Interview: Theodor Black



What made you want to get into music?
Music is a cool way to express yourself and who you are as a person which I think is amazing. As a kid I was never fully able to express myself, it is something that I struggled with greatly. So whenever I felt some sort of fucked up emotion the best I could do was just cope with it, but then I started writing and producing. Ever since I was young I’ve always been a good writer, I was really into poetry and English so I feel that it’s something that came naturally to me

You are part of the Reservoir collective, how important are collectives and what does Reservoir mean to you?
Collectives I feel are an important part of rap now-a-days, more so than the individuals within them. There’s so many new collective popping up all over the place it’s so sick, I think it makes for more interesting music. When you’re in a group of likeminded people ideas just bounce from person to person and that’s how you create something amazing. Collectives create more independence within your music as well; in a collective you can have rappers, producers, singers and artists, with like actual paint and Shit.
Reservoir is life init (haha) I’ve got 555 tatted on my upper lip

What other collectives and artists are feeling right now?
I’ve been really feeling DanielOG recently and the Neverland clan lot. I’ve also been fucking with House of Pharoahs along with Lava La Rue and her collective ‘nine8’. Much love to them man over there. There’s loads of artist I could name-drop right now but I’d be here all day.

Go on, tells us something weird about yourself?
I’m a part time nudist, but I try not to let that interfere with my music too much.

What is your creative process like?
My creative process is a bit weird. Before I even start writing or producing for a project I have to visualise what I want the project to represent and how I want it to be presented. I’ll spend months just imagining what I want it to sound like and feel like. I try to imagine what the project would sound like finished before I even start working on it. Once that’s done I start writing, I write all my lyrics in the form of a poem and then when I hear the perfect instrumental I’ll adjust it to make it into a song. Ideas usually just come to me at the most random moments like at school, on the bus or at work or some shit. Last summer I was working in an ice cream van, and I remember I just started coming up with the sickest bars in my head so I took the nearest pen and started scribbling them down on a napkin. I think I’ve got it tucked in a notebook somewhere at home

Can you tell us about some of your main inspirations?
My biggest inspiration has got to be my man Archy Marshall. He’s the reason why I decided to start Perusing music properly. I saw that he came from a similar situation as me, a working class home in south east London. It made me think that if he could do it then why can’t I. After my first encounter with his music I started taking mine more seriously. Other big influences for me are Nas, Doom, Badu, Art Tatum, Sweaty, Madlib, Floyd and all those big cats from here and across the pond. Oh, I forgot to mention Andre 3 bags, if you know you know.

Coming from London, what inspires you most about the big city, and also what do you hate?
Everyone close to me has definitely heard me say that I have a love and hate relationship with This place. It’s a unique city for sure. It inspires me in the funniest ways, I’d be walking down the street and see something unusual in the simplest things and just gain inspiration from that. So many different sounds arise from the city, at night you hear the police sirens and empty chatter of cars in the distance, the city has a very subtle sound it’s loud but quiet. I love the way it sounds to me man, like literally, when it’s late just go stand outside and just listen. But as I said it’s a love hate relationship, London can be a bitch man and it’s getting more expensive, there’s yuppies in Deptford and my ends are so fucked now, all the local boozers are closing down and there’s a lot of under privileged families moving. Next to my friend’s estate in there’s a costa now and all the local business are having to close down and Fredo’s cost 25p it’s a joke. I also noticed how anti-social this city makes you, I’ll be sitting on the tube and everyone is staring at their phones and nobody’s talking to each other or even sitting next to each other. It’s like London makes you scared of everyone one else and there’s such a limitation in human interaction here man. It’s quite sad that there are so many people in the city yet you can feel so alone.


Your artwork is often striking, are visuals important in accompanying your musical vision?
Visuals are very important to me. It’s the first thing people see when they look at your work, it’s through this that people will decide to give you a listen or not. I put a lot of effort into the way my work looks whether that be music videos or the artwork of its self. I sometimes like to paint so I pay a lot of attention to colour and the layout. Usually Max Turrent handles the artwork of everyone in Reservoir, and we’d work closely with him so the cover art comes out the way we want, he’s super talented man. But I’ve been doing a lot of independent artwork recently, especially for my EP, most of it hasn’t been released yet but that’ll come soon tho!!

What is the message behind the new EP?
I’ve always been fond of the way people converse with one another, and what they talk about. Conversations are a beautiful thing man especially when you engage in one with somebody who is on similar levels as you. A conversation can lead to you meeting your best friend, your lover, mistress and hell, even your enemies man. I wanted to release a project that would represents me in the most crudest form and the things that I stand for, I like for my work to have some sort of significance. The project is an insight into my inclined youth, an exploration of all the moments and events that have shaped me, all presented to ear through intimate phone calls. Phones calls are such personal things, I feel that by painting my experiences through them it gives people more of an idea of who I am as an artist and as a person. It’s like the forbidden fruit you know, listening in on a person’s phone conversations is the biggest intrusion of privacy, but when it’s allowed you develop a familiarity with the voices you’re hearing and you connect with more than just the music, but also the characters interweaved in it. Experience is a key word here man, I want people to look at my experiences along with my music and feel that they can relate to what I’m saying, which I hope a lot of people will be able to do.


What events/ shows have you got coming up?
Nothing on the calendars just yet man, but there’s definitely gonna be a lot going on this year, I’m working on it believe me.

In the year 2016 with all the madness that has happened, would you say it inspires you to make better art to reflect the times?
It has definitely been a madness for sure man. I’ve just turned 18 so I’m still at that slight level of naivety where I tend to zone out and not give a fuck about what’s going on around me, like don’t get me wrong, I am more than aware of what’s happening but on a global scale it’s something I haven’t really paid much attention to which is a bad thing. I try to make my art a reflection of my situations and where I come from, it’s a self-centred way of doing things but I’m trying to change that. I believe that’ll come with age and more experience and more travel. I remember Kendrick asking how much is a dollar really worth; I wanna do that with sterling’s.

Tells us one thing you would change about the world?
I’d change the way we view race and colour. People wouldn’t see colour they’d just see other people, there’d be more unity and less division amongst beings.


interview by Ayo Fagbemi

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