On the back of the YES! single picking up plays on triple j and stations around the country, a great response to his debut the YES! EP, an irresistible film clip for YES!, a successful Groovin’ The Moo performance, support spots for Grey Ghost and Matt & Kim we catch up with new comer Citizen Kay, as he prepares to tour the country.
aahh: You’ve recently released your debut EP titled YES! How would you describe the YES! EP and what did you want to achieve with this release?
Citizen Kay: I guess to answer both questions in one, it was a way to introduce myself to the scene. The EP was a real way to start and get my foot in the door and hopefully let people know what type of music they can expect from me in the future. The EP is all about getting in there and letting that out.
aahh: Did you produce most of the EP yourself?
Citizen Kay: With the first single YES!, I did an original version by myself. It was quite different to the version you hear on the EP. It wasn’t really where I wanted it to be, for public release, so I sent a copy over to a good friend of my manager and he came up with the drums. It was a co-production effort in the end with a combination of my original version and his part. Forgive Me & Give Thanks were totally produced by myself. On the track Vision, I got a beat from Diz who lives in Sydney. I wrote both verses over the beat that arrived and it’s what you hear on the EP today. So, yeah most of the production was handled by myself but with the help of those few guys.
aahh: You’ve been in Canberra for many years now, collaborating & producing for a wide range of artist’s. How would you describe the hip hop community within Canberra?
Citizen Kay: Honestly, I didn’t think there was a big hip hop community in Canberra. I mean you bump in to the odd hip hop head here and there but it wasn’t until this year that I really started meeting other rappers. As you mentioned, I’ve always been collaborating and writing, and I don’t know if it’s just with the rise of popularity in hip hop at the moment or whatever but it’s been this year that I’ve really started meeting a large number of artists. You know, I talk to some people and they say “oh Canberra’s got no hip hop scene”, but it’s growing man and soon Australia will start to see Canberra as not only a place of roundabouts but also good hip hop.
aahh: The release of the YES! EP was accompanied by the announcement, of a number of tour dates around the country. Some were in support of the US group Matt & Kim and also included a huge slot at Groovin the Moo’. What was the tour like and how was Groovin’ The Moo?
Citizen Kay: The tour was incredible. When I stop to look at it, I only really started doing shows this year. I think I had done like one show before this year. So going from that, straight to supporting artists such as Matt & Kim and then jumping on a huge festival spot by the 4th show I’ve ever performed, was honestly massive. I was talking to a local artist backstage at Groovin’ The Moo and he said that they had been doing shows for 5 years just to get the spot that they were on. So for this to be my fourth show ever and I’m doing this big of a festival, it’s all pretty mind-blowing. Supporting Matt and Kim was awesome, they were amazing people and it was an amazing experience hanging out with the guys and seeing how they prepared for their shows, it was crazy.
My last show of that tour was held in Canberra, it was one rowdy night for the locals. I don’t try to psych myself up to much before a show, but I will try to get in the zone so that everyone has a good time. It was a bit sad to end the tour, but I have more shows planned coming up in the next few months and into next year, most notably the upcoming tour titled ‘The Vision Shows’.
aahh: You first started gaining national attention after triple j picked up on a track from your last mixtape, titled Ansah Brothers which, also features your brother Genesis Owusu. Did you expect that kind of reaction to the track?
Citizen Kay: Not at all man, it wasn’t even a mixtape track. This was prior to the EP release and my manager was like let’s release an EP and see what happens, see how people react. In my mind I was like, I haven’t made a track in a while better get my ass into gear. I eventually came across this sample I liked and wrote this one verse, my brother walked past the room as I working on it, and I was like hey did you want to jump on this track.
It didn’t need much, I just wanted to keep it simple, he wrote his verse, and we decided just to keep it with the two verse’s. I was intending just to throw it up on Facebook and let my friends and family check it out and all of a sudden, triple j Unearthed picked it up. Nic Vevers then helped us out with a film clip and that’s what first got me the attention. I wasn’t expecting that track to really do what it did.
aahh: Are you planning more collaborations with your brother in the future?
Citizen Kay: Yep yep. Since we both just did that tack for the hell of it and after the reaction we received, I went back to my brother and said do you want to make something of The Ansha Brothers (Ansha is our last name), and he said yes. We are both in to hip hop and we thought it would make for a nice project for the both of us. We’ve already unofficially started working on a mixtape which we plan to have out by the end of the year, start of next year. It’s sounding great.
aahh: The EP’s first single of the same name, YES!, dropped alongside brand new film clip. Tell us a bit about the clip and that whole process?
Citizen Kay: Once again I teamed up with Nic Vevers for this one. I remember meeting up with him about the clip and he said ‘I’ve got this idea for a clip, you’re a waiter and you’ve had a shitty day and you hate your boss, you’ve just gotten off work and you steal a bottle of Champaign’. I was like ‘umm ok, I trust you after the Ansha Brothers clip, let’s do it’. It was a fun clip, after the first couple of bottles of Champagne I popped Nick said, look like you’re having more fun. I was nervous with the first couple, I didn’t want to pop one in my face or hit someone in the eye or something. Nick then added you’re popping champing on a music rap video clip. In my head I was like, he’s right, people dream of this. After that I just went for it. I was having a blast!!
aahh: Where can people pick up the new EP?
Citizen Kay: Well, I’ve got some hard copies at my house, so drive on down. Nah, you can pick it up on iTunes, if you come down to the shows I’ve got hard copies there and I think a few JB Hi-Fi’s in Sydney have it as well.