Interview with CAPRIISUN

Kaeshelle Rianne ‘sits down’ with CAPRiiSUN ahead of the forthcoming album “A Fleeting Now” in which the US rapper tells stories about his travels and shows in Europe.

For fans of the underground hip-hop scene in Europe, CAPRiiSUN is a staple name. Off the back of releasing videos for “Swirl” and “Celeste”, CAPRii drops bars that glide effortlessly over the beat on vinyl with “A Fleeting Now” to be released on September 15th. The 26-year-old rapper old blesses IORI by talking through his creative process and the inspirations behind it.

[Kaeshelle] So, you mainly grew up in Eugene, would you say that it inspires your sound?

[Capriisun] I would say it does because Eugene has a lot of nature and nice scenery. When I pick beats, it’s definitely inspired by my surroundings. But “A Fleeting Now” was more inspired by travelling in other countries. I recorded a lot of it in Brighton and in London.

[K] You dropped Swirl and Celeste to show what we can expect on the new album, “A Fleeting Now”, do you have any favourites?

[C] I think “Swirl” is my favourite, it’s just more of a raw sample, certain producers can create that kind of beat. There’s not so much percussion, so I’m just rapping on the sample. One of my friends sent it to me and we both liked it a lot. “Swirl” was produced by Omar Bmar.

[K] The video for Swirl has a very psychedelic feel to it, I almost found myself drifting away into a daydream watching it, how did that video come about?

[C] So, that’s the main artwork for “A Fleeting Now”. My friend Nicole Duvall painted it, I sent the artwork to the label and they had someone animate it. When we started off, I thought the “Celeste” tune was going to be the only video but as time went on, we realised that we were not going to be able to do shows and things like that. We needed more videos to promote more in advance so that’s how the “Swirl” video came about.

[K] “Celeste” is also a trippy video and was shot in the streets of Barcelona, what brought you to Spain?

[C] That was dope and more spontaneous! My sister moved to Madrid in Spain this year and so I wrote that verse. But I didn’t have a studio in Spain and so, when I came to England, I recorded the song in Brighton. When I played the tape for Morri, he said, “We should go to Barca and film” and because I was already planning to go, we went together. We filmed the video and went to skate. That’s another thing that was really cool about this tape, those little things came along the way, they weren’t really planned.

Barcelona was beautiful when I was there in early March and the weather was so nice. I think that’s another reason I went to Spain. Because when I was in England, I was staying in Brighton and London, there was torrential rain and almost a hurricane. I was on vacation already but Morri said, “We should do this there and go get some sun”. It was my first time in Barca, I’m glad I got to reach it before I left!

[K] What does “A Fleeting Now” mean? It feels like you’re going places. Even on Celeste you say something like, “just absurd, when I conjure on a sunny day, see me on the move like a runaway.”

[C] It’s just that, inspired by travelling. I didn’t name it that until I got home and started looking back on my experiences during the 2-3 months I was there. The trip was great, but then when corona hit, no more travelling was going to ensue. So, everything I was experiencing in that present moment was fleeting. Things aren’t necessarily there to stay.

[K] How long did it take to put together this body of work for this album because it feels like a process?

[C] Yeah, it definitely was a process, I had one or two tunes done before I came to Europe. When I was in Brighton, I stayed with Slipz and Verbz, we were working on another tape, that was the main thing. When we were not recording that I was just building off the other songs I had stashed away. Later, when I got to London later, I played some of them for Morri and he said, “This really fits well on this label, we should do more with that”. That’s when we decided to film the “Celeste” video and then make it into a project.

After I got home, I started thinking more about the concepts. It was different because in the past all the projects I’ve put out have been mixtapes. So, this tape has been a little different. But it’s hard to name things, I often reflect on the atmosphere that a song evokes and name it towards the end. I don’t say anything about “Celeste”, but the beat makes me think of that colour. Before some people make music or a piece of art, they might have the idea beforehand, but I just make it first. You’ve got to do what works for you.

[K] What are the main themes you wanted to explore on “A Fleeting Now”?

[C] Travel and the fact that the present is important. I was just living a really good life at that point. Travelling, playing shows and making music, it was very fulling. When I came home, corona happened and all of that came to a halt, so it made me appreciate it even more.

[K] What was it like to perform in London and Brighton?

[C] I played in Tottenham with Verbz and Slipz. We had some other dates in Brighton and London. I was just back and forth but between the shows. That’s when I started working on the tape with Slipz and Verbz and knocking out what became “A Fleeting Now” on the side. My favourite shows were in Brighton and I liked another show I played with CLBRKS, Looms and Obijuan for their release in Peckham. That was dope because it was all my homies on the line-up. There was really good energy that night!

CLBRKS and CAPRIISUN in yet another exotic location
(lifted from the music video for ‘BONITO’ by CLBRKS & Morriachi featuring CAPRIISUN

[K] There are no hooks on any of the tracks, do you ever write hooks and is that not something you do?

[C] I have some music that’s unreleased that I’m trying to put more hooks in but a lot of the beats that I rap on are short. You can put out a tape with thirty tracks on but they’re shorter, like little snippets, and I prefer the interludes and transitions between songs. It’s thinking about things as a whole as opposed to just one song. Some people make less songs, but they’re are longer and have a more traditional format.

For me, a lot of it comes from the beats I’m listening to and the different snippets and atmospheres. I just write to compliment them, so that’s why there aren’t as many hooks. In the future, I want to write more but nothing too crazy, I’m not trying to get all super catchy. So, it would be a CAPRii verse, a hook and then another verse.

[K] You sound like you’re from the lo-fi school of rap, but I also get the impression that you’re not someone who likes to be boxed in?

[C] With the lo-fi stuff, kids just started calling it lo-fi because it started happening when lo-fi beats were getting popular, but the beats I would pick are always Dilla or just those beats that are more to showcase MCs. If you listen to just a loop, sometimes people might get bored because it’s just repetitive. I like more minimal stuff because it’s a good canvas to write verses for.

[K] You mentioned Dilla, are there any other artists who inspire your sound?

[C] Definitely Dilla for beats. But for writing a putting words together obviously Doom. I just like MF Doom because he’s cryptic, he’s a big influence. Not saying that I’m completely emulating him but more so the form, I just think he’s dope.

[K] What do you hope to do after this release?

[C] I think in the future I just want to put out more vinyl and perfect artwork. I want to piece projects together and do it in a way that is more personal because I still need to learn skills like editing and Photoshop. In this case, the label was able to help with that but in the future, I want to do more of that myself so I have more control over it. It’s inspiring, it makes me want to learn more things because it helps me. I’m rapping and I make music, but maybe I want to make a video or a piece of artwork to compliment that. It’s expansion! For this release, we really want to connect with the vinyl community. Hopefully, I’ll be able to come back and play more shows in the UK.

Shout out to Capriisun for taking part in the interview ahead of his project ‘A Fleeting Now’ dropping on all streaming platforms on the 15th Septemper. Interview by Kaeshelle Rianne (@kaerianne)

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