Many interviews write themselves. When you sit down with certain artists, footballers, musicians – whoever – or attend the shoot that they’re on, you often pick out characteristics, mannerisms, sayings, skits or even menial things, like tattoos, that you cling onto to make introducing them a little bit easier and a lot more natural. But when I sat down with Night Lovell – the 21-year-old rapper from Ottawa, Canada – I was struggling to find a detail befitting of this opening.
Not because there was a lack of one, quite the opposite. There were so many ways to go. His captivatingly positive attitude. The power of his speech – the ‘when he speaks you listen’ kind of thing. The cult following that he has built up across the world – way beyond Ottawa, the Canadian city that he grew up in. The multitude of reasons why you need to check out his new album– Goodnight Lovell – where dark and harrowing production is matched to booming bass and some emo-inspired elements. Or, even just the belief and self-confidence that he radiates when he talks openly about being the best artist he can be.
Naturally, all of those traits are worthy introductions as they all serve up a slice of Night’s personality and popularity. So, that’s why I’ve listed them all. To give you a brief insight into the heart and mind of one of the best emerging artists on the planet right now. So, next time someone asks you if you’ve heard of Night Lovell, you’ll have more than a few reference points to choose from.
Let’s talk about your name, where did you get your stage name from? Cos the meaning of the name Lovell in French means wolf cub, is there any link to that…
I get my stage name from my dad’s middle name being Lovell and me only working in the night-time.
Dark Light was a mad smash and your first introduction to the world as Night Lovell, how long were you sitting on the track before you released it?
I was sitting on it for a few months actually. At first, I was going to give my dad the beat. But for some reason, it ended up under my hand, so I used it and then as soon as I recorded it, I dropped it in like a few days. It was just like the beat I was sitting on.
How did Dark Light come about? I mean, what’s your creative process or formula when it comes to making songs?
Usually I’d make the beat first. I’d sit on the beat for a while and then eventually as I’m sitting on it, I’ll keep writing and just knock it out in a few hours. Then I just drop it pretty much.
You grew up in Canada and you have previously said that you were influenced by your Dad and his Jamaican-style hip hop, so what did you grow up listening to as a kid?
Reggae, dancehall and soca music initially then a lot of rock in my later years. A lot of techno, EDM, dubstep and stuff from Call of Duty.
You’ve been on a little hiatus in terms of just a few singles in the last couple years before you released Goodnight Lovell last month, was that time all just poured into the new album? If so, is this new album your biggest challenge or personal project to date?
It was the easiest and hardest album at the same time. Like I did pour those last two years into the album. The hard part was kind of like trying to figure out what the fans wanted to hear but the easy part was just like telling my story because I went through a whole bunch of more shit.
Visually you’re always on another level, always incredibly captivating, but what’s the meaning behind the new album artwork?
You can’t see it like clear in the in the image but there’s a cage there. My whole thing was that the cage represents my dreams and the skeleton represents me. It’s showing what would happen if I was trapped in my own dream. Skeletons obviously represent a dead person so that’s the symbolism behind it.
I read that you still work with all the producers and guys that you worked with in the early days of Soundcloud, tell us about what they bring to your sound…
I like that raw original 2014 sound that people love me for so I just can’t not work with them. It helps keep it original.
Your music has a few Canadian references littered through it and you have the iconic Ottawa 1855 tattoo – But how has the history and cultural makeup of the country inspired you and your sound?
Canada is just a dark place in general. Especially in the winter, that’s what I tell everyone. I feel like that alone influenced my music because its darker than everywhere else. That kind of shaped what my music became just by growing up in it.
What would be the first thing you’d do if you were Prime Minister of Canada?
Probably make it mandatory for everyone to get the 1855 tattoo.
Your live shows are mad, you shut down anywhere you go, is that the most rewarding part for you? I mean, do you prefer the personal process of making music or the chance to perform that music live?
I always say making the music is like the project and then the show is like show and tell, so it’s always nice to see what the audience’s reaction is.
Growing up what was your experiences/ thoughts / attitudes to Soccer?
I was never really a soccer fanatic, but I played some soccer when I was in high school. I never played in a league or anything though, but I’d watch the World Cup when it came on.
Do you have a favourite player / team? How did you become a fan of Manchester United?
I don’t have a favourite player, I became a Manchester United supporter because my manager is a huge fan of the club. I follow them as closely as I can.
What’s the best lyric you’ve ever written?
She said daddy, I could feel it in my tummy.
The first record you bought was…
I didn’t buy it, but I got an Usher CD for my birthday where on the cover he’s standing in the rain. Whatever that album was, it’s old as hell.
The first thing you do before you go on stage is…
Usually, I just drink water and relax to be honest. I need to save as much energy as I can because it’s all poured out on the stage.
What’s the one thing people don’t know about you…
There’s multiple things. I’m really into cars. I’m really good at Flash Flash Revolution. I used to edit Call of Duty videos. I used to longboard, which I probably shouldn’t have said because that’s embarrassing. And I still really like EDM music. There’s a real mixture.