Wonderland.

KAM-BU

The Nottingham-born artist brings his tongue-in-cheek to discuss his debut EP.

kam-bu

Checkered shirt by SONG FOR THE MUTE Mohair oversized black shirt by SONG FOR THE MUTE White goggle trousers by PRONOUNCE Beanie by CHARLES JEFFREY LOVERBOY Balaclava MODELS OWN Black loafers from CLOAKROOM ARCHIVE

kam-bu
Checkered shirt by SONG FOR THE MUTE Mohair oversized black shirt by SONG FOR THE MUTE White goggle trousers by PRONOUNCE Beanie by CHARLES JEFFREY LOVERBOY Balaclava MODELS OWN Black loafers from CLOAKROOM ARCHIVE

Taken from our Winter 21 issue, to order your copy click here

Born in Nottingham and raised in South West London, Kam-Bu’s hard-hitting lyrics take us on a socially-critical tour of his own adolescence. With his tongue-in-cheek, introspective bars igniting discussions around everything from Black culture and sustainability to London’s unresolved political issues, Kam-Bu’s listeners can enjoy an artist that has firmly found his corner in ‘community’ – and he fights for it well.

Continuing to enjoy the successes of his debut EP “Black on Black” – a ten-track tribute to the Windrush generation and introduction to his Drill-inflected sound— Kam-Bu ends 2021 in style as he picks up attention across the board. The ever-cheeky Kam-Bu discusses his breakout year with Wonderland…

Kam-Bu
Kam-Bu
Kam-Bu
Checkered shirt by SONG FOR THE MUTE Mohair oversized black shirt by SONG FOR THE MUTE White goggle trousers by PRONOUNCE Beanie by CHARLES JEFFREY LOVERBOY Balaclava MODELS OWN Black loafers from CLOAKROOM ARCHIVE
Kam-Bu

Ross Mondon Back at school and before your ascent in the music industry, what was Kam-Bu like? What was playing around your house that inspired your sound?
Kam-Bu Kam was a cheeky bright kid who knew too much for his own good [laughs]. He had to grow up fast, so I guess it goes hand in hand. My parents played different and similar things in their flats – lots of reggae, dancehall, R&B, hip-hop and rap. My siblings played a lot of garage, grime, house and new era dance music. I always had something new to take in.

RM Were you aware of your talent then?
KB No, I don’t think I was aware of my talent, but I was definitely a confident kid and that helps. I’ve always felt like I could do anything if I just put my all in.

RM Do you remember the first song you ever wrote?
KB Yeah, but I can’t remember the lyrics it’s on a USB somewhere… I need to find it [laughs].

RM Lyrically, you explore complex themes including politics, race, environmentalism and more in your music – partly influenced by your dad, who works in Community Outreach for Lambeth Council. How has your dad’s work inspired you and how important is music in raising awareness and fighting issues like these?
KB His work inspires me not only lyrically, but spiritually, as he’s been working within Lambeth for a number of years now – easily over a decade. I find that commendable, working within the community means making sure everyone has a voice and a voice should be heard. That’s how I feel about [raising these] topics in general, discussion is great for growth.

RM Looking at how you started and emerged onto the music scene with your debut single ‘Butterfly Kick’ to your debut EP “Black on Black”, how do you feel you’ve changed or matured as an artist?
KB There’s a formula for making music accessible for your listeners, and for a long time, I didn’t conform or really understand it in the way I do now. It’s not hard to make something catchy, but it’s hard to do it and bring yourself to that space. In terms of subject matter and sonics, over time I’ve just figured it out and found my niche, it’s a long journey, but I think everyone will be shocked and gassed by what I’ve got coming next. I can’t wait to get started on the next round of my projects.

RM Have you had any memorable praise from fans or idols alike about your debut EP and how it’s impacted them?
KB I don’t have many idols, but I do have successful friends whose opinions I hold close to my heart. It’s always great to hear their take on it. Also, the fans all the time, I really enjoy when someone takes the time out to send me a message. I always try and get back to all of them too. I will be having the worst days sometimes, and it completely lifts my mood – knowing someone heard my music and they fuck with it heavy and just let me know it’s great.

RM Could you tell us a bit more about the inspirations and the influences behind the EP and how it came together?
KB It’s a series of events at certain places and times in my life. Me attempting to give myself an intro to my listeners, about who I am and where I’m from – and how I see the world from here. Sonically over time, choosing the songs that would be on this tape was fairly easy. It’s the electronic, grime, wonky jazz aspect of the beats that dictated half and then the lyrics I wrote. Once I had a few, the directions were clear and I dived into that. That’s what I want my listeners to understand when I’m in a sound – that’s where I go. And I’ll try my best to execute different regions of the sound.

RM Finally, firmly cementing yourself as one to watch, what’s next for Kam-Bu and what do you hope to bring into 2022? Can we expect a debut album in the near future?
KB What’s next? WORLD DOMINATION! I mean, I wanna make great music and do great things, and that’s the plan, keep ya eyes peeled because there’s really no easing up any time soon! I hope I bring all the things I’ve learnt and remember myself in 2022. The debut album will come one day…

Kam-Bu
Kam-Bu
Checkered shirt by SONG FOR THE MUTE Mohair oversized black shirt by SONG FOR THE MUTE White goggle trousers by PRONOUNCE Beanie by CHARLES JEFFREY LOVERBOY Balaclava MODELS OWN Black loafers from CLOAKROOM ARCHIVE
Photography
Louis Bever
Fashion
Connor Gaffe Williams
Words
Ross Mondon
KAM-BU