Interview: IAMNOBODI Speaks Out On Racism and Making Music In A "Mad World"
It only takes a few seconds of perusing SoundCloud to realize it: IAMNOBODI has been putting in serious work. That effort though, lies in the quality of his new material, rather than the frequency of his uploads. While other prolific modern beatsmiths seem hell-bent on posting new tracks at a Twitter-like pace, the Germany-based producer moves more selectively. There’s a poise to his online presence.
On his latest single “Mad World,” however, IAMNOBODI lets it all out. The song is a 9 minute tour de force, encompassing walking jazz interludes, impassioned pleas for racial justice and, in its final minutes, plenty of the dynamic progressive hip-hop that the young artist has become known for. OKayplayer recently spoke IAMNOBODI about its composition, his new work and how he finds his place in a world so ridden with madness and strife.
OKP: First off, what’s on your mind right now? It feels like you’re letting these samples, these speeches, especially the first one from William Hayden, are pretty clearly a call out for justice and a better world. Just fill us in on your view of the world right now.
Nobodi: That’s what it really is to be honest. There’s so much going on in the world right now and instead of helping and care for each other we treat each other like shit. I notice that everyday again and again. We live in a time where a man like Donald Trump is running for President! In a time where f.e. people in North Korea don’t know what Facebook is because one man is dictating and controlling everything! It’s 2015 and racism is still a major issue all across the globe. So ‘Mad World’ really is an attempt to encourage people to think about that a little bit.
OKP: Musically there are so many joints in here, some of them dense and some a little looser. Did you make these all during the same time? Were they extras you had lying around that you decided to put together recently? Or were they all composed newly, for “Mad World” specifically.
Nobodi: It’a bunch of ideas i had but i never really found time to finish it. So one day i just sat down and finished it. It’s some newer material in there, for sure. But this is not an EP, Sampler, Album or anything like that. It is more like an audio experiment. That’s what i would call it. My official album is dropping early next year and it’s called Wide Awake In A Dream.
OKP: Have you ever worked on a single track that’s this long?
Nobodi: Not really. I am a very musical person though so i always try to do something different. But speaking on a single track, probably not. I wanna do stuff like this more often for sure. I might go ahead and drop a part 2 smile emoticon
OKP: Many of the comments on the track are thanking you for a thoughtful piece of music. It seems people are feeling that “Mad World” is an experience–how does that make you feel to hear that? Was that your goal?
Nobodi: Absolutely! It feels really good because it shows me that i’m definitely not alone with my way of thinking. People want change. I was talking to a good friend of mine a couple days ago and he told me this: “It’s 2015! Look at the times, man. If you’re not saying something, leave!”. That stuck with me, you know? I think we should start to re-think our shit big time!
There’s nothing wrong with turning up in the club , having fun and all that but we definitely need more balance. At the end of the day there’s people going through real life shit and they need something they can relate to.
OKP: What sort of power do you think music has to speak out about problems in the world?
Nobodi: A lot. It might sound crazy but I really believe that music has the power to actually heal. I have people walk up to me after shows, telling me that my music changed their lives or helped them get through certain situations or tough times. It happens a lot. And that’s crazy to me! So just imagine, if bigger artists would realize the power and responsibility they have and use it to draw attention on things with which people can identify. Man, it would make a big difference. But luckily we have some good folks like Kendrick or J. Cole who are doing it the right way.