Dec 19 2018

Santi Talks “Rapid Fire”, Musical Influence & More

There’s a calmness to Santi. He delivers his words gently in conversation. But there’s clear considered thought in exchanges where the music is concerned – necessarily so – because he’s deeply involved in the packaging of his art from the sound to the visuals. “Be yourself. Be free. Rage! Nobody has to get you or get what you’re doing if you know what makes you happy”, he says. The Nigerian’s musical influences are varied, and his sense of individualism shines through. From talking to him it’s easy to understand that he’s making what he likes as opposed to blindly following fashion. He talks “Rapid Fire”, fashion and favourite tracks in the lead up to a new project expected in Feb 2019. Check out the chat in full below.

PAYE: Yoo Santi, you good?

Santi: Yeah bro- I’m good, I’m good. How’s everything? 


PAYE: Not too bad, not too bad, not too bad… Congrats on the track [Rapid Fire]. My boy actually put me on to it not too long ago, and was like you need to hear this, you’ll like it.

Santi: Which one, Rapid Fire?


PAYE: Yeah, Rapid Fire. How did that single come about?

Santi: How did it come about? Well I think it’s the same way I make all my songs. I experiment a lot; I fuse stuff a lot. My producer made the beat for my friend so when i heard it I had to beg my friend to let me have it… like “bro, trust me… you’d kill this beat, but please just let me have it”, and he did. And then one day when I was just experimenting the song just came to life.


PAYE: And what about the features?

Santi: Well there’s this very close friend of mine who was telling me about this guy named Shane Eagles from South Africa; he’s this really dope rapper. She showed me his music and I heard it and thought “yeah, this guy’s dope”. She was like “why don’t you put him on the song?” and I was like “yeah, you know what, sure”. Then a couple of weeks later he sent his verse and the shit was fire.


PAYE: And Amaarae?

Santi: So at first it was just me and Shane but we felt there was something missing, and that’s where Amaarae came in. She’s from Ghana, pretty dope; I love her, and I love her music. She has one of the most unique voices around so I was like “OK, why not”. And then there’s my friend Tomi Agape – she has like two bars on the song. It’s just a compilation of energies; a mixture. 


PAYE: So on the point of energy, looking at the video it looks as if you and your bredrins are getting rid of all your frustrations, is there some deeper meaning there?

Santi: Yeah. Why I shot the video like that is cause I know with us – and you know, the kids back home – I have to show that we don’t have to conform. I’m not going to say “where I’m from or all that shit”, but basically back home if you’re not doing something in the ‘normal’ way you’re deemed a certain way or put in a certain category. We’re just saying with the video “fuck it, be yourself. Be free. Rage! Nobody has to get you or get what you’re doing if you know what makes you happy or you know where you’re going. Just stick to it, keep firing.”


PAYE: I hear you… So your sound, how would you describe it then?

Santi: I would say I combine all genres with an alternative twist. I guess what I’m saying now will make a lot more sense when you hear the album. When you hear it you’ll be like “OK, I get what Santi was saying”. I combine every single sound because growing up i was raised around Rap, a bit of Rock, a lot of Indie, a lot of Dancehall, a lot of Reggae. So it just all combines. I try and fuse it with me and my roots, what I’ve learn, and what I’ve studied. 


PAYE: You’ve named quite a few genres that you were raised on… what would be your top song pick be if you could only listen to like one song for the rest of your life?

Santi: Woah. One is tough, maybe two?


PAYE: Yeah calm, two…

Santi: Ok, it’d be “Lights Out” by Santi Gold… and, hmmm, it’s hard man. Probably “The Kids Don’t Stand a Chance” by Vampire Weekend. I think those two songs shaped me. I could hear them and never get tired of it. 


PAYE: So moving away from music, I noticed some of you guys are wearing the same ‘Severe Nature’ tee in the “Rapid Fire” video. Are you inspired by fashion yourself as well as music?

Santi: Yeah. There are certain brands that like my friends and family have so we show them in the videos cause it’s just a big part of us, you know?


PAYE: Yeah, yeah, makes sense… and the album you mentioned earlier, when can we expect that?

Santi: 1st of February, it’s very close.


PAYE: And do you reckon you’ll come to London?

Santi: Of course, I’m coming next month. I’ll be in London when I drop the album. 


PAYE: Cool, well listen we should catch up when you’re here, grab a drink or something.

Santi: For sure bro. 


PAYE: Alright Santi, thanks for taking the time out to chat. We’ll catch up when you’re in town.

Santi: Thank you so much, for sure man. Safe

Follow Santi @cruelsantino to hear more.

Words by Sidney Korboe

Sidney Korboe is PAYE's Style Editor. Follow him on Twitter @cornonthekorb