SW4 2020: Catching up with Krept x Konan

Krept and Konan have been having an unbelievable few months - taking over the UK's soundwaves with a phenomenal new album and taking over the O2 Arena for a giant showcase spectacular. This summer the hip hop duo will be headlining Day Two of South West Four's London-centric festivities, and to celebrate the occasion we caught up with Krept and Konan for a quick catch up, where we discussed London, their creative process and some crazy festival stories...

Guys - firstly thank you very much for your time and for being a part of SW4 this year. Our tag line for this year's festival is ‘Celebrating London's music and culture’. I just wanted to ask; What does London mean to you?

Krept: What London means to me is; it's our home - where we learnt our values where we learnt our mistakes, where we elevated from those mistakes. It’s the place that we call home and what shaped the people you see today as Krept & Konan.

What is your favourite thing about the city and its culture?

Konan: My favourite thing about London is the diversity, I feel like you grow up meeting different cultures, different people, everybody getting along and just learning about new things, man. I feel like we’ve been around the world and I don’t think nothing compares to the City of London. We’ve been to a lot of cities but in terms of the atmosphere the up-beatness like you can… Anyday you can go out in London and there's something to do, I feel like that really shows a lot about the people and how excited we are and how fun we are as a community, so, yeah.

Where was your first show in London? Can you describe how the atmosphere was and how it's developed over time?

Krept: First show in London was in a club in London Bridge. That was just a party and the atmosphere in there was quite hostile - people wasn’t familiar with our music like that, they might of heard our names about but they wasn’t familiar with our music or excited to hear our music. It was kind of a 'it is what it is' situation for them - "we’re at a party, these guys are performing, we’re just gonna watch, whatever they have to say we’re gonna watch" - and in comparison to y’know, going from there to where we are now, there’s a big difference cause people actually pay to see us now which is a bit different than people going somewhere and you just happen to be on the lineup.

How was the 02? Couple of our team were there and said it was incredible...

Konan: The O2 show man - it was crazy. Like, the fact that we had even done the O2 Arena - headlined it ourselves - we're still getting to grips with that. Its still a big thing to us like you come up from where we’ve come from, going through the stages we’ve been through. We started off at the Islington Academy, to Shepard’s Bush, to Brixton, to Ally Pally and then tp actually getting the O2 Arena. That’s like the last stage - like when you’re playing Street Fighter, there’s the final boss - and that’s the final boss for us. We’ve come out there before with Drake, but we were special guests. We’ve come out and done other shows there like…

Krept: ...supported Tinie Tempah

Konan: Yeah! So for us to headline it now is crazy, man. Like, we were back stage at O2 Areana, our mums were there smiling, big grins on their faces – our friends... Y’know what I’m saying? So, its been a journey man. I feel like we need to just continue to keep going, hopefully we can make it to the stadiums and then we’ll be having another conversation with you lot.

Krept: Yeah man, the show was incredible man – loved every minute of it. I feel like the feedback we got from it was that as well. People, our fans love us for our performances, they know we give 110% when it comes to performances, we don’t really pay no games when it comes to the live show. Yeah, that was reciprocated from the fans and the love that we got from the show.

Do you have any pre-show rituals?

Konan: Pre-show rituals…

Krept: We don’t yknow, like…

Konan: Not really...

Krept: This time we done a little huddle and was like ‘Lets get it’, but usually we’re just in our dressing rooms telling everybody to get out.

Konan: Yeah, to be fair yeah we’re always trying to still do the show before the show starts, so we don’t really have time for a ritual – like we were rehearsing what we were gonna do with Michael Dapper, we had our team still working on visuals, just as people are coming in the building. So yeah, its never really a ritual. We’re always scrambling and tryna get perfect and it's like ‘what’s going on here’! It’s always mayhem just before the show so, I feel like that’s our ritual – mayhem.

The album has been getting incredible reviews, how do you go about the writing process? Do you have theme in mind with a collection of ideas or is it a case of locking yourself in the studio and letting it flow?

Konan: I feel like when we’re making an album, we just go in and go with the flow and then the theme kinda pops up halfway through - shows its face and says "yeah, this is what you lot need to be doing". So it’s a mixture of both theme and flow, but it starts off as flow. I don’t feel like we've gone in there and said ‘this is what its about’ and then we start it, I feel like it just happens; like the producer sends us beats, whatever the mood is we just go with that and then the mood we start steering towards becomes the theme of it, so that’s the writing process. Sometimes you work, sometimes your write in the studio, sometimes you get mind block and you just need to separate yourself and go write in your car or write in the bathroom or write in your house or drive around, so it just depends what the scenario is, what the beat is and what the message you’re trying to put across, which really is the thought process of making a song.

What other genres do you get inspiration from, when making your own music?

Krept: If you listen to our music, y’know – you will hear a lot of like Caribbean influence, cause that’s where we’re from, that’s our home, that’s where, y’know... Konan’s Dad is a legend in Jamaica for reggae music and that’s just something that’s 'in our blood' - if you wanna put it that way - so you hear a lot of Caribbean influence. Yeah, also obviously Grime is an influence, we’re known for our rapping but we’re also known for us being able to do both, so on every project you’ll hear us on 140 BPM Grime, as well as the slow rap, heart felt stuff. I wouldn’t say we’re pin pointed to one kind of sound. We’re really universal when it comes to music and we’ve got an open ear when it comes to music. We listen to Kings Of Leon, we listen to Bashment, we listen to Afrobeats, we listen to rap, we listen to grime, we’ll listen to house. Y’know what I mean? Anything that just feels good, that falls right and we both like it – that’s what we go with man.

This is going to be your first time at SW4 performing. What are you expecting from it? Do you have any expectations?

Krept: I do! I was speaking to Yungen the other day and he said he performed at SW4 and it was one of the livest crowds he had ever performed at and that it was just lit. We’re hoping that we can get that same energy from the crowd, and they’re just all for it, cause if you’ve been to our shows you know the whole thing is just about energy.

Konan: Yeah 100% man, we’re from South London as well so, they gotta bring their energy, they gotta bring that South London energy and that London love. We just gotta create nothing but chaos and excitement and fun, I just wanna see the energy. I’m down there and hoping I see a lot of energy.

What is your stand out London festival memory?

Krept: Stand-out London festival memory…

Konan: For me, I would say my stand out festival moment was at Wireless in the tent.

Krept: ...Pepsi stage.

Konan: Yeah when we done the tent. They had to emergency stop it like seven times! The first time I felt like they actually went through with the emergency stop - the fire brigade came, the tent split in half, like people was climbing on the beams, I think seven people got injured, someone broke their leg - it was crazy. I nearly fainted on the stage from dehydration – it was mad.

Krept: Oh yeah that was mad.

Konan: We brought out J Hus, Stormzy. Giggs was there. We had all the scene back then, a Long Way Home t-shirts – that was on the week of our album.

Krept: If you watch our little 'The Road to O2' vlog…

Konan: You see it, its mad. Link Up TV was back there, there was so many people... There was bare people with us that day; Sneakbo, Feki, G Fresh. It was crazy, that show was crazy…

Krept: Yeah, everyone was wearing their Long Way Home t-shirts, it was a proper like moment because not everyone was doing festivals at that point so it was new for everyone. It was a good chance to let people that are putting on these festivals see the demand for Urban Music aswell,. cause we brought loads of people on stage and everyone was getting a crazy reaction. I think I remember Sneak that was saying that was their first time at Wireless ever and when they came out it was like ‘YO’.

Konan: Yeah, we brought a lot of people out the festival that time, like that’s the first time they touched a festival stage so.

Krept: Yeah, that was a moment…

Konan: ...for a lot of us man – there was about a good fifty of us back there, like in the t-shirts and that. It was lit man.

The line up for SW4 2020 is more UK/London than ever before, how do you feel this city has helped you develop into the artists you are today?

Krept: I’m glad to hear that’s its more London than ever as well, especially the fact that London's music is thriving and its been at its best. London's Urban music is at its best it’s ever been and y’know culturally, that’s what’s shaped our sound. If it wasn’t for London and us growing up the way we grew up - just grabbing mics and MCing - we wouldn’t have found that passion to be a rapper, to be an MC. That was something that was embedded in our culture. I went down the road and all my friends were just in the youth club spitting bars and that's how we got into spitting. If I was in another country where that wasn’t the culture then I wouldn’t be doing music, so I’d say for me personally that’s what shaped me to even becoming a rapper in the first place. If it wasn’t for London I wouldn’t, I don’t think I’d even be doing what I’m doing right now personally as well.

Do you plan to perform any exclusive "never heard before" music at SW4?

Konan: Erm… It’s a secret. We might be, we’ve got stuff in the pipeline.

So you’re saying that people have to come and see…

Konan: Yeah, if you wanna hear some new music or you wanna… The shows gonna be good regardless because we pride ourselves for putting on a good show. But yeah, we’ve got some time until SW4, so hopefully we’re trying to put out some new music before that.

Krept: Me and Konan love doing surprises. We love surprising the fans so new music on stage…

Konan: Summertime, new jams, new vibes.... More litness man. More songs for you to get crazy to.

Krept: Couple tricks up the sleeves, you get me fam. First headline festival, what do you think we’re gonna do init.

The scene feels stronger than ever before, what would your main word of advice be for those young and aspiring artists?

Krept: My main bit of advice to any young aspiring artist would be to never give up. Music isn’t the easiest thing to get into, but once your... You get the right song or the right sound or whatever it is, you can find that it can change in a matter of months for you so. Its three minutes of magic that you need to make so don’t get disheartened if the first one doesn’t work or the second one doesn’t work, because if we got disheartened when we fist came up we wouldn’t be here now we would’ve just forgotten about it and just done whatever we would’ve done with our lives. I would definitely say to stay consistent and never lose the hunger. You will definitely get there if you're good of course. Not gonna ignore the fact that people might not actually be good but if you're good, and you're determinded, and you work hard at it, the universe just does that for you man.

Konan: Yeah man, never lose the hunger man – even when you get in, never lose the hunger because its not a one-hundered meter race... You gotta be in it for the long haul.

Krept: It’s a marathon

Joining you on the same day will be The Streets, Ms Banks, Stefflon Don, Andy C + many more. Are you exciting to be performing alongside these artists?

Konan: Crazy.

Krept: Dope.

Konan: Yeah, all these people that are performing - we grew up listening them or they're our peers. It's mad, and obviously Steph... We’ve got a song with Steph so that’s the homie, Ms Banks is the homie, The Streets... Like, come on… It's crazy...

Krept: Grew up listening to The Streets – legends. It’s gonna be an exciting, exciting festival mate.

Konan: Definitely.

Krept: Lets get it.

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