Ahead of his Fickle Affection project dropping this week, we caught up with Yogocop Records’ NuphZed to chat on the journey to his first project in 3 years.

NuphZed, thanks very much for your time. We were talking about doing an interview back in August but never got around to it, so while in quarantine it seems like the perfect opportunity – aligned with the imminent release of your second solo project. Before we start, it seems right to check in and ask, how’s quarantine life been treating you?

Yoo ye for sure, I actually haven’t minded it that much I’ve been working from home which is bless and am now able to make more music as don’t have the excuse of being out n about in the sun n wotnot. 

Although you’ve appeared on a few projects over the past couple of years, it’s fair to say you’ve had something of a hiatus since your debut came out in 2017. This project has been in the pipeline for a while, what makes this the right time for its release? 

Ye its been long, basically the music has been sat there for 3 years but I ended up in a bit of a dark place and needed to work on myself , so ye it just longed everything out, eventually I kinda realised I had a project waiting to go so then needed to sort videos and artwork, it wasn’t specifically timed for now just life stuff got in the way and it came out when it came out if that makes sense. 

You’ve been known for your tongue in cheek style, which stands true to this day, but in Fickle Affection those witty remarks seem to be juxtaposed with darker undertones. How do you think your lyricism has changed as you’ve developed?

Ye I guess maybe this was all written at the beginning of me thinking ‘do I wanna live like this and keep going as I am, or is there more to do, see and be’. I would say my work has changed in the sense of it becoming more personal and that will continue for the most part with new music too.

Fickle Affection is split down the middle – 50% your own production and 50% remixes of those first 5 tracks. Do you prefer producing your own instrumentals? Was there a particular theme you were going for with your production in this project?

No real theme set for the project, I like making all sorts of music I produce a lot of weird kinda hybrid stuff sometimes I can write to it and be inspired as an MC, sometimes not.

I do prefer doing my own production to a certain extent as I have more control and flexibility to change things but on the flip it can make me more critical and delay the process as end up faffing about and making too many changes. 

Structurally, most tracks in the project swap chorus for full, dense verses. Is there a particular intention behind you using this style?

Again, I would definitely say its not deliberate to be honest sometimes I get in a space where I can just keep writing and don’t feel the need to stop for a hook or something and then when I think ‘hmmm maybe I should write a hook’, unless something happens quickly I just leave it as a straight bars thing. 

Vocal features on Fickle Affection are from OG Yogocop heads Harvs Le Toad and Kemastry. The two tracks seem to tell stories that represent opposite sides of the same world – one an in the moment account of being on a wave and the other a retrospect from the aftermath. Was the creative process working with Harvs and Kema different, and was this contrast in tone between the two tracks a conscious decision?

Both sessions with Kema and Harvs were basically identical, we were drinkin’ and sniffin’ packet and that’s about that. I feel like that’s all we did back then and even though I was conscious enough to write about the troubles of it all I just wasn’t ready to not live that way, so I couldn’t say it was conscious to have those different tones, more so one beat sounded more mischievous and one more reflective, so it just panned out like that. 

The album artwork for this project seems very poignant, too. A nighttime cityscape with bars and clubs opens up to an archway of trees where (presumably) you are walking out and into a light, open space. Light at the end of the tunnel kind of thing. Who’s behind the design, and can you tell us a bit about the concept?

Ye I was chuffed with the art it was done by “Abyssdesigns” check her out on insta she is dope. I sent her the E.P and gave a rough idea of what I wanted which was just something representing me almost transitioning from darkness to light I guess, but not quite being there yet and she hit the nail on the head so ye big shout out to her.

As we said earlier, this project has been awaiting its release for a little while now. Have you been working on other stuff while this one’s been preparing to drop?

Ye 100% bare new stuff to come I’m sat on another project now which is more so an album  than an E.P; self produced again and probably more dark and personal, gonna start dropping singles from that one fairly soon. Produced an album for Maczee P which will be dropping on YGC been making some funky 2 step party bits with Hutch which I’m mad hyped to release but don’t think it will be ready too soon. 

We read in an old interview that you, Wundrop and Kemastry were working on a project together. Is that one still out there in the ether or not so much? 

Haha ye soo long story short we had some stuff that never really got recorded, which was more up beat get waved kinda shit but I had to go rehab and sort my life out so nothing really happened with it but fortunately CMPND was formed and they killed it with that vibe so it all worked out bless. I’m sure we will do plenty of stuff in the near future though. 

Once quarantine is over and we’re all allowed out and about again, can we expect to see your name on any live shows coming up?

I hope so, was gunna be doing Boomtown with a YGC showcase which would have been sick, I need to just keep putting music out and I’m sure shows will happen. Nothing booked as of yet though and who knows how long this madness will last ha.

Fickle Affection drop this Thursday 30th April and you can cop the pre-order digital or vinyl here!