On his new album UK rapper Loyle Carner (aka Ben Coyle-Larner) has immortalised his parents. He explains to Rip Nicholson that he just wants to talk about what’s relevant.
LOYLE CARNER interviewed January 19, 2017
For Street Press Australia [VIEW HERE]
As a point of difference to the usual US rap culture pervading our mainstream, Ben Coyle-Larner (artist name: Loyle Carner) makes music that peruses diary entries or family albums and presents the persona of a young man entering adulthood. For the 22-year-old South Londoner, this provides space for his innermost thoughts and feelings or, as he puts it, real talk.
“That’s how it has to be. I’ve got no illusions that when I start making an album, I’m speaking for now. So if I make an album when I’m 30, it will be about being 30. I never really thought much of a message but I guess now that it’s cool to open up and it’s cool not to be cool. Instead of worrying about having loads of cash or whatnot, just talk about what’s relevant to you and fingers crossed people listen to it.”
“You might be making a little bit more money and riding a tour bus as opposed to the train … but you can still lose people, you can still be brokenhearted.”
The video for his Ain’t Nothing Changed single, from his Yesterday’s Gone LP, released at the end of January, finds Coyle-Larner playing an older version of himself. When asked if he believes he’ll still be in the rap game in 20 years, he replies. “Yeah, I think so, man.
“Everyone keeps talking about, ‘You’re playing shows now that are a little bit bigger, are you worried the music’s going to change?'” he shares, before clarifying, “Okay, yeah, you might be making a little bit more money and riding a tour bus as opposed to the train, but there’s all the same stuff still happening. You can still lose people, you can still be brokenhearted, you can still be disillusioned by the weight of the world and how it’s turning out and I think that’s what’s important to keep writing about as opposed to writing about changes and currency.”
For now, Yesterday’s Gone (named in honour of his late stepfather’s unreleased album featuring a track of the same name) shows how close Coyle-Larner is with his family as shown in his final track, Sun Of Jean, which features both of his parents.
“Before my father passed away he made an album that we didn’t know about,” he divulges, explaining he kept tracks tucked away and unheard on his laptop until he “finally plucked up the courage to listen to it”. His father’s piano playing on Yesterday’s Gone became the heavily sampled album closer, over which his mother describes her son as “that scribble of a boy”. “It’s almost like it immortalises them for a lifetime, it’s crazy,” he admits.
It’s his brand of real talk on this LP that Coyle-Larner finds overwhelming to elaborate on, but this is also what lends gravitas. “For me, on this album I’ve said everything I’ve wanted to say, and I’ve done everything I’ve wanted to do, and it’s a very truthful snapshot of what it’s like to be me right now. And that’s all I can do. In my eyes it’s truly me and if that doesn’t go down well then that’s just how it is.”