Theophilus London hits Vancouver! [Interview/Contest]
We talk one-on-one with Brooklyn’s Theophilus London. We’re giving away tickets to his next show in Vancouver on January 18th so make sure you keep reading for info on how to win.
Vancouver, B.C.– Stemming from a DJ father and a love of self-expression, Theophilus London’s music practically guarantees a dance party. Coming up on the genre-bending artist’s third visit to Vancouver, HipHopCanada had the chance to chat with the lively rapper and producer, and we got some interesting tidbits about the music, the fashion, and of course the sex.
HipHopCanada: Good to see you again! The first time you played Vancity you were with A-Trak right?
Theophilus London: Yeah, I opened up for A-Trak on his tour. It was good.
HipHopCanada: Yeah I was at that show, I really enjoyed it. Your music seems to really spark a party, a lot of it is really upbeat and danceable. Are you a party guy?
Theophilus London: Kind of modest. Since I’m in a party atmosphere so much, whenever I have alone time I’m either at home or working in the studio. Or just hanging with friends. My music can get a little too much but I love to party when I see people partying.
HipHopCanada: Do you come from a musical family?
Theophilus London: My dad was a DJ and a club promoter and I grew up around him being a club promoter at the Premier. He was a DJ in Trinidad and moved to America. Trinidad is where I was born. He just brought all the biggest acts from Trinidad and Tobago, which played calypso and soca music, like big party music for stadiums, and brought them over to New York. That was pretty impressive to me as a kid. That is maybe the only musical thing my family has done, to my knowledge.
HipHopCanada: Was it a fairly natural progression then for you to get into this style of music?
Theophilus London: Yeah I was always just a kid who wanted to just put out my expressions, you know? I just wanted to express myself and music was one of the earliest ways to do so. I started expressing myself with words as a kid but then music became something that I thought was fun.
HipHopCanada: Do you consider yourself someone who is revitalizing the art of hip-hop?
Theophilus London: No way! I don’t want to take that title! I actually don’t really care about that title. I just have the urge to make music and to see people react to music. I love progressive things, and I love technology. That’s what I want to revitalize, just my listeners and myself.
HipHopCanada: What are some signs that you see that you’re blowing up?
Theophilus London: I don’t know, the biggest thing right now is going to social media sights right? So people may say your fan base is based on followers or something? Or I don’t know, you get weird emails from people in the suburbs that have nothing to do with your life yet write you a tormented email. You also get girls sending naked photos on facebook. I think when that stuff happens you think, “Whoa what’s happening, I never got this stuff before”. You feel like something has changed a little bit. Maybe your song has been played the radio. Maybe someone’s saying you’re good, maybe someone’s saying you’re bad. Someone is writing a blog post, or admiring your photos in a magazine. Someone is admiring your twitter, I don’t know. There’s so much stuff to go on for people to have access to. I’m happy that people aren’t thinking small anymore, there’s a bigger mentality with social life.
HipHopCanada: How do you deal with girls throwing themselves at you?
Theophilus London: It’s awesome. I mean I got a lot of pen pals. From Denmark, even Guam. Girls just write me. Some of them even have boyfriends. It’s not like they write me to say they want to screw me or something, they’re writing me telling me how they feel when they hear my songs. Like, “OMG I can’t believe you said something back to me in a message, it’s like my iPod talking back to me”. One girl said she had a dream and we had sex in her dream and she woke up and felt like she cheated on her boyfriend, because of our dream. I thought that was intense. There have been a couple funny ones. There have been a lot crazy ones and scary ones, like people sending decoded messages. Some are cool, some are not.
HipHopCanada: I watched your video for “I Want You”, and man you’re on some soft porn shit there! That’s pretty cool, how was that?
Theophilus London: Yeah I mean, I wanted to really be more like exposed with the body but we chose not to. We did make another video that was mostly like rough, like Halle Berry in Monster Ball. Where it looks like we’re doing it we’re not, but we’re naked. But I didn’t want to put it on the internet because you know, I don’t want to express that way just yet.
HipHopCanada: Let’s talk a little bit about fashion. You seem to be a little bit into the fashion scene, so how do you feel about your style?
Theophilus London: It’s funny this always comes up. I always joke around with my friends about this question. The Complex shoot was the first fashion thing I’ve ever done like publically. I guess people relate me to fashion because when they see me play live shows or when they see my blog stuff. But I’m so unprolific when it comes to fashion; it’s hard for me to put things together. I just woke up in the morning and threw this shirt on and this jacket. It’s not like I have outfits ready to go, I just wear what I feel comfortable wearing that day. We are doing GQ next week, which will be our biggest accomplishment. I guess I just have to get used to people asking me about fashion.
HipHopCanada: In one of your interviews you said that “you’re only young once” and that you just want to live it up. What’s on your list of things that you would like to get done while you’re young?
Theophilus London: I want to pull a stunt on an airplane. Like get up and run around the aisles, sing and then jump off. With a parachute, but people will think that I killed myself. I want to fly a helicopter.
HipHopCanada: So things in the air! Gotcha. Let’s talk a little about your mixtapes. Can you just tell me maybe about works past and present and where you’re at with that?
Theophilus London: The first thing I ever put out online was Jam, a mixtape. It was the first thing I ever put online and did something as a project. I worked on that in 2008.
In 2009 there was another follow up. I feel like mixtapes are an easy outlet to express yourself. You can play it safe by calling it a mixtape, but you can make whatever you want. You can make ten songs of you farting and your friends laughing in the background and say it’s a mixtape. I just made 18 songs, some remixes, some rapping on other peoples’ stuff and made it into a playlist that I would love to listen to on my own. People started liking it and appreciating it, all around the world. I went on four tours last year. I worked with so many people I admire, and signed to a record label.
HipHopCanada: So what can we expect to see at a Theophilus London show?
Theophilus London: It will be a party atmosphere. I can’t wait to see the ladies.
Interview conducted by Amalia Judith for HipHopCanada
Photography by Amalia Judith for HipHopCanada
Tags: Theophilus London