After giving us an amazing album ‘Capricon’. Afri kat is back again with another amazing EP Retrograde. Inspired by her own life and experience, Retrograde is populated by growing pains, new experiences, and self-discovery. Her new EP was recorded at Iris Studios and it involved itskvm, who mainly engineered the whole EP, Ndolo who directed the shot footage, and Mood Orin and Kishè who were featured on the album.
What is your current music project about?
I’ve been asked this question a lot, and I feel like each time I come up with a new answer because Retrograde is about so many things. But if I was to generalize and give it one word, I would say that word is growth. Many of my music projects are centered around my own life and my experiences. The past few months and the time leading up to the recording of Retrograde have been populated by growing pains, new experiences, and self-discovery.
What has been the most challenging aspect of your current release?
The deadlines have definitely driven us all crazy. I have never worked on a music project with a tight deadline in my life. Usually, songs just come out whenever they’re ready. Case and point; even with the release of this new EP, I am still in the process of rolling out the songs from my debut album, Capricorn. The entire project was written, recorded, mixed, and mastered within exactly two weeks because that was the deadline the team and I had set for it. But meeting that deadline was tough for all of us; it involved sleepless nights and a lot of stress and self-sacrifice. Even after all that, the crazy thing is that I would still do it again and again and again!
What drew you to this preferred genre?
I wouldn’t say that anything drew me into the genre. In fact, it’s something that I never envisioned myself doing. Pop music requires structure, and it also needs to be relatable to be good. These are both areas that I have struggled in historically. As I have mentioned before, my songwriting process and content are usually very self-centered. Sometimes, it’s difficult for people to relate to me. Doing the pop genre was a challenge given to me by my team members, and because they believed in me and my ability, I decided to trust them and try. I was told it would be fun. I don’t know how, but I began to truly enjoy the work somewhere along the line, and doing pop has played a big part in bringing back my love for music. It’s pretty ironic, and to be honest, I don’t know if I’m ever going to produce a record like this again. Still, the experience has opened me up to more experimenting, and for that, I am eternally grateful. Also, no one told me marketing yourself as a Pop artist is so fun??
What was the personal goal while creating the EP?
To be very Honest, I feel like this project is for me and not anyone else. In the creation stages, I didn’t think about what the fans wanted or how my listeners would feel, or what I wanted to tell them. I have been out of the recording booth for some time facilitating promotional and press stuff for the Capricorn album, and I felt a little like I had lost my touch. I had missed writing music and recording, and I just really wanted to get my groove back. I was going through a mild depressive phase and writer’s block while planning for Retrograde. It felt like everything had gotten too serious too quickly. I found myself longing to feel like a kid again. The time surrounding Retrograde was also a very confusing part of my life. I felt like everything was in chaos. Still, at the same time, I also felt like pieces of a puzzle was coming together. For the first time in a couple of years, I have begun to learn how to love myself again and cherish myself for the person I am. I began to become more self-assured. I needed a way to express all of that and what better way to do that than music.
How did you go about writing the songs? Did you have a melody in your head while writing the music?
I worked with itskvm on this project. He is a prolific beatmaker and sound engineer. He made all the beats for the EP, which he would send to me. I didn’t have a single melody or idea during this time; I would just listen to the beats over and over again while I was doing random things, walking, doing the dishes, or running errands, and did not attempt to write anything on them I just wanted to enjoy the beats for what they were. Later on, when we finally got into the Booth, I wrote the songs alongside itskvm and Ndolo Mwangangi. Mood Orin was a big help, giving me lines and encouragement when I got stuck.
How did you deal with writer’s block?
Not well. This was my first time ever dealing with writer’s block. Most times, I was just really frustrated at myself for not doing what I was supposed to do. On several occasions, I did end up walking out of the studio and having a good cry by myself just because I couldn’t think of a line. It was heartbreaking while it was happening. I am only blessed to have the team that I do. I work with some of the most encouraging and Wise people in this industry, in my opinion, and they are the ones that kept me going. They made me feel better when I felt inadequate. I felt like they literally moved mountains for me when I got stuck, and I will be forever grateful for that. Unfortunately, I don’t have any good advice on dealing with writer’s block. Still, Ndolo, itskvm, and Mood told me every day, ” don’t force it, don’t think about it too much, and trust the process.” That got me through the storm
Who else was involved in writing, recording, or producing the songs?
itskvm engineered the whole thing. Mood is the project’s Executive Producer. He helped me create the album art, edited my teaser, and made the audio spectrum. He’s featured on “Jupiter,” Ndolo is my creative director and shot all the footage you will see. Kishé is featured on “Uranus.”
Where was your current project recorded?
How do you plan on advertising your music?
Haha! I think one look at my socials will answer that.
Do you have any other plans relating to this release?
Definitely watch out for the “Heavy” Music video! I also hope to appear live in a couple of places…There is a reason why we are advertising this as The Retrograde Project and not just Retrograde EP. This is because there is so much more content attached to this project. For starters, there is a documentary on the creation process coming out soon. I am very excited to welcome the public into my process and life as an artist. I also plan to do a lot of merchandising pertaining to this project; this includes photography and art prints, a nude photobook, clothing, and jewelry merchandise. Plus, my book “The Anthology” is back in stock! I have partnered with several other creatives like photographers, painters, models, and designers to create something beautiful and cohesive that represents my brand. I’m super excited about what’s to come, but I can’t tell you too much yet because I don’t want to spoil the surprise!
What is your ambition as a songwriter and musician from here?
I have so much more to give and a million roads to explore. My ambition for music has remained unchanging. I just want to create something beautiful that will inspire someone else. Now that I have conquered Pop, I want to try every single genre from hyper afro to smooth jazz! In the first interview with Epic Pulse, I talked about my desire to do film scoring, and I finally realized that dream this year. I’m also currently scoring my own short film and those of my friends and colleagues.
What would you like to tell your fans right now?
I’ve had a problem with consistency for several years, not just in my professional life but in my private life as well. I know that it can be a pain, and I am highly grateful for the support and love regardless of my flaws. This year barring an actual act of God, I plan to repay that loyalty tenfold with as much quality content and fashion as I can possibly create. Keep it #TeamZ! I will give every last breath I have to my people and my art, and as always, I love my fans very much.
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