The next few months are going to prove exciting and fruitful for Remi and Sensible J. The duo are heading to Adelaide for a show – literally – on the river for the Adelaide Festival, before continuing preparations for Bluesfest and then on from that, their UK return for the Brighton Festival with Kate Tempest.
A new musical chapter also beckons, with the success of Divas and Demons leading Remi and J to further explore the experimental territory their hip hop music has already begun to traverse. Recently nominated for an APRA Award, Remi’s sophomore album has continued to set the scene for some interesting new sounds to be put on record and as he explains, this current phase of the creative process has presented some interesting discoveries for both himself and J alike.
“It’s been really, really good.” he enthuses. “To be honest, J is the one out of the two of us who has definitely gone in, so to speak. He’s been non stop working on so much music, so many new beats and so many new projects, as far as his own stuff and stuff with other people. He’s just really taken to this time period, which is a beautiful thing. Because I love his beats so much, just seeing someone be able to get that out for the first time after a long period of time is really good.”
“For me? I guess I’ve trying to get back into it, I’ve definitely been taking my time. I don’t want to just write another album or just start writing music again in the same vein as the last record. I want to come at it from a totally different perspective; I’ve been researching different acts, which has meant it’s pretty much the same [approach], it just means there’s been less musical creation on my part and more music research.”
This isn’t to say that the live shows Remi and J have become well-known for have been put on the back burner. With this slew of marquee-standard shows on the near horizon, Remi reveals some of their plans to up the ante.
“A lot of the time it’s hard to keep that many people’s attention in this day and age,” he says of future festival appearances. “We’re really excited. It’s given us a chance to flex in different ways. We’re getting a band together and we’re going to try and reinterpret a lot of the joints live with these cats. That’s something that I’m really excited for.”
The urgency that has driven many of Remi’s lyrics, particularly on Divas and Demons has thrown back to the work classic masters of the genre had put on the map decades before he was born, yet with the current social climate being as it is, these influences fused in with a very new sound, has made Remi’s stance and messages more relevant than ever. Further diving into the kaleidoscopic sounds of the likes of Parliament and Funkadelic, it’s this brash and unshakeable tradition of P-Funk and the swirls of sounds created on its fringes that Remi has been taking to strongly.
“Music that was unapologetically black music,” Remi explains of the records he’s currently studying. “[Music] in such a ridiculous time period for the likes [of] Parliament and Funkadelic, cats like that, to be existing in. This would [already] be hard for an accepting world to digest whereas you were in a world where it’s like, they fucking hate you and they’ll eat you if they got their hands on you. I’m just infatuated by that. I’m at the beginning of this research, but it’s fun. That’s one thing I want to express, I’m not sitting here like, ‘Oh my God, I’m scared of writer’s block’, or anything. I need to do this, I need to sit down and take this time to look into music.”
Though their reach has obviously extended far outside their Melbourne scene, Remi remains hooked into the new sounds and flavours emerging from artists of all backgrounds pushing the envelope when it comes to ambitious artistry on the local front.
“It feels like there are so many crazy, crazy musicians out here,” Remi says. “There are so many talented people, it just feels like it’s getting ready to explode. We all just need to be ready and willing to let that happen. That’s where the Parliament thing comes into it; you’ve got so many bad motherfuckers together doing it for art and revolution. Hopefully we can do the same thing.”
Remi plays the Adelaide Festival on Saturday, March 18th. For more information about the event, head here.
Photo by Briana Davis.