In the week that Archeo‘s debut single “Mr General” was launched to general acclaim – causing one of the red top dailies to ask who ordered up a new Calvin Harris – GIITTV’s Mike Hughes got to chat to the 21 year old Londoner.
We’ve been pretty darn impressed by the single ourselves, not least by it’s lack of shame about its pop heritage and sheen. Comparisons to such a talented artist as Harris were bound to be made, but it was doubly refreshing to discover another dimension to Archeo. He also had the chops playing acoustic, a cappella and in a nice winter jumper in front of the fire.
So, were we going to find some carefully manufactured popsicle? Actually no, we instead discovered a down to earth and focused guy who seems to have the knack of attracting exactly the right sort of production collaborators to enhance rather than re-invent his sound. He promises to work his ass off to get you, and we definitely get the feeling he’ll go far. This is what he had to say for himself
Hi there Archeo – how are you today?
Do you want to introduce yourself?
Hi, I’m Archeo!
I’ve been really enjoying ‘Mr General’, but you’ve got me really curious. The maturity and swagger of your sound, it feels like you’ve been hidden away and polished and practised by some production team for years on end, but I suspect that’s maybe a long way from the truth. Would you be up for telling us how you’ve got to the point you’re at?
About 3 years ago I started making demos. I’ve just been honing in on my sound and finally I am able to put myself out there, doing so on my own label, Music Mantra. It’s really a decision to start creating my own path.
Do you want to tell us about the single, what it’s about, how it’s come about?
It’s a bragging 2 minute 50 second song about confrontation. I remember feeling somewhat anxious about life and what I wanted to accomplish and the people around me who said it wasn’t possible. The song was written in 5 minutes.
Is it representative, or is each one different?
I think the strongest ideas are representative, but I certainly don’t limit myself, and will sometimes borrow stories from other people and write about them.
You’ve got pretty impressive names in for production, is that the sign of some big backing somewhere?
It’s all just based on good vibes. I’m working with people who believe in me and share similar interests.
How much of what we hear is all your own work? Is there a balance to be drawn between having some great producers or collaborators, and giving up too much? (Archeo shared production on Mr General with Steve Osbourne who has otherwise twiddled knobs for Suede and New Order)
I’ll write the songs then bring it in to the studio to work on it. We then scrutinise what makes it succeed and fail, and then add all the bells and whistles. I think it is important as an artist to figure out what works best for you. Also you have to learn to delegate and distance yourself at times from what you’re making, and that can be by letting someone into your space. It allows you to have a perspective, which can be very hard if you confine yourself to your own ego.
How would you describe the noise you make?
Neo-pop. It draws from the roots of music I am most inspired by, like the bottom of funk to 90s pop songwriting and hip-hop techniques throughout the 00s. Ultimately, it is a different take on something that is already established, as pop is a changing landscape, I am aiming to create these types of songs but in a way that they come from a different place.
Did you grow up on a rich musical heritage? Tell us about it.
Not especially. My home was dead quiet, and I just immersed myself in music under my headphones. Browsing the internet allowed me to discover lots of music I never knew existed. When I’m not making music, I’m studying it.
I’ve gathered from your bio that you have lived around the world, at least until you settled in London. I can relate to that, my own folks did much the same a generation before. Pitching up back in the UK, and in my tenth school at the age of 11 was in many ways awesome fun, but at the same time ensured that I had my ties with friends severed on a regular basis. How did you find the whole thing? Do you think it contributed to your artistic formation, maybe channeled your energy?
I believe that more than anything, my globe-trotting lifestyle has just fuelled an ambition to reach and entertain as many people as possible. It’s quite a broad statement to make for sure, but I think that’s what attributes to this passion I have.
I did a bit of research. Well actually I somewhat lazily clicked on your twitter feed at the exact right moment to see you tweet – “Still too much to prove and work on. Growing day by day.” – care to elaborate?
Again, it’s just constantly trying to better myself, learning and being able to one-up what I’ve already done. So if I didn’t get you this time, I’ll work my ass off trying to get you the next time. I’m overly determined and that can be quite draining, but I think I am in the process of learning how to channel that energy into something that’s positive and progressive.
Have you done much playing live? Do you think touring remains a necessary rite of passage in this day and age? Are we going to see you treading the boards up and down the provinces in the near future?
Live is the best part for me, the stage is ultimately where I found a voice. What appeals to me the most is that when you do play a show, you have a crowd who may not have ever heard of you before, and what’s exciting is working them and winning them over. I find a lot of fulfilment in being able to instantly receive an opinion.
What’s next? I’m sure there’s a game plan, is there an album on its way somewhere?
Working on my album at the moment, but I will be revealing more news soon!
Thanks Archeo, I’m very much enjoying what I’m hearing and looking forward with real interest, all the best.
Thank you Mike, pleasure!