Coco-Int-1048×600

“Home is always where the heart is” – Coco on new music, MOBOs and love for Sheffield

With the MOBOs just around the corner, Exposed catches up with Sheffield MC and producer Coco, whose year is already off to a flyer with a brand-new single, ‘Fly Tonight’, doing the rounds. The veteran star spoke with Joseph Food about new music, defining success and why it’s always love when he’s back in the Steel City.

It’s great to catch up. How’s the New Year been treating you?
I can’t lie, it’s been a good start. I passed my driving test this month, I’ve been announced as support on Example’s tour and I’ve got the new single out. It’s been a wicked beginning to the year and it’s just a case of starting as you mean to go on now. I’m shifting things up a gear this year.

The new tune, ‘Fly Tonight’, has been getting plenty of love. It’s another high-energy bop which sees you linking up with drum and bass don Tsuki. Will we be seeing some follow-up singles soon?
Yeah, I signed the deal with Helix Records last year. Initially, the idea was to do an EP but I want to get singles out. Spread it out a bit. I think that’ll translate better with that I’m trying to do.

Coco

“I’m shifting things up a gear this year.”

Over the years, we’ve seen you spitting over everything from old-school hip-hop beats to house tracks with Armand Van Helden. Would you say DnB is where you feel most at home at the moment?
I’ll always say grime. It’s what I started on and where I honed my craft, so I’d say that’s where I feel most at home. But even when I spit on grime, I like to do fast flows, so drum and bass also comes naturally to me. Even though I see grime as the roots of my music, I’m an artist and want to try out different genres. If you feel like you’re versatile enough to do it, why not?

The high-tempo tracks are perfect for the festival circuit too. Speaking of which, you’ll be back in Sheff for Tramlines this summer. You’ve played shows around the world, but those home shows must hit differently?
Yeah, drum and bass is so big in Europe. I played a festival in Estonia and before the show I had kids coming up to me in shopping centres – I was signing arms and everything! But every time I’m in Sheffield, it’s just love. It has been from the start of my career, and it always reminds me that no matter where you go around the world, home is always where the heart is.

Coco

After signing a deal with Helix Records, the Sheff-born MC has a number of releases planned for 2024. 

As you were saying, that relationship goes right back to the Remz n Coco days, when kids were walking around blaring your tunes out of their phones.
Bro! Them were the days!

Do you guys still chat?
Of course! Every day. I was talking to him the other day about getting back into music. He can still spit. But he’s always supported me with what I’ve been doing and I appreciate that, man.

While we’re on the local chat, let’s talk MOBOs. How inspiring do you think it is for upcoming artists to have this event come to the city?
I think it’s very inspiring. It’s a well-established ceremony celebrating music of black origin and the fact that it’s coming to Sheffield means a lot. I know there’s been a lot of work going on behind the scenes to celebrate it, and bringing the event here obviously gives good networking opportunities. It can only be a positive thing.

Events like Slambarz have been really good at highlighting a growing community of artists, lyricists, producers and creators in South Yorkshire. It seems to be bubbling a bit. As someone who earned their spurs on the local scene and made that step up, do you feel a sense of responsibility to the young artists coming through?
Definitely. What Dom’s doing at Slambarz is huge for the community. I was on their panel at an event last year and it was good to be part of it. I do feel a sense of responsibility to bigging up Sheff and I guess that just comes with the territory. I’ll try and help, try to give back when I can. That said, I feel like I’ve still got a long way to go myself. It all depends on what your definition of success is.

 

What is yours?
Ha! For me personally, it’s just ‘keep winning’. Whether they’re the big wins or the small wins, just keep that coming. Success for one person might be winning a Mobo; for another, it might be getting a track out on Spotify. Everyone has their of definition, but if I can make the people around me feel proud and I can also be proud of what I’ve achieved, then that’s success to me.

Coming from Sheffield and living in London, do you feel like you’ve had to work twice as hard to make it as a northern artist?
Yes and no. Like, don’t get it twisted, there’s a lot of people in London who rate what we do. A lot of it is about timing, and I met Toddla T after moving to London who was instrumental in my early career. He gave me opportunities but I still had to take them; I had to do what I had to do as an artist. That’s the thing about the music industry: there’s always someone waiting to take your place. I feel like I’ve proved myself, but you’ve got to keep doing it again and again.

In line with the theme of this interview, if any aspiring local artists are reading this, what advice would you give them?
Originality is key. It’s good to take influence from people, but you’ve got to make it in your own way. And stay resilient! It’s not an easy industry to be in, not an easy way to make a living. Keep going, keep setting goals and keep pushing. Tenacity, resilience and originality – that’s what it’s about.

Coco will play the T’Other Stage at Tramlines 2024. Tickets are available now from tramlines.org.uk.

 




There are no comments

Add yours