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Photography by Thando Nhlapo

Face-to-face with deKiller’Clown

Hailing from Johannesburg, rapper, producer and all-round artist deKiller’Clown’s music draws inspiration from the sounds around him and the situations he finds himself in. With an older sister who studied sound engineering and introduced him to a lot of music including hip hop he started making music from a young age. “I started making music at 8 or 9 years old just because I looked up to my sister that much. I just got into music from the inspiration that I drew from my sister,” deKiller’Clown remembers, “At the time she was listening to a lot of The Roots, Erykah Badu, J Dilla, a lot of that old school hip hop. I was introduced to hip hop and fell in love with J Dilla.”

Although he tried his hand at production around the age of 11, it wasn’t until a few years later that he took producing seriously. “Later on in life around 17/18 I met up with some friends who then inspired me to get into producing and that’s when my producing started.”

While he doesn’t favour any particular emcees or producers, “I pretty much have favourite songs throughout different artists”, deKiller’Clown is inspired by what he is listening to in the moment as well as artists such as Nekro, Jedi Mind Tricks, Kanye West, Travis Scott. “Kid Cudi was a huuuge influence,” he emphasizes.

A member and producer for Indigoat Clan,the crew was started by his high school friend ET and him as a way to create music for themselves and their friends. ”We made music for a long time before we put a name on it. At first it was just making music just for our friends to chill with. Listening to music, listening to ourselves. I think we were making for 2 or 3 years before we came up with the name.”

His debut solo mixtape ‘I Changed The Name’ is a reference to the ongoing struggle he’s faced in naming the project over the almost 2 years he’s spent working on it. “I couldn’t really pinpoint what I was trying to do with the tape until I realised it’s me basically exploring all the different elements that I can explore with myself musically. Because I was inspired by so many genres like grime, trap or boom bap it was so evident in my music and it’s something I only noticed when I put together the EP that I’ve actually got a shitload of different sounds on this,” says deKiller’Clown

Releasing the project towards the end of September the lead single ‘Vodka’ is currently getting the video treatment. With an eye for cinematography deKiller’Clown is hoping this will be the first of many to accompany the release. “I wanna do as many videos as I can for the tape because I have different ideas for how I want to display the songs visually,” deKiller’Clown muses.

Drawing inspirations from across the hip hop spectrum and beyond deKiller’Clown hopes his music inspires others to not feel restricted in their self-expression. “Hopefully I can inspire other people to make music too. I just wanted people to not really feel like as a rapper you need to stick to rap, you need to stick to boom bap or you need to stick to trap. I just felt like music is an art that needs to be explored.”

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