Sam Akpro: “When it comes to music, I try to steer clear of insecurity”

Ahead of his upcoming performance at London Calling Festival, we sit down with Sam Akpro, a rapidly developing artist who’s been making waves in the music scene for the past two years. Exploring the philosophical underpinnings of his music, Sam shares insights into his creative process as a musician. We delve into his recent track ‘Disposition’ along with his personal experiences in a candid conversation about creativity, gaining perspective,and tackling insecurity in the pursuit of artistic fulfilment.

On gaining perspective, awareness and timing

You recently released a new track called ‘Disposition’. Can you tell me what inspired it?

I don’t really know what inspired it. I usually just make stuff without any intention behind it. I think that the lyrics are inspired by extracurricular activities that you do, when you go out. Partying, drinking and what not. Those things that you think you’re enjoying, but they’re actually just habits, that you’ve latched on to you, and they’re not really enjoyable anymore… It’s just an observation of a period of time when I wasn’t doing those things and I was gaining a different perspective on that.

That sounds rather philosophical. Does your music often derive from things like self analysis and changing perspective?

I never looked at it like that, but I guess so, yes. I’m very self-aware about a lot of things, but I don’t try to think about it when I’m making the actual piece of music. Things just come out of me. I’m not thinking about how people are going to react to it, just to try and feed it. But I think you have to be aware of what’s going on around you, in order to document and let that feeling come out.

How do you manage to stay true to your artistic vision while dealing with changing opinions and feedback from your audience?

Well, if you care about other people’s reactions, you’ll kill yourself, you know? Their opinions are ever changing: people can evolve. So you just have to present things to people, whether they like it or not, that’s another thing. Most people come around to things anyway; I know it rings true for me. When I listen to something the first time, I might not like it, but then when I hear it again in a different context, at the right time, it becomes more meaningful. It’s just timing, isn’t it?

It almost sounds as though you’re immune to insecurity.

Haha, well I wouldn’t say that, but when it comes to music, I try to steer clear of insecurity. It’s always there though and it’s not necessarily a bad thing. You can use it as a strength, I think. I wouldn’t say I’m immune to any insecurity, but I would say it’s good to know that you have this, to maybe try and find a way of tackling those feelings, you know?

How do you tackle them?

Musically, maybe by listening to myself first. Blocking out any kind of opinion before your work is even ready, or before you feel content enough. I think being content can help you overcome the insecurity that you might have with your work. For me, it’s when I know that I’ve done what I needed to do creatively. If I’ve been fulfilled creatively, that is the goal.

How does finding fulfilment in your music impact your emotions and focus in other areas of your life?

I guess I’m more emotional about things, because I have a place to let the emotion out, rather than not having something creative to do. I’m also a bit more focused, because I have something to focus on outside of real life. Those are the main things, I would say. I haven’t changed that much, because I’m still doing the things that I was doing before I was making music. I’m just doing music more than the other things now.

Last year you performed your first gig outside of the UK at Pitchfork Festival in Paris. What was that like for you?

It was pretty good, it was like any other show really… At the same time, the response to music was different than in London, where people sometimes are less likely to move around, because they fear the reactions of people around them. But over there people seemed more open to expressing themselves when listening to music. They act as if they’re more into it. It’s made me gain confidence for sure.

Let’s hope for the same audience dynamics during your show at London Calling. Were you already familiar with the festival?

I’ve heard of it, because there are a lot of UK acts. Also my friend Master Peace played there in May of last year. It’s a cool festival and a cool venue. I’m quite excited to play this one to be fair.

Are there any acts you’re looking forward to seeing while you’re there?

Miss Tiny, it would be good to see that. Also Viji and mary in the junkyard. They’re all London-based artists that I’ve listened to and I’m really interested to see what they sound like live.

Is there anything you would like to say to the people visiting your upcoming show?

I’ll just say, I hope you enjoy it if you come and watch us, it’s going to be a bit of a different set than what we usually play, just trying out more stuff. A bit more mellow perhaps in some places, but it depends on the weather, which in this case is the audience.

So the audience has an impact on the set?

Haha, yes, they do in that stage actually. In the lion’s den!

Text: Yvonne den Outer

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