Living a Lie: ASBO meets Omelet
Omelet is a 23 year old producer, rapper, and musician from South London. Known as a member of the underground collective Neverland Clan, he recently dropped an instrumental release called ‘Living a Lie’. Omelet invited me to his home in Catford to discuss his latest release, his musical journey, and what the future holds for him...
What was the inspiration for working on something that’s instrumental only?
I started making instrumentals first before I started rapping or doing vocal stuff. Because I haven’t really released that much stuff, most of the stuff that’s been on Soundcloud’s been little demos. I dropped one small project like 5 years ago, so I wanted to start again, but I wanted to start with instrumentals so that people can look back on my journey and be like – okay this guy started making beats first. So that was just like me stapling that as I am a producer – I can do other stuff as well but this is me first.
Okay, so it’s important that people know that the production is the predominant thing?
Yeah! Well not really the predominant thing, but it’s my sound and it will develop init, so it’s kinda like a map. Like okay he started from here and now he’s gone and done this after, you know what I mean?
I get that. So are you thinking of doing more releases soon that have more of a rapping focus then?
I feel like with me I don’t really plan in a way where I’m like, oh yeah I’m gonna make a rap album and then I’m gonna do this… you know whatever happens I might make a rap album and I might do instrumentals, I might do like three instrumental albums. I wanna do like other stuff with visuals and shit so I just wanna be in the medium of music and art, and doing different things but incorporating music with it. So vocals, I’ll do albums as well, but loads of stuff overall.
Living a Lie is a heavy title, are there any strong themes or a message that you’re trying to convey with that?
Yeah it was kinda like, at the time I felt like I was not doing shit I should be doing. So that was kinda the theme of it, but I was kind of in it from a place where I know what I need to be doing now. So giving that message to people in a sense. The instrumentals have got nothing really to do with that theme, the instrumentals are just my style of music, but that was just a general message init.
So that message ties them all in in a sense?
In a sense yeah. I just felt like I hadn’t released anything for a while so I wanted to put that one out.
Does the cover art have any particular meaning to it? It’s quite an interesting cover cause there’s a lot going on.
It’s over there! (Omelet showed me the view from his window, from which the entire frame of the Living a Lie cover was visible) It’s my garden, in the summer when I was making it I was in there all the time, so I just thought I’d use that as the cover art, I thought it all just looked nice. It incorporates everything in it, that’s where the music came from. It’s a visual way for you to know my sound a whatever, my inspiration and what’s around me.
What got you into making music? Were you starting out with beats originally?
Nah, so like with the piano – in school obviously everyone does music but I wanted to play the piano, I asked my music teacher if she could teach me but she was like nah.
Hahaha that’s kinda peak, I mean that’s what they’re there to do
She was like, nah I can’t do that, but to be honest I think it was cause like teachers can’t teach kids outside of school and whatever, cause they might think they’re gonna do some weird shit or something. But she introduced me to this blind guy who lives down the road from me. I did lessons with him when I was like 10. I was weird cause with him being blind, this don could just play! But at the time I thought piano was corny, I was like ah fuck this. I was the kid who used to just change like (snaps fingers) ah I’m into this, and then I’d be like fuck that I wanna do another one. So my mum and my dad bought me the piano when I was like 10. I played it for like a month before I was like fuck this. You know, just playing football and doing shit like that. I always knew where chords were but I never knew how to play and put them together. So this summer I thought fuck this, I might as well – I’ve got this piano, I mean let’s just actually learn it. So I just played that throughout the summer. I’m not like a trained musician, I just work by ear so whatever sounds nice to me.
But I mean you’ve got the feel naturally cause you’re into music
Yeah exactly. I just put it with my own instrumentals, my own drum loops and did whatever and mixed them together.
When you got more into music stuff, what was the way you made things? Was there something in particular you took to or was it production?
Yeah I think I was getting to a point where I was saying, okay you’ve made this beat like a hundred times, I started working with singers like Carl (@carlieblaque), I was working with this girl called Camille (Camille Munn) too. Just going to different worlds and making it sound a bit more, I don’t know. Still dirty but more polished in a sense. I think now that learning instruments is important. So I mean even thought, like I got this guitar. The nut on it is fucked but I’ve had it for ages, my uncle bought me that when I was like eleven. The guy sold me it for like 30 quid. I could even just buy my own nut but I think I prefer for them to do it.
So yeah I feel like it’s important to at least know how to get around an instrument at least. I think it would be good to mesh the two, software stuff but with acoustic instruments.
For Living a Lie, I hear a lot of piano embedded. When you were creating stuff, was the piano something that started tracks or was it something you added on top of things?
Nah it would be something that I added on later. So like I would probably have a 16 bar loop with a couple of changes, but after a while I just thought this needs something else. So I would just have it playing in the speakers and just be playing around, playing around. And sometimes I would use it, like I would just maybe play piano and record, and then use it as a sample. That was pretty much how those parts came about on this.
Is there more stuff on the way with Neverland Clan? Are you guys on a hiatus right now?
Nah it’s not really a hiatus. We make music but as a group we don’t really see each other really as a music group. We make music together but we all do other things together. We have an album that we haven’t dropped yet that’s we’ve finished recording, we just need to mix it and stuff. There’s stuff that we’re doing but everyone’s just doing separate things, but it’s more an energy we bring, it’s not just about music. It’s a way of thinking, in art and music.
Ryan Hawaii brings the clothing stuff, conceptually do the things he’s doing and the things you’re doing as a group, are they on similar wavelengths or is it each a different thing that gets brought together? Are they connected conceptually?
They’re not connected, his clothing and art stuff is done separately to what I’m doing. But I think just because of the relationship me and him have in terms of what we are trying to do and how we think, they still integrate together in that sense. But it’s only because we have the same ethos in a sense. It’s the same wavelength but different mediums I guess. So that’s why I wanted to use his stuff for the shoot.
What does the future hold for you, Omelet?
I wake up every day and just go along haha. Nah, I’m just working with other people, I’m trying to finish off a new EP that I’ve been doing for a while, I want that to be my next release. But yeah, I got some ideas that I wanna do. After the EP I wanna do some more instrumental stuff. I dunno, I’m kinda just fishing around and trying not to think about it too much.
Is there an ETA on the next EP?
You could get it in the summer, you could get it for Christmas. I dunno now, I’m trying to give myself at least a period where I want things to be done but I’m not giving myself a date yet. It’s til I feel that it’s correct and I’ll put it out. I don’t feel any pressure at the moment, you know what I mean? So the beauty in that is that I have time to concentrate and make it sound like something that I wanna put my name next to.
If you could say anything with the stuff you make, is there one thing you want to say?
I think there’s certain things that I try to embody, but I think I’m still working it out for myself to be honest. When I start releasing more stuff there’ll probably be a pattern of things you’ll notice, but I’m still at the same time trying to figure out what type of artist I’m trying to be, and that’s why I’m not rushing too much. Most of it is reflective but positive at the same time. Even Living a Lie, it’s reflective but the message is overall positive. I try to be a realist with the shit that I put out. It could be positive, it could be negative. But the underlying message will be positive.
‘Living a Lie’ is available on Spotify and most other online music streaming services and stores now.
Interview by Von Bismarck
Photography by Jeffery William O’Shea James