Soundcloud: Mal London
You started out as a producer but switched over to representing yourself as an artist after being “frustrated with the role of being a producer.” Can you elaborate and tell me exactly what made you frustrated and what sparked the change?
The parts of producing that really frustrated me was the cycle that all producers go through. You make some hot shit, you sit on it, you begin thinking of the different artists you’d want on it (dream collabs most of the times), you send it to the different local artists you know, and from then on you wait… A lot of artists will say “oh that’s dope, lemme mess with it” or something like that and that used to always put me in a place of unknown because you never really get a complete commitment until the artist wants to buy it.
I realized how much I love being in control of my music and having to wait for a record that may or may not even be what I was hoping for really pushed me to the edge.
I also heard different melodies or flow patterns over my beats and once I gained the confidence to do it, there was really no turning back.
Having really been introduced to hip-hop only in your teens, who were some artists that you first got hooked on?
I would say I really began studying hip-hop during my teens rather than being introduced. My brother and my neighbors, who were older than me, always plugged me with the music growing up. But once I got to my teens, I really began searching for these different artists. The first album that really shaped me was 808s & Heartbreak. That album struck my emotions without even being old enough to truly understand everything during that time. Then after that was N.E.R.D’s Seeing Sounds album. Like for real! That album was the dopest shit ever. My homie and I would literally bump that every day while we played some 2k or something. Then after that, it was Lil Wayne’s No Ceiling. And we all know why…
Who do you look up to in the music game currently?
Pharrell, Kanye, Kendrick, Erykah, Wayne, Curren$y, Tyler, Cudi, Flying Lotus, Robert Glasper, Drake, J. Cole.
When you begin to craft a new song/beat, do you think of what a group of people will think or just one person in particular?
I definitely think about others to an extent but honestly I really just make stuff I’d like to listen to. Not really the type to make something for this group of people or that person. I make what I’d want to hear if I turned on the radio.
Having grown up listening to “gospel, funk, jazz, r&b, & blues” do you think this plays an important part in your music now?
Yes, it plays a huge role, consciously and subconsciously. It’s truly the foundation of the type of music I make. It’s really something that just comes naturally. It’s not something I pre-meditated.
I can say I’m very grateful to have parents and role models in my life that installed great music within me.
Tell me about your upcoming project Stuck Here In Isolation. What will the tape have/show that your past singles haven’t?
Stuck Here In Isolation represents where I am in my life at this moment. I was able to capture myself in the recording process and realize how isolated I am from the world. While creating this project, I really stuck to myself. I didn’t really listen to a lot music that came out in the past 4-6 months, I didn’t hang out with my friends, I wasn’t returning phone calls or text messages from family, I was really just embodying the music I was creating. I then put all my problems in perspective and instead of feeling like all my problems are solely because of others, I really put myself in the spotlight and questioned things I could be doing. So nonetheless, this is a very personal project that truly reflects the times now. This very well ties together with the sonics of the project. Being that I produced most of the project (with co-production coming from local producers Zaysims & Slyvan), and I recorded, mixed and mastered it also, I was really able to carve my perspective within this project. You’ll hear a lot of unanswered questions. I’m somebody who questions everything & mostly the things that I’m doing.
this project provides a lot of questions and maybe not a lot of answers, but for me that’s the fuel for the art that I create.
It’s the friction between known and unknown that really inspires me. Stuck Here In Isolation is truly that. Do I love being isolated creating all these sounds or am I scared of what the other side may hold?… I don’t know.
Stream Mal’s first release from his project below.