English version of Komo’s interview from Star Wax #59 – summer issue :: Even if Komo Sarcani likes to kick the beats with American Mcs like Illa J, Guilty Simpson or Phat Kat, the rapper from Villejuif – Paris suburb – has connected this time to the Oslo city hip-hop scene. Following gigs in Viking land, he did dope connection with the Stew studio team. And for “Experiences”, his third album, he works exclusively with one producer. Ollie Twist does the beats, Komo writes the rhymes and the alchemy delivers heavy tracks. This release demonstrates an open-mindedness with guests who are rapping or singing in Norwegian. Here is the musical trip of a Congolese Mc in Scandinavian country.
Tell us about your first meeting?
We met in 2017 during my second European tour in the Nordic countries. It was Rude Lead – Ollie Twist’s brother – who my label was in contact with to book me to Oslo, who put us in touch.
Why did you choose to collaborate with Ollie Twist, a Norwegian beatmaker?
It just happened naturally, we have the same passion for hip hop and we had a great feeling humanly speaking. Every time I went to Oslo, I hung out with him and his whole team. I’m a person who loves working with artists from different backgrounds because it is always rewarding. We knew we were going to carry out a project together, new “experiences”!
You love vinyl but there is very little sample in the album. Why ?
The idea came from Ollie who didn’t want to use pure samples, for legal reasons. In addition, its concept is to create the mood of the beat around a sample. Listening to the beats I was amazed because he had played almost everything.
From left to right: Rude Lead, Komo Sarcani, Ollie Twist. Photo by Ada (c).
Can you tell us about the production process?
We started the recordings in Oslo at Stew Studio, then back in Paris, we were impacted by the Covid pandemic. This shutdown could have slowed down our creative process, but we adjusted to it! We decided to work remotely. Ollie sent me some beats and I took care of finding the themes that could match the mood of each sound. We organized ourselves by making numerous points of progress and scheduled times via facetime to discuss, decided which changes needed to be made and coordinate. Everyone had carte blanche at the creative level for the field that concerned them, while remaining within the basic concept agreed upon together. Regarding the recording, 40% were recorded in Oslo and 60% in Paris.
You are executive co-producers. Did you all decide together?
Everyone chose their guests, I brought El Da Sensei and Tame One from the legendary group Artifacts, Charlie Smart (Kooley High) whom I had met in Paris, Maryleen O, Missié Reno and Nohk, a Norwegian rapper who had been following me for a while on the networks.
Have the Mcs who rap in French also recorded at Stew Studio?
It’s only Missié Reno who was on the Norwegian adventure so he recorded at Stew Studio in an atmosphere that we all loved. For others, like Maryleen O, the recording was done in Paris.
What’s the meaning of « Grenser » featuring ADA & Mesié Reno?
“Grenser” means “limits” in Norwegian.
The title therefore evokes the limits that everyone can encounter in their life, but that you still have to go to the end of yourself and give yourself the means to have no regrets. This title brings a particular color to the album because it has a very distinct Nordic sound mixed with trap. ADA’s chorus reminds me of a « Viking » vibe and the world of singer Björk, which I really like. I even think it’s one of the first songs we boxed in Oslo.
There are several fairly short songs, is it to let express your rock n roll side?
Exactly, we didn’t want to be like everyone else. Since it is the album of a rapper and a beatmaker, I wanted to deliberately limit the verses to let the music of Ollie Twist speak, a bit like the Madlib / Freddie Gibbs or Alchemist / Boldy James.
Your favorite Lp track and why?
That’s a pretty tough question, all titles are like my kids, I can’t choose! Everyone brings their own touch to the album. Afterwards, if I had to quote a title for its peculiarity in the album, I would say « Pas de Nouvelles » which stands out for its afro / exotic twist.
What’s the meaning of « Honey » featuring Charlie Smart?
The title « Honey » evokes honey, in our jargon it’s money, but also for me the festive and summer atmospheres, the moments between friends. We recorded this track in Paris during the tour of Charlie Smarts and Dj Illdigitz of the North Carolina band Kooley High. It was in a good-natured atmosphere with some friends in the studio. It was Charlie who came up with the concept of the sound and we did it straight away.
Your worst and best memory since collaborating on this album?
Worse? None apart from the mishap during the first studio session, where at the end of the day we motivated ourselves to go buy a drink for the evening and we realized that alcohol was not for sale after 5 pm … but looking back at it now we laugh about it! Many good memories that day, we had a super creative session from 9:00 p.m. to 5:00 a.m.
Why was the mastering done in France by Batos from Sound Unique Studio?
He is the partner and co-creator of the Tomawack label. He’s the one who has the tone we like and he has a great knowledge of hip hop which makes it possible to obtain an album that sounds very « rough ».
What is the meaning of the front cover made by Guillaume Saix?
We told him we wanted a mystical visual with the colors of the northern lights which are a typical phenomenon of Scandinavian countries. We want the cover to mix Scandinavia and Paris with historical symbols. Guillaume knows me very well because he is the artist of 90% of my visuals. So nothing was difficult and the result is just stunning.
What did you learn from this experience?
It’s a first for me to work on a project via the internet (at least half of the project), to share this passion with a motivated and talented beatmaker. It was really great to have the support of all of our friends to see the project through to the end. I learned a lot working a different way.
If there was something to do again, what would it be?
Do the whole project by seeing each other physically, either in Oslo or in Paris. As I said previously, this experience has enriched us a lot.
What are the last sounds you discovered?
Since I really listen to everything, I discovered Femdot, Rosalìa and many others, often they are artists that I’ve never had time to listen carefully like Sdm.
And about food?
I discovered a Norwegian dish he calls Lutefisk which is a cod-like dried white fish with potatoes, bacon, mustard and goat cheese. Otherwise, the base is Saka Saka, Tagine or a good Maffé!
Last word ?
I invite you to discover the album « EXPERIENCES » entirely produced by Ollie Twist ….. Hoping to be on tour soon