SIPHO is showing his mean-yet-classy side with his latest new album taster. Read our latest Dork Playlist cover feature now.
Words: Sam Taylor.
Photos: Marco Grey.
Birmingham newcomer SIPHO. is currently on the home straight for his debut album ‘PRAYERS & PARANOIA’, out next month via Dirty Hit. A record that both looks back to his childhood while reckoning with trying to become a proper grown-up, it can’t promise to help you with your adulting, but it can make you feel a bit better about the journey.
Today, he’s dropping the latest taster of it. ‘LOCK IT IN (NO REGRETS)’ follows up on the already shared ‘SOBER’, ‘ARMS’, and ‘THE CHEMICALS’. Showing his respect and reverence for the UK’s rich history of dance music, it’s a mix of funk, rock, soul and gospel that SIPHO himself describes as “awesome, evil, bombastic”. He’s not wrong, either.
Hi SIPHO.! How’s it going? What are you up to today, anything fun?
Hey Dork! Just busy adulting, hehe. Right now, I’m sat in my mate’s flat with the cats. About to make dinner for everyone. Chicken stew and dumplings. Nothing like winter food in the middle of a British summer.
Tell us about your time as a musician so far – how did you start out?
I kinda started out making stuff after school with my boy Nick (absolute GOAT) and dropping it on SoundCloud. Just practising curating projects and EPs. Deffo come a long way from there.
And what have been your highlights? Have you ticked much off your bucket list?
Yeah, ticked off a lot surprisingly quick, honestly. Jools Holland, Colors, and just being able to share my experience with people who love me. Touching a lot of hearts along the way. All real blessings and extra perks of just being able to make music for real.
You’re about to release your debut album, ‘Prayers & Paranoia’ – when did you start work on it? Does it feel to have been a long time in the making?
Yoooo! It’s actually quite mental that we’re here already. I started last year. Lost all the demos to a spill on my MacBook, then started again. Lots of chaos, life changes and days sick in the booth. So yeah, pretty long year, haha.
How did you approach curating the tracklisting?
It’s one of the most important parts of the process for me. The first third is where I get to go off and be experimental (show people how weird I am basically), the next third is just a bit of dark epiphany, and the final third is me in my classic British bag, some tracks with Paul Epworth (‘Rolling In The Deep’) and Eg White (‘Chasing Pavements’, ‘Leave Right Now’). That last part is a vibe. That all coincides with the progression of my thought processes and discoveries as a Gen Z kid growing up in the wildest times we’ve ever seen.
You’ve just released your new single ‘Lock It In (No Regrets)’. Where did that one come from? How does it fit into the record?
That’s the spontaneous tune I made with Paul Epworth. Just an awesome, evil, bombastic track that let me tickle my funk itch, while also pretending to be a local villain (or am I even pretending?). It’s the culmination of listening to James Brown, Sly Stone and Funkadelic for ages. It’s kind of the last intentional hurrah of the evil character before it all catches up to them later.
It sounds like you’ve really dug deep in terms of topics you’ve tackled – is there anything you’re particularly pleased to have addressed on the record?
I feel like this album has less of a big statement than my last two EPs. I can spend all day screaming about the bullshit I see us all doing, which has helped me learn so much about myself. But now it’s time to worry about myself, where I’m going and what the future can hold if I don’t figure myself out now. Basically trying to be the man I wanna be. What’s weird is I had no idea what I was writing about the whole time I was making it, and then my life came together in the months after to make sense of what I was saying, so it was meant to be, I guess.
“It’s time to worry about myself, where I’m going and what the future can hold”Sipho
Does the finished album match your idea of what you thought your debut album would be, back when you started making music? What were your hopes for it in those early days?
Joe and I had a massive whiteboard where I wrote all my references and influences. From Brittany Howard and Alabama Shakes to Joy Crookes and Radiohead, 4hero, Goldie and more. I learnt a long time ago to not expect it to sound exactly like what’s in your head. So many souls and experiences are going to touch and influence the trajectory of the songs. I tried to think more about how I wanted it to feel. And it feels good, like exactly what I needed to get me to the next point in my journey.
Have you played the record for many friends and family? What has their reaction been?
I’ve played it for some friends, and they’re excited. They got to hear me play with all the sounds and vibes I chew their ear off about all the time (what a nerd, right?).
What else are you working on at the moment?
More music. Doing research, and studying sounds and palettes and textures that I desire. Teaching myself about film and video production (as you may have seen in my recent self-directed content), but also learning balance and adulting and practicing loving my loved ones. I wanna be a father and a husband etc., and that takes skill and practice too, so I can’t drown myself in the creative process all the time, or I’ll just be a bizarre dude that can make some slapping tunes.
Is there anything else we should know?
Drink water, try to laugh at least once a day, and Dork, you’re the absolute best for having me. I’d really love to do this again sometime. Let’s sync calendars xxx ■
SIPHO.’s album ‘Prayers & Paranoia’ is out 27th October. Follow Dork Playlist on Spotify here.