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Kyrian Asher [Spotlight Interview]

Kyrian Asher [Spotlight Interview]

A bright mind and a talented artist, Kyrian Asher is a product of a diverse cultural and disciplinary exposure. The Abuja based singer, rapper, producer and graphic artist is one of the most remarkable acts in the New Age scene. Starting off his music journey since the early 2000’s, kyrian surely has come a long way; from dropping two volumes of his mixtape No Place For Wild Dogs Vol.1 & Vol.2 and subsequent singles in between, to being part of the producing team for Lindsey Abudei’s stellar debut album.

However, the most fascinating aspect of it all is the mystery that had been associated in the character of the artist. His tendency to be shy made sure that he only ever gave insight to his life when he felt comfortable. But, after reaching out recently, he was elated to discuss a few things with us.

Read our chat below

 


Tell us a bit about your background. Where did you grow up? What was the environment like and how has that affected you as a person?

KYRIAN: I can’t really say I grew up in one place, I mean most of my childhood was spent wherever my mother was; within Nigeria, and the Midwest United States).

What was it like? Nothing really stood out, I’ll tell you that. At least nothing I need to go into full detail about. Boys liked trucks, girls liked dolls, but the spirit craved art and wasn’t sure how to express it. It was that normalcy that brought a part of me to the surface, I suppose. Most of my artistic growth happened behind closed doors because I was shy, and I actually believed no one would like it. Eventually, I broke out of that circle and embraced the value of patience.

When did you get into music?

KYRIAN: I can’t honestly remember when I got into music. I know we were surrounded by it. The radios were damn near always on, and when we didn’t have that, momma let some sounds punch through in the form of records. I first realized I really wanted to make my music in 2004, though I recorded my very first song in 1999. It happened in a garage owned by a classmate’s uncle. The equipment looked so foreign and I just had to have my fun. The microphone was lowered, and in one take, I had a song. Rough, noisy, poorly leveled, but it was mine (no, you can’t hear it and no one ever will because I smashed that tape into a million pieces then drowned those pieces in a puddle, then burnt said pieces… You get my point).

First time you ever sang to an audience?

KYRIAN: The first time I ever sang to an audience was in 2003. I can’t remember what it was for, but I sang to a room full of classmates, along with three of my buddies (one had to drum on a table). It was the first time my voice was truly heard in a sense, and the reception was mostly positive.

What do you classify the type of music you make as? Genre? Fusion? Is there something you are gearing towards? Or would you rather not be labeled/classified at all?

KYRIAN: I’d rather not be labeled just yet, but if you must call me something, use “experimental”. I have no true direction (nothing thoroughly mapped out, at least). An article did call my latest song (30,000 Feet) “Goth Trap”, and it rolled off the tongue nicely. I won’t mind seeing it written a few more times. 🙂

You sure don’t hold back on the literature of your art forms; even the album arts are intriguing. So, tell us a bit about your literature proficiency, and being a content conscious artist. What has the reception in Nigeria been like?

KYRIAN: BOOOOOKS! Love those. I tend to read whatever is handed to me really, but I find myself wading in Mystery, Fantasy, SciFi, and History. One of the themes that has stayed with me and sipped into my own work is revolution, the somewhat futile fights for freedom of some kind.

As for album art, I try to match the theme/story behind the music it represents, all while trying my best to make it aesthetically pleasing. I always wonder what it would look like on someone else’s music player, you know? I mean, I want someone scrolling down the music player and going “well that looks quite riveting. I wonder what it is”. Personally, my iTunes library looks like an art gallery. I made sure of it, and continue to groom it every week. 🙂

 

The reception of my art has been generally positive. I’m usually amazed by how many people bring up the cover art, not just the music. I know a few people who have attempted to make wall art out of that and my photography as well. I like that my work is appreciated in more than one aspect because it makes me feel more complete, considering the fact that I do everything myself.

I have listened to your music over and over again, and I get shocked each time, what are most people’s reactions when they get to hear your music (or hear you sing) for the first time?

KYRIAN: A few years ago, it was mostly “No way this is Nigerian” or “This is good, for a Nigerian”. It has changed a little, but I still get that comment from time to time. What people actually find as a bit of a shocker now is how experimental I can be with my sound sometimes (how I mix, thin drums, widen flat sounds and all that), rather than where the music sounds like it’s from. Another thing they tend to bring up is the songwriting, though it’s more wonder than shock.

You sing, rap, write and produce your music, surely you must have to possess a high level of creative capability. What’s your creative process like? And how has that affected you as an artist?

KYRIAN: Ha! It varies, to be absolutely honest. I don’t have one process. Sometimes, I take a long drive with a friend. Or, I listen to radio static (or white/pink noise) and build sounds in my head like arranging LEGOs of varying colors, or I mess around with a keyboard and end up recording something, which I proceed to work on further. I can pull inspiration from daily environmental sounds as well. A car ride around town for a few minutes can inspire a day’s worth of production.

One of my favorites is the song titled “Drive Guilty”. Can you tell us more about this?

KYRIAN: I can’t say I remember so much about where the song, as it is now, came from, but I was first inspired by the sounds cars made, specifically the 8-cylinder V configuration engine (V8). Drive Guilty, as it was then, was meant to be a non-verbal short film about a gang of drivers taking both a figurative and literal drive towards freedom and self-understanding. The budget was blown, and the film never truly got off the ground (it would have been the first film I would have starred in). :’(

There are plans to revive the project, but you didn’t hear that from me. 🙂

The song, as it is now, was originally set for one scene of the film. It was the only thing that was done, so I added vocals for some reason and released it.

What else do you do apart from making music (or anything entertainment related)? And how do you merge or handle them altogether?

KYRIAN: I write, but it’s for entertainment too, I guess. I write short stories, plays, scripts, all that. I’m working on several websites and apps too, coding them myself. I’m also a photographer, but it’s a more personal venture than a commercial one.

I don’t know how, but I somehow merge these things. However, just like everyone else, some days are more productive than others. I can stay in bed for a whole day thinking about food without actually doing anything about it. Just life, man. Haha!

We are all made stronger by overcoming weaknesses in our past, so we’d like to know, what were those weaknesses you’ve overcome? What are your most embarrassing moments so far? (Hopefully there aren’t too many. Lol)

KYRIAN: I was a shy kid. I’m still have my moments, but I do what I have to and leave out what is not necessary. Once, I was not so sure of myself (like I mentioned earlier), preferring instead to be left out of the spotlight, but I know the price of being heard. I still dread it. Heck, this interview alone feels like a gathering of strangers.

But that’s just how it is. It doesn’t help that I’m a little abstruse in/with my work (as a friend of mine put it. Kindly, I suspect), because that tends to draw people rather than ward them off. But that’s just how I am. So yeah, I’ve overcome a bit of my shyness. Whether that was an actual weakness or not is for you to decide. For me, it was a gathering of sticks for a fire.

I have MANY embarrassing moments, mostly alcohol stories that I probably shouldn’t talk about. You understand, right? Right?? 🙂

Who do you think should be your audience? And what message do you have for them?

KYRIAN: My audience, in a plain non-business sense, consists of people who need my music at that very moment. I’ve gotten praise for my sound from people ranging from ages 13 to 55, and I can’t point in one specific direction. Nonetheless, my message to my listeners is this: You won’t always be the hero (or, you can’t cater to everyone), and that’s okay. When asked why you’ve done things your way, give a reason good enough to make them think, but not change who they are.

What do you do for fun? In your free time? What are your hobbies and interests when you’re not making music?

KYRIAN: It really depends on where I am. In the States, I enjoy long drives, camping, bonfiring (is that a word? If it isn’t, maybe it should become one), hiking, climbing, diving, writing and designing. Here (Nigeria), I just read, write, design, and “mini-hike”. When I can’t do those, I watch TV, play videogames, or hang out. From time to time, I research history and update my physics notes.

I tend to ruminate on some things at length sometimes, I guess. I also enjoy and practice writing in ancient languages.

I want to take up gardening though. Seems like fun. Flowers are dope as f**k, don’t care what anyone says.

Lastly, it is expected that you have a new project coming out soon. Would you like to tell us more about that and what do we need to expect/know prior to its release?

KYRIAN: I’m afraid I can’t say much about it before the appointed time. Every bit of information I let out has to be controlled, as I’m taking a more professional approach towards my work. All I can really say now is it will be a synthesis of themes, with gods, monsters, and industry.

Jeffery Abdulateef
Jeffery Abdulateef

UI/UX Developer by day, music enthusiast by night.
Fun and emotional somebody. I believe that our level of creative consciousness separates us from one another, but we are united through music.
I enjoy working on the http://urbaneffect.net website.

2 Comments

  1. Ernest TJ says:

    This is quite an interesting and engaging read. “this interview alone feels like a gathering of strangers”.. lol.. Thumbs up to #KyrianAsher and #UrbanEffect

  2. Lucas 'the Jew' Oboh says:

    I been listening to his songs on #urbaneffect for a while now. Its good to finally feel a bit of his creative process. I really dig the part about his books and his choice of genres. Really great piece.

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