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25 to Lyf: Interview with Zimbabwean producer, Rymez

by 25toLyf
13 January 2013 | 2379 Views
About two years ago I was sitting in a guest room/recording studio at Teq-Neeq's ( formelly TekNeek ) house just vibing & listening to some of the tracks he was working on. Teq had just moved back home to Zimbabwe after a 2 year stint at a South African sound engineering school & was eager to start getting his music out. As I flipped through some the beats he had I stopped on a beat that Teq would eventually record the track Cash, Money, Power on. I was blown away. Teq played me a few more beats & soon I was running out of superlatives to describe how impressed I was. When I asked whose beats these were , Teq replied " Oh these are beats from a Zim dude out in UK called Rymez. He just produced some stuff for Tinie Tempah too" .

At that time Tinie had really started to blow up & Pass Out was getting serious radio & TV play. The fact that a Zimbabwean was working with the next big thing in UK urban music filled me with a great sense of national pride & respect for Rymez. Ever since then, I have been following his work closely.

Now fast forward to 2012, Rymez is on the cusp of becoming one of the UK's biggest producers in both Hip Hop & Grime ( Grime is a genre of UK music that emerged in the early 2000′s. It samples music from UK House, Garage, Electro, Hip Hop & Dancehall & usually features higher tempo beats around 140 BPM ). After years of grinding & working with some of the UK's best artists Rymez is set to become the go-to producer with what could be 2012′ summer anthem, Heatwave featuring Grime legend Wiley & Ms. D .

After several attempts, a few emails and a lot of persistence I was able to get this busy 24 yr old to sit down and answer some questions about his story and his meteoric rise.

25toLyf: First off thank you for agreeing to this interview. You've been producing for a minute now & I have been following your work closely for about 2 years. But could you please give us a short intro of who you are & where you are from for the readers who aren't too familiar with your work?
Rymez: Firstly thank you for giving me some to time have this interview. I'm Rodney Hwingwiri (Rymez) 24 yr old  Zimbabwean born music producer in London.

25: So when did you start producing & how did it come about?
Rymez: I've been producing for about 8 years now, my curiosity into music production started of early when I was about 13 yrs old, listening to my older brother's CD collection and classic records that my mother kept in the house. I remember listening to Michael Jackson, Dr Dre, Simon Chimbetu, Craig David and Oliver Mtukudzi  albums religiously one summer which just pushed me further into the industry.

25: You have made a name for yourself out in the UK making mostly Hip-Hop & grime music. Before you moved out to UK how familiar where you with Grime & the UK Hip-Hop scene?
Rymez: I wasn't too familiar with grime and UK Hip Hop, when I was in Zimbabwe, the only artist I was paying attention to was from the UK back then was Craig David because he was one of very few British artists that managed to crossover.

25: What do you enjoy making more, Hip-Hop or higher tempo Grime Beats ?
Rymez: I enjoy making music at various tempos, I tend to have a conversation with the artist before I get into making any music so that I can find the perfect tempo to suit their mood. I think it helps create the right studio session.

25: Like I said earlier I've been following you for a while & watched you build a name for yourself with UK artists, you have worked with Krept n Konan, Wretch 32, Lioness, Tinie Tempah & the Godfather of grime himself Wiley. How did these collaborations come about & which was your favourite?
Rymez: I used to travel from Derby to London when I was in High school at least once a month to network with artists when I was still in high school, and one of the artists I managed to get in the studio with frequently was Tinie Tempah, who inspired me to take the leap of faith and move into the big city where I started to network artists like Wiley via mutual friends and bumping into other artists in studio sessions. Everyone I've worked with is unique in their on way but I will have to give it to Wiley & Tinie for their work ethic and endless advice for up and coming artists in the industry.

25: I think your biggest hit to date would be Wiley's Daiquiris which appeared on his latest Evolve Or Be Extinct album, how did that collaboration come about? What is it like working with Wiley?
Rymez: If I can describe working with Wiley in 3 words it would be, Genius, Weird and Random! He is someone who has mastered his craft and through his music you can hear he is not afraid to express himself on how he is feeling which is what I believe is the key to having a good career as an artist.

25: Now let's talk about the song that I'm sure will easily outshine Daiquiris & really put your name in a lot of people's ears; Heatwave , which coincidentally also features Wiley. I've only heard radio rips of the track so far but I can already tell it's going to be a massive summer anthem & it's already getting serious radio play. Can you give us the back story as to how this heater came about?
Rymez: Heatwave came around on a very cold day in the studio (laughs)… I just thought it would be great to start working on my E.P for summer at that point, so I managed to get hold of Ms. D (the singer of Chipmunk's UK #1 hit Oopsy Daisy) to put down an idea and the rest is history after I met up with Wiley. We are shooting the video soon and it should be out in June.

25: There are a lot of young & aspiring African producers who read our blog & will certainly be inspired about your story. What advice can you give them to help them master their craft & find a way to earn money off of making music
Rymez: Focus on whats important in your life firstly, family√¢‚Ǩ¬¶ I really do believe as a producer or artist you will only make the best music if your mind is at peace. The focus should not always be about money however it should be on perfecting your craft which I'm still doing myself and  is a never ending journey.

25: What is your process when making a beat & working with an artist in the studio?
Rymez: I love getting new sounds every week I believe it keeps you inspired and hearing something different will always make you try something you wouldn't normally do.

25: If you had not left Zimbabwe & were still there today, do you think you would still be doing what you are doing now?
Rymez: I believe I would be making music on a bigger scale if I was still back home, the inspiration is endless which is why I'm taking my well deserved holiday there next month.

25: How would you compare the Zimbabwean/African hip-hop scene to that in the UK & what facets do you think Africa needs to replicate to help improve the quality & revenue model of the genre?
Rymez: I really do believe in African Hip Hop we have a lot of amazing lyrical rappers like Tek Neek [ Teq Neeq] , Metaphysics, Karizma etc  and they have all the elements to make it commercial, it's just a matter of time & patience, pushing boundaries with visuals and persistence.

25: Do you follow any African Hip-Hop artists? If so who is really impressing you & do you plan to work with any of these artists in the future?
Rymez: I've been following a lot of Zim artists and I've been blessed to work with Jusa Dementor, Begotten Sun, Dirry Cash, AllsTars, Karizma. The artist I really would want to work with is Oliver Mtukudzi.. Kind of a long shot but we all dream right?

25: What music do you listen to that inspires you & what kind of music would I find on your iPod?
Rymez: I wish i was grew up in the 70′s and 80′s cause thats all i have on my iPod, from Terry Huff, Manhattans, Junior Parker and a few other artists to add to the skittle jar, include, Meek Mill, Labrinth, Wiley, Wretch 32 and Con Funk Shun.

25: Wow. Who influenced your love of older more soulful music & introduced you to Terry Huff & The Manhattans ?
Rymez:  My love of older and more soulful music came from listening to a lot of production from the late J Dilla, who always found a way to keep the originality of each classic sample he used. Terry Huff and The Manhattans were introduced to me by mum's record collection she is the only reason I would know them (laughs) .

25: What upcoming solo & collaborative projects do you have lined up for the rest of 2012 that we should look out for?
Rymez:  I'm working on my E.P at the moment which should be out in September. Dropping the first video with Wiley & Ms D for Heatwave in June and the second single will be on radio around the same time. I'm in the studio working with Roll Deep, Krept n Konan and Gfrsh who's in the studio at the moment on potential tracks for their forthcoming albums. - The African Hip Hop Blog
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