100% J Rick: the Essie Gang member shaping his own sound

J Rick Essie Gang Octavian Music Album

He helped soundtrack the biggest tunes of last year, now he’s ready to put his name front and centre.

Party Here was the attention-grabbing track that catapulted Octavian to stardom. An intoxicating mix of minimal, bass-heavy production with dashes of dancehall and garage influences, the genre-bending single even got Drake hot under his collar.

This breakthrough sound was thanks to J Rick, Octavian’s producer, tour DJ and founding Essie Gang member. First meeting at The BRIT School, the duo moved in together and bashed out a slate of mind-shattering songs like Hands, Lightning and, of course, Party Here.

Now J Rick is stepping out on his own. Making his debut earlier this year with the experimental single Short, it’s easy to see why there’s a swarm of artists wanting to work with the rising producer. The most recent being R&B siren RIMON, who sings on his bass heavy track Close. The track will appear on his upcoming mixtape, No Retreat, No Surrender – named in honour of his late uncle and legendary boxer Errol Christie’s signature mantra.

With his debut mixtape set to be released this September, get to know an artist making a step towards the centre stage.

10%: Where were you born, where were you raised and where are you now based?

I was born and raised in Tottenham. I’m in North London still.

20%: At what point did you realise you’d be able to do what you love for a living?

Maybe a year and a bit ago, when I quit working at a call centre. I just didn’t have the time before. I used to work before shows, then I’d be DJing and have to come straight off the stage and get back to it.

30%: What’s a piece of advice that changed your life?

When people tell you shit, it could be the furthest piece of advice that you’ve ever heard. But then you won’t clock what it really means until years after. By that time you’ve already worked it out. Once you work it out yourself, that’s when you realise it was good advice. Way after.

40%: What kind of emotions and experiences influence your work?

All of them. Anything that you feel, all the different emotions. It all affects me.

50%: What can you tell us about your next project?

I don’t think I can tell you anything about the next project. I need to find my new inspiration. I’m excited, but it could literally be anything I want, do you know what I mean?

60%: Break down your typical day at work…

Sometimes I’ll wake up, go studio, do my thing. Other days I wake up on the floor of the tour bus doing bare shows and shit. Some days I wake up and go into my fucking zone, some days I just don’t wake up in bed.

70%: What can artists do to help save the world?

Music saves the world man, trust. Any sort of expression, to show people how to express themselves. Someone could be having a bad day or be thinking about doing something bad. They hear a song and they think fuck it!”, I’m not even gonna do that bad thing. I think the music is what saves us, you know?

80%: Love, Like, Hate?

I love travelling. I also love chicken wings, it’s like my addiction. I’m actually addicted to chicken and chips. I hate dead interview questions. Then I don’t really like too many things. I either love or hate something.

90%: Describe your seven minutes in heaven…

Fucking hell I dunno. There’s bare different types of seven minutes in heaven. I’m trying to get as much as I can from something. It would be sick to go to space for seven minutes.

100%: Biggest pet peeve?

You know WeTransfer? My pet peeve is when people don’t fucking download the file. They let it expire, and then they’ll pretend like they’ve got it for a week, before being like oh yeah, can you send me that thing again?” Like fuck off man. I’ve sent it to you already. In my head once I’ve sent something to you, once an email gets sent, that thing’s not even mine. I don’t want to think about it no more.

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