Get Familiar: Paris Rabone
Interview by Passion Dzenga | Photography by Violette Esmeralda
Hand-picked by Ms. Erykah Badu, Paris Rabone is a key part of our Patta x Converse '4 Leaf Clover' campaign. With creativity bursting at the seams, he is one talent that we want you to get familiar with. Paris Rabone has a rich bag on influences that he takes with him into his creative expressions. Find out more about experimentation, growing up in a record store and the creative process behind his debut single, "Marrow".
Can you tell us about your background and how you got into music?
I’ve always been obsessed with music. My family are from St Lucia and music is so integral to our culture, so it started there - through experiencing how uninhibited Caribbean music is. One of my earliest musical memories is seeing Aaliyah perform on TV in the late 90s. I remember feeling so overwhelmed. My jaw dropped.
What was your experience like growing up in a record shop, and how did it shape your musical taste?
It was wonderful really. The shop was on Berwick St in Soho and it specialised in Black music. Berwick St was the spot for records back then.. the street was full of music shops. The only way for customers to sample the CD’s was for us to play them through the big system we had, so I was constantly hearing music that was new and unknown to me. From Highlife and Afrobeat to Coltrane. That really broadened my tastes from young.
Can you talk about your musical influences and how they have impacted your artistic style?
I have so many. Erykah Badu is a hero of mine. Aaliyah also. I adore Smokey Robinson, one of my favourite songwriters - he’s so sensitive. Sun Ra. Alice Coltrane is immensely beautiful. Grizzly Bear are my favourite band. Dilla. All of these artists march to the beat of their own drum. I love music that is immersive.. when it feels like you’re entering the artists’ own universe. I try to convey the same feeling in my work.
Can you tell us about your debut single, "Marrow," and what inspired the song?
I wrote Marrow during a tough break-up. I was feeling so many different things and making music was one of the few ways I was processing what was going on. The song is split into three sections; 1: that point in a separation where you feel the end is imminent, 2: the chaos of the separation, and then 3; that point where you start to rebuild yourself again.
I guess the song is about loss, shedding what once gave you great comfort - and trying to trust you’ll be stronger once you get through the sting.
Your music is described as eclectic and experimental. Can you expand on that and how you approach creating new music?
It’s one big experiment - I don’t know what I’m doing half the time but that’s the fun in it.
Playing with music brings me so much joy - layering opposite sounds on-top of each other, or contorting sounds until they’re weird but still somehow make sense. Then calling on friends to add their own energy to what I’ve started. Kind of like building a ship.
I really enjoy playing with arrangements; having distinct sections to a song, or maybe a chorus that doesn’t repeat. Creating outside of a conventional structure feels the most honest sometimes, whether I’m trying to convey chaos for example or a whole emotional journey in a song.
What has been the biggest challenge you've faced in your music career so far and how did you overcome it?
Honestly the biggest challenge up until this point has been believing in myself. Getting out of my own way I guess. I’ve been making music in my bedroom for time but I’ve only felt ready to share it fairly recently. Building a support network of creative people I trust helped significantly.
Can you share any exciting projects or plans you have in the works for the future?
I’m releasing this single ‘MARROW’, which is a part of a larger project I’ve been working on that will follow soon after. I’m mad excited to finally be putting music out into the world.
What advice would you give to aspiring musicians who are just starting out?
To keep creative, even when you’re not making music. I’ve got a friend that’s making clothes out of ribbons and bows when he’s not doing his main thing and it’s cool af. I’mma try make a plate next week.
What do you hope listeners take away from your music?
I hope people get a sense of what my inner and emotional world is like.. And if that provokes a feeling in them (any feeling) I’d be grateful. I’d love it if my music could be a safe space for a listener to explore their own emotions.
How do you see your music evolving in the future?
I’m not sure to be honest. I just hope it unfolds naturally and I continue to feel it’s a genuine reflection of where I’m at and what I want to say. And that it get’s weirder and weirder.