Up & Coming In Music: Ryan de La Cruz, Mugun, Puzzle & OMYO

March 9, 2017




Here’s PAUSE’s first Up & Coming feature in Music. Here we present four up and coming UK-based artists; Ryan de La Cruz, Mugun, Puzzle & OMYO. Read on to find out more about their inspiration, music style and new releases we can look forward to. Guess which artist is a fan of Supreme and who would prefer to wear Rick Owens.

Interviewer: Johnson Gold
Photographer: Chanel Baker
Wardrobe Stylist: Rhys Marcus Jay (styled Ryan, Puzzle & OMYO)


Ryan de La Cruz

Where are you from?

London. I’m from a few places actually, I grew up in Leytonstone, and then I moved over to Forest Gate, then my mum moved over to Plaistow. I’ve been in and out, I’ve been in east London my whole life.

I’m an east boy, I’ve just recently moved over to the South, but my heart is at East.

Where are you from country wise?

I’m from Congo, so we speak a bit of French.

How long have you been doing music for?

I’ve been doing music since I was about 11, so it’s about roughly 10/9 years, and professionally for about five years. Being involved in the industry, being in and out of studios, like getting publishing deals and stuff. That started pretty early, I got phoned from Plan B, so he just took me in from the age of 15, but I met him when I was 13 and two years later he signed me.

At the age of 15, were you doing live performances as well?

At age 15, I was doing a bit here and there, but it wasn’t my own thing, I was supporting other people, doing little live jams and popping mics so I can get the experience. It worked out really good because without that I wouldn’t been able to go into a new environment and make people shake.

How do you communicate with the audience when you perform live?

I make sure I introduce myself properly to them, I prepare myself and prepare them in terms of what they’re going to hear and I try to make it fun instead of being just another guy up on the stage and just not doing anything. I like to get them involved and clap, I get them to do cheers back and forth, I will jump in the crowd and vibe with them, I just keep it going and exciting.

You’ve got a very bubbly personality, how would you describe your personality in three words? Or one word?

Busky. Busky means it’s a bubble and craziness in one thing. I just made that up right now.

How would you describe your genre of music?

My genre of music is… I’m trying to make a new genre, I’ve been saying it in a lot of interviews. It’s soul raw, so its soul and the raw energy. I don’t really give two hoops, I just go in, I’ve got that soul background and RnB and things that I’ve grown up to be. It’s energetic, raw and a bit of soul.

Tell us about some of the music drops that you just released?

My first drop that I did was Pagans which was last year, I dropped that first. dropped that like around June, like summer time. That was just so I could be able to show everyone that I was still here, because I hadn’t released anything for a very long time. And then, after that, about three/four months after, I dropped another mixtape with a single, ”Know about me” and that was more of an introduction to who I am now, like what I’m about and to let everyone know this is who I am, and give people a taste of my skills and what I can do and what I’m capable of. I’m just about to release some other stuff as well this year, so I’ve got some more things coming.

When did you drop that last year?

I dropped that like around June, like summer time. That was just so I could be able to show everyone that I was still here, because I hadn’t released anything for a very long time. And then, after that, about three/four months after, I dropped another mixtape with a single, ”Not about me” and that was more of an introduction to who I am now, like what I’m about and to let everyone know this is who I am, and give people a taste of my skills and what I can do and what I’m capable of. I’m just about to release some other stuff as well this year, so I’ve got some more things coming.


What brands would we find in your wardrobe?

You’ll find some Puma, you’ll find some Adidas, you’ll find some Nikes, you’ll find some Urban Outfitters, H&M, Topman and some vintage.

How would you describe your style in one word?

I’m very JIGGY.

What can we look forward to from you this year? Any projects you have planned this year?

There’s going to be more visuals, I’m putting all my creativity into it and my ideas and some more music but I’m going to do it in a very abstract way. The last video was very abstract and the next video is going to be way more out there, so I’m going to try and incorporate that into my stuff.

 

MUGUN

What is your real name and how did you come up with your stage name Mugun?

Real name is Joshua. I came up with the name from an Anime, the Chinese cartoon. It was given to me by a man I chill with. I was trying to figure out a name, and we were talking about anime and they searched it out and found a name that was like my character.

Where do you live and where are you from?

Live in Coventry, from Jamaican.

How long have you been doing music for?

A year.

Tell me about some of the stuff you’ve done so far in your musical journey?

I didn’t really think too much as to how I was coming out with music at first, I was just releasing track after track, hadn’t really worked on a chorus at all. So I was just releasing straight freestyles I like.

My first ever song was on SoundCloud and it was up for two weeks, and we shot a video for it, didn’t like it, and then we shot a video for Chillin Killin which went onto P11O and that’s how Grime Daily found me.

Tell me how you felt when Grime Daily got in contact?

It was really surreal to me, obviously where I’m from as well, Coventry, it’s small, and as soon as everyone saw me on Grime Daily, my friends did talk to me, a lot of people who didn’t speak to me in Coventry started to speak to me just because of Grime Daily.

Describe your genre of music.

At the moment, I’m trying to make more indoor, thought about, depressive music, really more thought about, things that are going on in real life. Things that probably a lot of teenagers don’t like, loads of things I didn’t think I had the answers to when I was younger, I’m trying to answer them questions. A bit more conscious rap without so much seriousness to it.

Tell me about some of the music you dropped so far and describe them as well.

So in Chillin Killin, I was trying to explain what I’m around most of the time, which was more Grimey, and Word, which is dropping out today, which is the first time I ever switched it down.

When I first started writing, I was 17, that’s when I was more into grime and talking about what I do, that’s what I was into, and that’s what Waves and Wagwarn and Chillin Killin kind of came out. I was still trying to find my grasp on where I was trying to go with this, and then, when I made a move, I just wanted to make a track like everybody else, I was trying to stay in with what they’re doing, whilst doing grime. Then I thought, that wasn’t my kind of wave, I could do it but it wasn’t me. I tried to go on based what I listen to and what makes me kind of zone out, what I really like to jam out to, so I started to listen to a lot more Lauren Hill, Erica B… and that all influenced where everything’s going now, the whole EP, Word, everything that’s coming afterwards has got a lot more soul in it because I’m trying to make actual music instead of just trying to fit the Grime genre. I’m just trying to make music and make it listenable. I’m not a guy that will turn on Kiss and start listening to anything that’s out there that people like listening to, and I’m not somebody who stays in with the charts, I’m trying to make music that will hopefully last.

What brands would we find in your wardrobe?

You’ll find a bit of Ralph Lauren, Stussy, a lot of Tommy, a couple Supreme items, but I’m not rich. You’ll find a lot of collabs – I’ve got some adidas x Palace stuff in my wardrobe, a lot of vintage and Skater Guns.

Describe your style in one word.

Vintage.

What can we look forward from you this year?

A lot. Everything’s going to be new, everything that I’m going to do this year you would have never heard me do before, nothing is the same as last year. For example, everything was about street rapping and freestyling, I didn’t care about a chorus, I just had something to say and I was trying to make people listen to it, and now it’s more like I really want you to zone out. I’m doing a collab with a new artist called Shayma, big up Shayma because we’re not on the same kind of train at all, but somehow we’ve made some classic music. You’re going to be expecting me to come up with a guy called K1 from Coventry, who, like myself, is pretty much the same but a white guy and he’s a versatile rapper and he’s good. I took him to new grime order freestyle, we kind of got shunned at first because of the way we were dressed, but then it all switched off as soon as we hit the mics.

So you’ve performed in front of people already? How did you feel? When was the first time you performed?

Yea, it was terrifying. The first time I performed was last year, because of Grime Daily, I was making a lot of noise in Coventry because of Grime Daily, and they were like who is this Mugun guy, we have to get him, and when they got me, they knew exactly who I was, I was just this little guy and then they threw me on stage, there were 3000 people, I’d never seen that many people in my life, so I just went with it, I couldn’t pussy out, I had to grab it by the balls and just go.

PUZZLE

So tell me where you are from?

I am originally from Brazil but now I live in London and have been here for over a decade.

Where abouts in London are you from?

I live in East London, Shoreditch way.

How long have you bee doing music for?

Professionally since I was a teenager really, I have used to sing in a gospel ministry back home in Brazil and then I recorded a few albums with them. When I moved to London, I was doing a lot of session singing with different artists and had different projects.

How would you describe your music?

The sound is electronic, pop and it’s quite dark. It is an experimental sound, that’s the way I see it. It is leaning to the left field but still with a pop sensibility and the way I write is very pop.

How did you come up with the name ‘Puzzle’?

I was trying to find a word that explained why I made music, so I started asking myself why am I writing and what am I trying to say with that? The answer was I was trying to work out the human condition I guess, in a way. It made me realise that we are made up of all these parts and pieces which are our fears, desires, secrets and passions. All of those things create who we are and to me, it sounds like we are puzzles.

Does that name describe your music as well?

I guess so yeah, in each song, there is an emotion that I am exploring so I guess I am trying to paint the picture and create a soundscape delving into those ideas.

Tell us about some of the music you are about to release.

My first EP came out on the March 3. It’s called Babylon and it is a commentary on physical and emotional interactions in the digital age and how that affects the way we deal with each other. So I explore those themes inside the EP.

Why did you decide to explore that?

I think everyone is focusing on the digital side of things now and our lives have become very concentrated on that and I think that is affecting the quality of some relationships to an extent. It’s not necessarily giving an answer to it but it is kind of like going “Ok this is actually happening.” How we have our hearts broken and how we find instant pleasures. All of those things that are happening now I just thought were interesting. Visually I am trying to show these ideas as well.

Tell me about your appearance. The paint you use to create your own look, tell us more about that and why you choose to have this?

I like escapism and Puzzle is about escapism. I’m really into video games and fantasy books and also films that are escapist. I like creating this thing that people don’t see in their everyday lives. For me, it is important as an artist to portray something that is exciting and takes people somewhere else instead of their everyday routines. I like the theatrics and the drama of things. I like to incorporate that in small ways into what I do, I find it exciting creating things that people are not necessarily thinking about. The sense of discovery is a big part of what I do.

Describe your style in one word.

Experimental.

What brands will we find in your wardrobe?

I like Rick Owens, Rabbithole London which is a really cool brand out in Camden. Craig Green, I am starting to like which is super cool. Bits and bobs really if I am out and about and see something, I’ll just buy it.

What can we look forward to this year?

More music for sure, new videos as I am trying to push the visual part of it and stuff that is a bit more out there. Hopefully, some live performances and just working on new material and just keep doing what I am doing.


OMYO

What are your individual names?

Tom and Will.

Where are you guys from?

Just outside of Oxfordshire, about 40 minutes from London. It’s a pretty musical area, Fouls are from there, Jamiroquai lives near us. We’re country boys really.

Why did you call yourself OMYO?

It stands for ‘Our Music Your Opinion’, on our second track that we were writing we were also writing for some Korean bands as well and we needed a name. We were just writing for the fun of it and then the song went in the New Look campaign and we didn’t have a name. It is a simple name and it works, it flows and is our brand. The merchandise that we have been experimenting with just flows with it. We want to do a capsule collection and collaborations with brands, we think that’d be pretty cool.

How long have you guys been doing music for?

We met two and a half years ago in a pub on New Year’s Eve and just bumped into each other and got chatting. We made a bet to write a song, I heard he was a good singer and I had messed around on some software. So we were just like let’s meet up and see what we can do. We were just constantly sending stuff via WhatsApp because one of us was up north and the other down south. The first year and a half we had only met each other about 10 times, so we would just create the outlines of a track and then book a studio. The second song we wrote was used in the New Look campaign and played on BBC Radio 1 Extra and then our first gig was Wireless Festival. We literally had no songs though so we had to play two different versions of the same songs.

So you feel like you kind of just got thrown into the industry?

Yeah, so because we own our own label, we built a team, we have press and marketing. We do the branding and build our content for social. We just did a live session with Fila, we just did a mini documentary with Blood Brother and some mini shoots with New Look and did their womenswear campaign.

You did their womenswear campaign?

Yeah, they did a music video with us and then they put two female models in it for their womenswear campaign. The whole collaboration with fashion is something that we are really interested in.

Do you think it is important to be part of the fashion world when you are doing music?

100%, the creative industry, in general, is just really important to get involved with clothing, music as they take inspiration from each other. Music takes inspiration from fashion and fashion takes inspiration from music. They kind of bounce off each other, we work with big brands and they bring us inspiration and content. Even fashion students coming through hustling, they can inspire you in different ways. We can help a brand reach different markets that they want to but don’t know how and other brands can help us reach other markets. We’ve been introduced to all these Danish brands and now reaching out to the Danish market and they want to use us to get more plugs across to the UK.

How would you guys describe your music?

It’s a pop, electro and R&B type thing. There is also a bit of soul as well, my grandad was a soul singer and I grew up listening to Motown. It’s mainly good music people can relate to and good music that people can listen to. Just writing about different things like inspirational stuff or love and relationships. It’s something people can connect to on a daily basis.

Tell us about some of the tracks that you’ve released.

We brought out one single last year with the New Look Campaign, so we did that and it was like the record of the day, the track of the week in The Sun, Mirror, and BBC. We had to bring that out because of the campaign as it coincided with that. They found all our demos and asked us to finish them off. We have been finishing off our album so we have singles coming out in April, there will be like two or three singles and then the album will be coming out in September.

What would we find in your wardrobe?

There is a lot of black clothing in my wardrobe and like smart streetwear like Blood Brother and GCS that are an Italian brand. In mine, you’ll find a lot more comfy clothes. I like Levis, a lot of denim and just simple clothing really that you can make your own. It doesn’t have to be something that stands out, I think if you wear it how you want to wear it then that’s good.

What can we look forward to this year?

Our debut single is coming out mid-April through our imprint label on Universal and we shot the video in NY with the styling done by River Island and we have just signed with Marshall Arts Touring agency so we will be hitting the road May through to September. We have just filmed a series of live studio sessions with New Look so they will be out this year too. This week, we are actually off to Berlin to play a show Friday and then straight back to perform at the BBC to support Sam Bailey. We have also soundtracked a huge global fashion campaign but we can’t say who that is just yet! A big Argentinian rapper is remixing one of our songs and releasing a video which we filmed our parts for it recently so that will be big. Our debut album comes out this September and we have also been put forward by BBC Introducing to perform at Radio 1 Big Weekend so we have our fingers crossed for that!

Interested in getting featured next? Email kiran@pausemag.co.uk (music only).






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