Mist: 'I feel like we've all been on Skepta's journey with him'
10 February 2018
Julie Adenuga’s UK Represent artist this week on her Beats 1 show is Mist (apple.co/julie) who talked about a wide range of topics ahead of the release of his EP.
In the wide ranging interview, Mist talks about his first single and upcoming EP; growing up in Birmingham and the difference in making it in music compared to London; what it was like growing up in a multicultural community; on performing with a broken leg; on the difficulties he faced when his parents died; what he learnt after going to prison; Skepta’s influence on his music; losing a drone camera while shooting his music video in Kenya; working with Jessie Ware; and more.
On what Birmingham means to him... Birmingham is the second biggest city in the UK. At the North side of the UK. I was born there and bred. Lived there my whole life…Of course, definitely [on whether he will leave Birmingham], you have to grow to move onwards and better in life. I can never forget where I came from and I feel like it’s helped me to get to where I am today. There’s obviously been good, there’s been bad, things that I’ve experienced in life, but I feel like this is what’s helped me to tell the story that I’ve been telling in my music.
On growing up in a multicultural environment... I definitely grew up in a mixed heritage area, where there are so many different races and cultures. A lot of Asians, White people, Black people. Growing up all my friends were mixed, we weren’t segregated. If you listen to my lyrics I use a lot of Punjabi words, those Punjabi words were what my mates were using growing up, they didn’t really teach me them, this is the lingo that they used everyday, this is why I use it in my music.
I felt like coming from Birmingham, it’s very hard to breakthrough. A lot of times you do music, people don’t take you seriously, look another one is doing music, it kinda knocks your confidence, you could be the next up. Now, there’s a lot of people that are coming up from Birmingham, but at a stage there weren’t that many artists that came from there. When people hear about people, hear about Birmingham artists, or they hear that another Birmingham artist starts rapping, they don’t really take it in, they think London’s doing this.
On difficult experiences following the death of his parents... I went through a little stage in my life where my mum and dad passed, within three months of each other, so I kinda went through a bad stage of my life and within that time my house got repossessed as well, which was my mum’s house as well. I was just in a bad place, I ended up going to jail, which was in a worst place.
On what he learnt after going to jail... The good thing about going to jail for me is it kinda made me enjoy my own company and realise what I want in life, that was the maddest thing. You can go one way or the other when you go to jail doing what you’re doing, you could keep going jail or make it be that lesson, so I kinda decided there.
On why he uses Punjabi words in his rap... So it's just bringing everyone in, from using the Punjabi language. That one saying at the start, it opens such a wide door because people started asking me what does it mean? when they were finding out, they were like, oh it's so cool. Karla's back what's Karla? I had girls messaging me, whose name was Carla, people thought it was Carlos. There was a few interviews that I had to do, to break it down. After then I had a vision of I need to start making mad videos.
On wanting to win a Brit Award... Just a big ones man. Definitely a Brit Award. One hundred percent. I'm invited this year, so I'm going to go. I'm going to get measured up man. I'm even proud that I've got to put it on, do you know what I mean, you might see me in character that day, looking extra suave.
On Skepta’s influence on his career… Obviously you know Skepta, in my career watching how he's grown and where I come from, the track suits, the way of life style, you don’t need to change. Forget all the jewellery and whatever, people like me without anything, that's what's crazy. Skepta's, your Tinie Tempah's, Dizzee Rascal, Wiley. They've made me realise, that they set the path, what's good about it is, they bring you on the journey. I feel like we've all been on Skepta's journey with him, and seen you know what I mean from the clashing with Devilman, we've all been on that journey. If you've followed the music, you've seen the journey, so now doing collaborations with Nike, there's levels. It's good to have someone, following their footsteps.
On shooting ‘Game Changer’ in Kenya and losing their drone... So I think we had a couple talks about South Africa, but then we looked into Lion King is based on Kenya, so we thought you know what, we need to go Kenya, we're to the motherland. Beautiful, the people there are just so friendly welcoming, and I was in a hot air balloon. These things, flying over the Safari, just wild animals...The drone got lost in the Safari, wild safari and it was a stage, like what are we going to do, all drone footage is now just lost, and you know it lands itself, but we're now in the middle of the Safari in Africa. We all had to go on a mad hunt. But in the end we found it, about a 3, 4 hour hunt for the drone. We found it in the middle of the bushes where it's crash landed and got it and the experiences that was there.
We stayed in a place I think it was Fig log camp. Basically you're in the middle of the jungle literally where you got, the Maasai tribe, these are the people that own the site. When they're introducing us, listen at night, we've got a river where there's Hippos, Hyenas, we're all like are you being for real, it was the scariest night I've had in my life...We all stayed in one room. When they locked off the lights, I think the Hyenas came out, we heard Hippos, it was ridiculous, very scared. All of us, manager, everyone, no sleep. Oh it was crazy.
On working with Jessie Ware... Signing to Warner has definitely helped me get that collab, it's because I've been they've put me on that level. Now saying, I've signed to make that transition to hit that mainstream, I feel like by me signing a lot of people look at me in a different light now. Even my aunts, all my family is like what Jessie Ware, I can't wait. I heard her at Christmas she was on BBC.