Loyle Carner interview

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Loyle Carner by Jack Cullis for Wordplay Magazine

Loyle Carner is one of the UK’s most promising talents. Summoning a new era of forward thinking, positive and seriously focused artists, we’ve been following Loyle for a good few years now, and it’s been amazing his rise to notoriety. We caught up with the man of the hour on his Cantona tour to find out a little more about his plans for this year.

So what you been up to?
Well, quite a lot. Trying to finish up this album I’ve been working on it for 2 years I guess. Also touring, just a UK tour, It’s been the biggest one we’ve done so far, it’s been a bit overwhelming, I played at Coco, and it was sold out!!

So is that your favourite venue to date?
Yeah I think so man because I’ve seen a lot of my hero’s play there, so it’s been a super surreal experience being there, because I’ve been in the crowd so many times as well.

So how long have you been planning the tour for?
We were coming off the spring tour we did in Easter time, so since then really. We kind off put in promotion before we went off on that tour, but an autumn tours always been in the back of my head but it got properly put down on paper just before they announced it.

So calling it the Cantona tour, holding your dad’s shirt on stage and stuff, is it a tribute tour to him, is that the idea?
I guess so in essence. It’s more of a farewell to all the songs that have served us well over the last 2/3 years because I put them out, and we’ve been touring, but I haven’t put any new tunes out. I haven’t put a big project of work out for a while and with the album coming out next year I think it was the last time I’d be able to play them in a whole. So it was like a tribute to the entirety of my work.

Starting a new chapter…
Yeah exactly!

So what can you tell us about that album?
I’ve been working on it for a long time, it kind of came out of nowhere. It wasn’t like I was working on tunes like album, I was just writing stuff to get it out of my head. A couple of months ago I sat down and was like, oh I’ve actually got a body of work here, let’s make this coherent. There were a few tunes that didn’t really fit in to that story, but might fit in later down the line. I think it’s just an evolution of me. My last EP was like a snapshot of being nineteen. This is I guess a snapshot of being twenty-one; I suppose it’s a little bit more mature. It’s the same themes, family life, but just the different struggles that have come to get to the next step.

Have you got any favourite tracks on the album?
Yeah a couple.  A tune I play live with Tom is a favourite of mine just because it came up out of nowhere. I just kind of free styled it while he made a beat and I was trying to write something but I couldn’t write anything, so I was like, cool let me just get a freestyle down just so I can go back and write to it and have a feel for it. In the end the freestyle stuck because it was just a one off thing. But for me it was kind of the purest form of the music I’ve found today. It just feels like it wasn’t forced at all.

Loyle Carner by Jack Cullis for Wordplay Magazine

You’ve been working with Tom a fair bit, is there anyone that feels like your favourite producer to date?
A lot of the people I’ve wanted to work with I’ve worked with in England. I’ve been working with Jehst a lot. As far as production goes I love his beats but I also think he’s the best rapper of all time from the UK, so working with him has been surreal. I can phone him up and chat to him! And Kleff of course, working with your best friend is a beautiful thing.

So what are you two doing together at the moment?
Just messing around, playing Fifa! Nah we’re working on a couple of tunes together, touring. Kleff DJ’s all my shows so we’re working on stuff when we’re away, but really just whatever friends do really. Spending too much time with each other and winding each other up. Like a proper married couple!

How did the cooking school with Goma come about?
I’ve always loved cooking. When I was younger I found this unparalleled peace when I was cooking and I figured if it worked for me it might work for kids in a similar situation. A guy i know hooked up with me and asked if I wanted to come and rep his skate brand. I hadn’t skated for a few years so I said you don’t need me you need someone else. But he asked if I wanted to put on a project myself and I’ll help you run it. Off the top of my head I said I wanted to open a cooking school and we put it in to motion. The first course was Summer 2016 with kids aged 14-16. It went really well, and we’ve just got funding to put it in to place properly. We’re gonna do a Christmas dinner, and put the course in to yearly rotation. Mad, but very rewarding! It’s kind of second nature to me because my mum teaches kids with special education needs, so for me, I couldn’t really see myself doing anything else.

Have you taught before or done anything like this?
I’ve done bits and bobs, running little workshops and stuff, helping out my mum in her classes at Croydon Literary Centre. That’s the only real experience.

So where did the idea for the package come from? It’s a different way of approaching a cookbook!
It was more just a way of documenting for us and for the kids. Get some photos done, get some recipes down; it was more for them to have something to take away and remember. As we got further with it, it just made sense to sell them and get them out there so more people could be drawn in to it. But it was never a thing about making it big and making loads of money, it was more lets get a nice thing you can flick through quickly, and remember it instead of getting bored off it.

World’s smallest cookbook!
Yeah exactly, three recipes! Good recipes though!

Chilli con Carner is the one!
Haha, thanks man.

So other than the album, the cookery school, and Fifa have you got any plans for the rest of the year?
More touring, launching this album. I guess it’s kind of what’s been sucking up a lot of my time. That and sorting out the mortgage! Really just grown, boring old man stuff!

Yesterday’s Gone is out now on AMF Records on digital, vinyl, CD and streaming platforms:

There’s another single before the year is out. Just finished storyboarding the video, and hopefully gonna co-direct it with someone I’m a big fan of.

Words by James “Vice” Kennaby
Images by Jack Cullis
Transcribed by Joe Laflin