative in a way.
If I found myself restricted by anyone then I sick to my guns on
particular issue… although its never been the case so far.
I definitely have control over everything I do and also specifically
because I am putting music out independently at the moment, it means
that I can really hold on to that. It sort of fuels my creativity more
than anything, so I’d say yes for the sake of that at the very least. I
definitely do want to have control over everything and I don’t think I
ever won’t.
What about when it comes to working with producers? I believe
you have been working with Fabien Waltman and Ant Whiting. You’ve been
used to making ‘bedroom music’ so is it scary relinquishing control in
that sense?

Yea I think in that sense it’s different. I think when you are
collaborating with people creatively you have to delegate and you have
to sit back sometimes and see what someone else can bring to the table –
I’m really keen on that. I have a collaborative relationship with Mr
Waltmen who is producer for the bulk of material up to this point. It’s a
great relationship that we have, and it is something that I definitely I
want to hold on to and have with any creative relationship I have –
whether it be with a Producer or Director. I take everyone’s ideas on
board, but at the end of the day it’s my final say. I love when someone
can bring something to the table that I haven’t thought of, it just
opens so many other doors.
Has it opened any doors that have surprised you?
Yes to an extent. You know sometimes I am pleasantly surprised with
what someone else can bring to the table which is great, and sometimes
it makes me rethink things which is really cool but from the get go cos I
have such a strong sense of myself and and even when it comes to
songwriting and writing music and pre-produce it before it gets finished
up that there’s a really strong sense of me in there anyways.So what
comes at the end of it isn’t really a surprise to me The icing on the
cake sometimes is, but the foundation is always me, so I don’t ever
feel like I’m surprised by anything or not into it. So I think I am in a
good place creatively and i kind of want to maintain that for long as
possible.
I see from various tweets and updates that you are frustrated
that you are currently sitting on a lot of your music right now. Do you
find yourself tempted to make changes as they are still available to
you?

Tweaking is definitely something you can get engrossed in and lose
yourself in. I am quite keen on the idea that if I have something that’s
great and it stands well on its own, that I don’t touch it. I think if
you over-think things you don’t get the best result.
But yeah to an extent. I am working on great music I believe, and I
cant wait for people to hear it and get a true sense of myself. I think
the releases I’ve done are a great introduction to me, but at the same
time they are really a bridge to other work, and I think you will find a
more complex person than you’ve heard. It excites me that people
haven’t heard this material and I cant really wait to unleash it !
Have there been any comparisons made that you don’t think are fair or correct?
There hasn’t been anyone in particular, I don’t know if i should be
worried or not. Sometimes I get compared to Prince, which I understand
cos we sing in a high register. But I think stylistically and sonically I
am influenced by so many others things, so in that sense its not a fair
comparison to make. However, I respect whatever comparison is made to
me because in most cases these people are undoubtedly massive icons and
stars and If I am referenced to them early in my career then that’s
something to feel confident about. There are definitely worse people to
be compared to!
Are there any particular artists whose careers you’d admire in terms of what they’ve achieved and how they’ve done it?
Yes I think one in terms of specifically modern day is someone like
Kanye West, just in terms of his musical output over the years and the
fact that he has defined himself but also moved with the times – that is
important to me. His music has never been transient or anything, he’s
always been in his own lane but at the same time he has always been able
to sit comfortably or even above other artists that are out there. So
Kanye is someone I definitely look up to and would love to collaborate
with in the future, God willing.
Do you reach out to people on Twitter or send emails to people you’d like to work with?
Yea I definitely do that, most of the relationships I’ve had
creatively with people up until this point have happened from me knowing
that it is important getting on to these contacts early on. I take
advantage of the fact that communication is easier these days with
Twitter and Facebook and also the discovering of new people that are
exciting, that aren’t overground, and that I am able to get in – its
great. Even for instance the collaboration I have with Mr waltman at the
moment is through my own actions of finding new talent on Facebook and
Twitter and reaching out to them directly. Im not keen on the middle man
idea, but at the same time if someone is going to introduce me to
someone amazing I’m not going to say no to it. I try my best to find as
many people as possible.
I read that it took you a while to confess that you wanted to be a singer…
I think more than anything it was because the idea of becoming a
singer is a romantic one. In this day where there is far more
competition than there ever was it kind of took time. There were a lot
of moments in my life that lead to this point in terms of making the
decision, but slowly but surely I just realized that this is something I
wanted to do and achieve. It started about four years ago when I
started putting my music up online and what happened from there happened
quite quickly. At the same time I met loads of people as a result of
it. Haha I’ve forgotten what you actually asked….
Don’t worry you answered the question….
All I can say is there is a lot of music to go out and I hope I have
everyone’s attention up until this point, and I’ m sure you’ ll be
pleased in what comes out in the future.
Can people catch you live in the meantime?
You can see me live very soon. I have a gig on the 1st May at Madame Jojo’s and then on the 3rd at Notting Hill Arts Club, a night called Yoyo. So if anyone wants to see me those are the chances to do so.

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