It’s been more than a while since I’ve posted anything; life stays getting in the way ! lol
Luckily, I’m back with another segment of Conversations With…
and I was able to sit down and get to know an artist that goes by the name of Kdeem ✨
Born in the South side of London, Kdeem started his musical journey in the ATL where he grew up as a young teenager. Forming together a music collective and releasing several EP’s independently, Kdeem’s latest release of ‘The Stardust Cafe’ series, is a Lo-Fi Trap album produced by the Canadian producer Alphonse Funz. With this being the first instalment, the concepts and themes all flung together in these series of projects will have been influenced by memories and experiences dating all the way back to 2011 when he moved across the ocean.
****WARNING: SOME EXPlICLIT CONTENT***
Rachel Camille: Hi everyone, greetings; I have another interview today with a talented artist by the name of Kdeem.
Kdeem: You’re too kind.
Rachel Camille: I hope you guys enjoy the interview; it’s gonna be laid back – chilled. I have a series of questions that I’m gonna ask you .You ready?
Rachel Camille: Why music? How did you get into music and why is music the form of art through which you choose to express yourself?
Kdeem: I haven’t been asked that in so long believe it or not. Music was never my original dream. It actually only came to me when I moved to America with my Mum at the age of eleven. She studied music. She was part of a jazz band at Spelman College in Atlanta and from there I used to go in with her to college sometimes, and used to fuck around with the.. Can I say fuck?
Rachel Camille: It’s alright *laughs*
Kdeem: I used to mess around with all the software they had on the computers there, before you knew it, I was making beats. so that’s where it started there; it’s inspiration from my mum, cos I was never…
Rachel Camille: Musically inclined
Kdeem: Yeah, in a sense yeah, but I was never counting on music to be ..what gets me going.
Rachel Camille: Interesting..So what genre would you class your creations as?
Kdeem: Alternative Hip-Hop. Alternative comes from everything else that goes into my head before I put it back out in my music. Hip-hop because you know, all the beats, and I’m a negro at the end of the day – nah I’m joking. But nah, Hip-Hop is always the love, and Alternative Music is what grasped me into wanting to do it for myself, so I put two together.
Rachel Camille: So as of late, you’ve released two singles from your upcoming project The Stardust Café series, and it’s a series, isn’t it?
Kdeem: It is a series. and I’ve had to just shorten it because every project i drop, I don’t want people reading out a blog for the name of my tape. So yeah, The Stardust Cafe, but there’ll be many more projects this year towards The Stardust Cafe.
Rachel Camille: And can you tell me a bit more about the project and the inspiration behind it.
Kdeem: Yeah, The Stardust Cafe is a location in my mind. I like to refer to it as somewhere I go and make my music. So each project will be a different genre; it will show a different side to my creativity with music. The first project is trap beats.
Rachel Camille: *whispers* It’s really good.
Kdeem: *laughs* It’s called ‘The A Ring Whilst Intoxicated‘ . So literally, the ‘whilst intoxicated’, that’s the only part that really matters with the project, because it will show my thoughts and feelings towards subjects whilst I’ve been in that state of mind.
Rachel Camille: My favourite song is ‘Fear’. It’s really catchy; so what was the process like creating that song and the inspiration behind that one specifically?
Kdeem: Well ‘Fear’ is the intro, so everyone listening to this project, that will be the first song that they hear. And Fear was the biggest note to myself, it spoke about wanting to go forward with this music but at the same time knowing I can’t go forward with fear. I also feel it’s something that also a lot of other artists – not even just artists; people in general – allow fear to hold them back from doing what they really wanna do, and it’s not practical. So yeah, that’s the first song.
Rachel Camille: You have a lot of material as an artist, like : The In Limbo Trilogy, Faded EP. In my opinion, it’s like you’re a machine, you’re just able to spit bars and have lots of stuff. How are you able to create so much and in such a short space of time it seems
Kdeem: I think I’m always able to create because I’m always doing something. I’m always travelling somewhere, I’m always meeting someone new. I take inspiration from all of those things – from new places, from new people. As long as I surround myself with new things, there’s always something new to create; that’s how I’ve always seen it. But we’ll see what happens this year though because I’m not in uni anymore, I’m not doing this, doing that. I’ve slowed down and literally just put myself away, so we’ll see where I source my inspiration from. But usually it’s just due to everything around me; I’m always active so I’m always sourcing inspiration from anything that I’m around.
Rachel Camille: Your music has various themes; for example, smoking, being faded and sex. And you’re very open and direct about things of a sexual nature. Is there a particular reason that you choose to focus on these themes in your work?
Kdeem: Because not enough people do; we’re humans. I see it as, you know, music is for your thoughts to go on top of beats. And I’m a very… how do I put this out here without making me sound like a slut?
Rachel Camille: Too late! *laughs*
Kdeem: I take pride in my sexual energy. And I also feel that people take pride in hearing about other people’s sexual experiences. We can all relate to sex. Sexual energy is one of the most used energies, if not the most used energy on the planet.
Rachel Camille: And powerful.
Kdeem: You know what I mean. So when you speak about it, I like to speak about it and put it into the context of…ok it’s not just a thing that you use and then dismiss of. It can be used for art; like you said it’s powerful. I like to press on these subjects that not many people want to speak on openly , but we should.
Rachel Camille: Cos you’re very raw; you don’t beat around the bush either.
Kdeem: I’m a painter in a different life, really and truly. So this is the way I can paint; I use it with words.
Rachel Camille: I hear that. When creating, what comes first for you, the lyrics or the beat?
Kdeem: mm usually the beat. Usually I hear the beat first… I’m a very.. not odd..but I like to hear the beat first and whatever the producer or whatever the title is for the beat already, I’ll base my song off of that title – I won’t change it. Unless I’ve made the beat where I put the name on it and I run with that topic, I don’t change titles. So most of the things I’ve released, the topic has been decided for me already.
Rachel Camille: Interesting! See I thought all your stuff was “I wanna write a song or flow about xyz”
Kdeem: I hear it and I write to it there and then and that’s how it goes.
Rachel Camille: So you’re part of a collective – a collective that you founded – The Driftters. What are you guys about and why did you decide to start a collective?
Kdeem: I started a collective to bring together like minded artists to promote change. Everyone on the collective, like myself, is not traditional. I want the collective to be the stage in which we all can project our thoughts and non-traditonalness onto basically. I’ve always wanted a record label. This will be a record label, in time. It’s a collective for now; a collective of artists that I trust and that I love, so it will be a music label for other artists to do the same. It will be a stage for people… a platform for people to do the same in the future. That’s what the Driftters music stands for.
Rachel Camille: Can you tell me briefly about each of the members that you have?
Kdeem: Of course. At the moment there are three other members. So we have a guy called Axron. He will be one of my best friends that has helped me stay motivated with this music. There’s been times where I’ve just wanted to pack up everything and he’ll just be like “nah, you know what you need to do”. And he would make more of the Lo-Fi trap stuff.
Rachel Camille What’s Lo-Fi trap?
Kdeem: Lo-Fi is what you can listen to before you go to sleep. Lo-Fi is the music that doesn’t have too much on it. It’s simple.
Rachel Camille: It’s not turn up.
Kdeem: Not turn up – it’s the chilled stuff. But I say trap because you have the 808’s, you have the hi-hats and you have your catchy choruses and stuff like that. So I put the two together and call it Lo-Fi trap. I have another artist named ShamShadow. He is more of the cameraman but he is an incredible lyricist. He’s the storyteller of the group. He’s the Old School Boom-Bap guy of the group. Those J-Dilla, 9th Wonder type beats; he thrives off those. And then the last guy, Nero J is our turn up rapper. The Ghanaian kid – I really want him to start doing Afrobeats cha – but yeah he’s the Ghanaian kid man, and he is the source of good vibes. There’s never a bad day with Nero, never, if you’re in a bad mood, or lack of inspiration, he’s always there.
Rachel Camille: He always looks happy.
Kdeem: Always smiling, never a bad day, never a bad day. So yeah that’s us for now. There’s just four of us at the moment.
Rachel Camille: You’ve kind of touched on it already, but what’s the ultimate vision for you and The Driftters? So obivously you said you want it to be a record label.
Kdeem: Yeah, I want Driftters music to be a record label. The ultimate vision for me is something that chops and changes everyday these days. Ultimately, I wanna be in a position where I can put other people on a platform that can be heard by the world. But to get there, I need to do that for myself. So the ultimate vision for me is to be heard by thousands yo. I’m not someone that marks down ‘xyz’ by this time, which I need to do, but at the same time..
Rachel Camille: Go with the flow sometimes..
Kdeem: Yeah Sometimes. But the end goals for me are to have a strong strong fanbase and to influence change throughout this music industry. Throughout the stories I tell, the morals I’m incorporating onto these songs. It’s really just to change shit. That is literally my biggest aim, to change. To bring vibes and to bring change.
Rachel Camille: What difficulties do you face being an independent artist?
Kdeem: Self-doubt is the first one.
Rachel Camille: Boy oh boy. Self-doubt is a killer yo!
Kdeem: Self doubt is the first one. Another big issue…is..my personal big issue was utilising my time correctly. I could make an EP in three days, and then spend a week doing nothing towards promoting it. I’ve spent four years making music, and I could’ve spent that four years spreading my music completely differently. Spending 200/£300 here on a holiday where that could’ve been a package for someone for press release. The biggest thing though, is making sure you have an income. Of course, yeah, you make good music and you know the right people and bang, something can happen. But for those that doesn’t happen to – which is everybody else – you need to have money to do what you’re tryna do.
Rachel Camille: From you don’t have a big record label sourcing you, you have to do it out of your own pocket.
Kdeem: You have to. You have to. And whether that’s merchandise, getting your own clothes, or doing shows and selling your own tickets, you need to have an income. Whether that’s retail – 9 to 5, 5 days a week – you need to make sure you’re funding the dream cos it won’t fund itself. So that’s three of the biggest issues for me.
Rachel Camille: What do you love about being an independent artist?
Kdeem: That I can do and make whatever the fuck I want. *laughs*. There’s a music video that I put up a few months ago and there was a lady named Romy in the collective. I had to source it through her first because it was a nude video in essence. And I’ve always made and done and posted whatever I want, whenever I wanted it. But when I started bringing people in , started sourcing it to different people, I had to appreciate that everyone’s gonna have a different input on what I have to say. But being independent, it allows you to do what you want, when you want really. It can be a good and bad thing, because if you haven’t got someone onto you with deadlines, then you slack. If you’re disciplined then it helps. But if I wasn’t independent, I’m sure there would’ve been xyz things that I couldn’t have put in that video, that I want to put in videos.
Rachel Camille: Of course. Even just having the creative freedom to just write whatever you wanna write, however you wanna write it.
Kdeem: And you haven’t got a boss. I think that’s everyone’s dream; to be able to be successful without a boss.
Rachel Camille: Would you ever consider signing to a label before making The Driftters a thing?
Kdeem: 100%. It only hit me last year. Up until last year I was like “these labels, they just wanna teef your money”. Nah. Its not the case really and truly. Obviously there are pros and cons to signing a contract. Those pros are the only reason I’d do it for. I understand that on a bigger platform, I’m able to source myself, I’m able to plug myself with that platform. But you know, you have to be given that platform.
Rachel Camille: Moving onto the vinyl element, do you have any records or do you have any memories associated with records/vinyl?
Kdeem: My mum used to have vinyl but not a lot. She went swiftly from vinyl, to cassette tape, to CD. To be honest, the only memories I have with vinyls, are the ones that probably mark the reason I’m making music; it’s the old school reggae records. My grandparents, always, from childhood memories, always always had a record playing.
Rachel Camille: Mine too. You couldn’t touch it though.
Kdeem: That’s literally what I was about to say – you couldn’t touch it.
Rachel Camille: You just had to look at it in the cabinet *laughs*
Kdeem: Those vibes that I can still feel now is solely the reason I’m making music. Cos those vibes stay with you forever. And those are the only times I’ve actually had to appreciate music on record. So I’d have to say the old school reggae records.
Rachel Camille: Name your top 5 favourite artists. And you can take time to think about it cos that’s like such a difficult decision. I don’t even ask myself that question.
Kdeem: Top 5 favourite artists… not anyone in the collective?
Rachel Camille: umm anybody…
Kdeem: You know what.. the collective, I won’t even say anyone cos someone is gonna be upset.
Rachel Camille: Don’t start no beef! *laughs*
Kdeem: I won’t. Um Kendrick Lamar is … this isn’t in any order… Coldplay. Pharrell Williams. King Krule a.k.a Archy Marshall and the last one…it would probably have to be a female… Erykah Badu.
Rachel Camille: Yasss Mother Erykah.
Kdeem: I skipped Jill Scott, I skipped Lauryn Hill, I skipped Tinashe. It has to be Erykah simply because of the vibes she flows over.
Rachel Camille: I agree. I’ll pick Erykah over everybody most of the time.
Kdeem: Rass ok. I skipped SZA. Like I was gonna put SZA there because she’s more relevant to me recently. Erykah’s more ‘why’ I’m doing it. SZA is ‘where’ I wanna be doing it. Put me on a record with SZA and that’s my life mate.
Rachel Camille: Everybody loves her.
Kdeem: It’s the older shit. The Ice Moon and the Castles and S.Z.A Tapes. Those tapes.
Rachel Camille: That’s the thing, a lot of her like proper hardcore fans, they like the old SZA.
Kdeem: This is what I’m excited for. Cos all the stuff now whilst you’re on the come up , those are the things that people will cherish.
Rachel Camille: So if you didn’t do music or if you didn’t decide to dedicate yourself wholeheartedly to it, what would you be doing? In an alternate universe…
Kdeem: Photography and filming. I’d be shooting movies and taking photos of everything, and everyone and nothing at the same time. I almost did, when I had my self-doubt issues, I bought cameras, I done this and that and I shot videos and I done photoshoots. Like I almost did convert. But nah, like you said that’s another reality.
Rachel Camille: But I think that even with you as an artist and your music videos, you still kind of incorporate your love of photography and film into it. You haven’t completely abandoned it which is cool . Um oh my gosh we’re pretty much on the last question.
Kdeem: Do it again, this was cool, give me some more questions cuz *laughs*
Rachel Camille: Alright, listen to this one. So the 4vinylLoverz motto is ‘Yesterday’s Memories in Today’s Music’. What memories do you want to create within your listeners and what messages do you want to leave behind?
Kdeem: What memories do I want to create? Wow. That is awesome. I want to create…how specific can I be ?
Rachel Camille: You can be as specific, as vague as whatever you want because it’s an open ended question.
Kdeem: Ok. I want to create memories where it’s pure bliss. I wanna be the background music to when everything is fine. And that’s never really the case but when you do have that one moment in your day where you feel like everything is cool, I wanna be one of the first artists, if not THE first artist you think of to play because of the vibes I create. The messages that I wanna send is , I wanna encourage everyone to be themselves. I feel like if we all took off our masks that we wear everyday, we will literally only be able to attract people that are genuinely attracted to who we truly are, as opposed to what we show people. I want my messages to encourage people to be brave. To take risks. To be in love rather than running away from love and dismissing it and abusing love and abusing people and feelings. I want people to be in tune with how they feel. Like, it’s not encouraged in our society enough to be in tune with how you feel. Feelings are incorporated with weakness. I wanna change that. I wanna bring people together man…that memory question, the first part of this question , I feel like that could go on for ages.
Rachel Camille: It really could *laughs* That’s why I ask it. All of my artists will be getting that question, so think about it.
Kdeem: Think about it. You don’t wanna be on the spot with that one.
Rachel Camille: Yeah, I dunno, I feel like , as musicians, as creative people, I think there’s a …what’s the word…there’s a certain… responsibility that you guys’ have because you do have the ability to create memories for other people and send a certain message. So that’s why I ask artists that question. So that even once this interview is done, you’re always gonna remember that. Every time you create, ‘what is it that I’m tryna put into this song’? You feel me?
Kdeem: 100%. I’m glad you asked me that.
Rachel Melton: Think about it some more… Ok, so how can people follow you? What are your social media handles, and how can people support the vibe? Name all of it
Kdeem: So basically, in autumn, there’s a cloud that appears…nah I’m joking *laughs*. I couldn’t help it. Right, what do I start with? Twitter. Twitter is Kdeem17. Soundcloud is soundcloud\kdeem. I’m gonna be on all streaming services by the time everyone sees this. I’m not used to that. So you can just type in Kdeem and I will pop up on Apple Music, Spotify, Tidal…Instagram is Kdeem17… I’m not really good at this am I ?
Rachel Camille: *laughs*
Kdeem: I don’t want people to have my snapchat. Twitter , Instagram those are the main things nah?
Rachel Camille: Yeah , pretty much… Apple Music?
Kdeem: Yeah, Kdeem17. Yeah the easiest way. Hit me up man, I’m a friendly guy. I don’t bite. And that’s about it.
Rachel Camille: That’s about it! Oh my gosh we’re finished! Ok, thanks for listening everyone, take care.
Kdeem: Love! Peace!
Follow The Driftters✨
The Driftters Twitter: @thedrifttersco
The Driftters Instagram: @thedrifttersco
The Driftters Soundcloud: https://soundcloud.com/thedriftterscollective
Axron Twitter: @AXRON___
Axron Instagram: @axron____
Axron Soundcloud: https://soundcloud.com/axxron
Sham Twitter: @ShamTwitch
Sham Insta: @shamellehd
Sham Soundcloud: https://soundcloud.com/sham_shadow