New Noise: Capo Lee

“Why Not” go ahead and bask in some wavey tunes from North London, workaholic MC, Capo Lee.

Hailing from North London and growing up in a music-centric family, Capo Lee has music flowing through his veins. At the young age of 16, Capo was already mixing on vinyls and DJing on AX Fm, alongside DJ Scope. His cousin then played him a Nasty Crew tape, giving him his first taste of grime, and Capo was hooked. Starting to explore grime, Capo became influenced by artists like Mac 10, Nasty Crew and Begg, and started to dabble in mixing grime music. Once he had conquered behind the decks, he made his way to the front of the stage: as an MC.

Capo has a long list of successful tracks to his name, including his first single “Ain’t The Same” up to his latest single “MUD”, which was released on RINSE’s label. He’s also performed alongside many big names such as DJ Logan, Sama, Chip, Jammer, P Money (deep breath) and many more that would take way too long to name. And Capo only goes up from there – constantly adding to that ever growing list of big names. He even managed to link up with his favourite MC/dream-come-true collaborator, D Double E. Not only that, but he also worked with Spooky on a joint EP titled “Welcome to Clartsville”, and with Sir Spyro on the “Why Not?” mixtape that dropped earlier this year.

The mixtape aims to be a fresh splash in the mundane pool of music, featuring appearances from a ton of different artists. Speaking about “Why Not” Part 1, Capo says, “I wanted to do something different, get artists and producers working together that may not have had the chance, I think it’s important that new artists work together and keep things fresh and unpredictable”. The mixtape was even accompanied by a documentary to add to the overall experience.

With the success of the mixtape, Capo realised that Sir Spyro and himself actually make a great team, and as a result, the two have become frequent collaborators. Giving the people what they want, they joined forces again to create the powerful follow-up mixtape, “Why Not Part 2”, which sees the return of many of the same artists as its predecessor. Capo also worked with Beats By Dre and Red Bull Studios to create the 10-track EP in 10 hours. Now that’s dedication. Taking full advantage of their magical partnership, the two are currently working together on Capo’s new EP, coming soon.

We managed to pry Capo Lee away from his work for a bit, asking him everything from his dream collab with Nas and Ellie Goulding, to what we can expect from the new mixtape.

Describe your music to us in 5 separate words?

Unique, catchy, honest, thoughtful and exciting.

What kind of tracks can we expect from ‘Why Not Part 2’?

These tracks are more song based, although there is a few freestyles, I wanted the songs to have a chorus, I also wanted the tracks to all have different vibes, to show the listeners that we can perform and have the same impact on any style of beat. Not only that, I also wanted keep the listeners interested by surprising them with different sounds.

What’s your favourite track off the mixtape?

Too many good tracks to mention, I’ve got a tune on there called ‘feelings’, featuring me, Nico Lindsay and P money. But also another track with me and P money called ‘very mad’, but also a freestyle from Saint called ‘oh my freestyle’, those would be my top three. A very difficult decision.

How did you decide to go into music? Was it always part of your plan?

I have always done music on and off, like as a kid I used to be a DJ, so I saved up money and bought decks. We used to go on a radio station called ‘axefm’ when were younger and the manager was a guy called Pabs, and he taught up a lot of things about music he was more like our mentor growing up, and he always told me I was good with lyrics, and last year he suddenly passed away, and it was at that point that I said I listen to him and give it a proper go. RIP Pabs.

Talk us through your creative process when creating new music? Do you come up with lyrics first, or a beat…?

I like to sit down with the producer and write lyrics while he is making the beat, I’ve realised the times I have done this, the tune came out a lot better. I tend to work on the choruses first and then base the tune around that, which tends to help the song have a subject matter, I think that’s important.

Who would be a dream collaborator that you’d love to work with?

I listen to so much different music outside of grime too it’s hard to say, if you would of asked me a year ago I would of said D double E because he was one of my favourite MC, but I ended up doing a track with him. I would like to get Nas on a grime beat, I think that would be cool, or even get Calvin Harris to produce a grime track. I also like Ellie Goulding I think she is really talented too.

Who are your biggest musical influences?

I remember growing I used to tape all the pirate radio tape sets of nasty crew, roll deep. I was highly influenced by Wiley, I always thought he had amazing work rate, if you check he’s backlog he’s got so many projects out there, vocal and instrumentals. I always said if I was the position I am in now, my work rate would be similar to his, just keep firing. So I would definitely say Wiley had a big influence.

Can you tell us a little bit about your upcoming EP, produced by Sir Spyro?

The EP with Spyro, we had done a few songs together, and a lot of people said we had good chemistry on tracks. So i called him and said have you ever done a solo project with an MC, let’s give it a go, and we just started working on some stuff and it worked out really good. I’m excited for everyone to hear it.

What’s your favourite thing about the London music scene? Anything you dislike about it?

The London music scene is very healthy, one thing I do like is that there is equal opportunity, everyone has a chance to be heard and follow their dreams. There not only one main guy everyone gets to shine individually which I think is important. I like the rave scene too, performing in London is always a bonus.

What are your plans for the future?

After the why not Mixtape, the EP with Spyro will follow shortly after with some videos. If you know me you know I never stop working, so I could potentially have the project after that finished as well but we will have to wait and see. Expect to also see me on a lot motor shows to in London and around the country.

Mariah Rosslee
New Noise: Capo Lee

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