Updated: Jun 10, 2019
Project of the Month: Summer Was a Trojan Horse
Thank you, Nightingale, for being a part of this.
I’ve had the opportunity to interview Nightingale, the very first official interview for The Basement Muse! Since the start, he’s been a part of the inspiration that built this website.
Before this interview was conducted, I asked Nightingale to give us some info on himself:
“Okay, so a brief description of me. I’m 17. I’m Congolese, but I live in South Africa. I started making music when I was 16; that’s when I joined the collective that I’m currently a part of. (Seventh State. https://twitter.com/@viistate) I started rapping at 16, but I’ve been singing all my life. The Music that I wanna make doesn’t exist yet. I’m hoping to bring it from my universe into this world. Spread a message of authenticity, and basically deal with my problems.
I do intend to change my names to one, unifying name, which I already know, but I won’t divulge the name yet.
Apollo is my rapping side; Nightingale is my singing side.”
In your little short I noticed you didn't mention any inspirations. What were your inspirations for creating music?
“Since I only began creating when I was 15/16, everything before feels like a blur, in terms of artistic inspirations. I feel like I wasn’t really listening to music nor did I have any appreciation for the arts. But since then, I’ve grown and have an affinity for a specific type of music and thus specific types of artists.
Nightingale’s inspirations by way of musical artists are mainly; Raury, Willow Smith, and Solange. In that order. My friends discovered Raury back when we were in Grade 9 I believe. (2016), and it was his All We Need project that really caught my interest in him as an artist and influenced me by way of utilizing my voice to create images. Willow Smith was someone I’d always had a crush on since forever but musically it was her songs Female Energy and Cave Wall that have influenced me the most sonically, making me more aware of the backgrounds or atmospheres of the songs I create. Solange made A Seat At The Table and now When I Get Home, need I say more?
Apollo's artist inspirations are; Earl, Joey Bada$$ and Capital STEEZ mainly, though there are many more. My friends were the reason I found all three of these artists, and I've really never looked back, Earl is my favorite rapper of all time and I'll just speak on him. He taught me through his music that he was human, which seems like a dumb thing to be taught but I've never considered anyone that I’ve listened to as human before I heard him, all the music I’d heard was flawless, detached, and repetitive, he was like a breath of fresh air when I didn't know I was drowning. I never want to meet him.”
Could I have more details about Nightingale and Apollo? I know Nightingale is your singing side and Apollo is your rap side, but what is the connection? I also remember you mention that you want to combine the names. I was just wondering, why combine them? Is it just the way you're envisioning your future?
“The separation of artistries was so that that they could improve irrespective of each other, I believe that I can become elite in both and once combined, I'll be incomparable. The choice was initially purely instinctual, they didn't sound right together at the time. I want to combine them into one which will signify that I have become elite and they no longer need to be separated, it's also how I envision my future in that I’ll need to actively put in work to attain it.”
Could you tell me more about where you’re from? The culture?
“I live in South Africa, in the city of Pretoria, there's a strong Hip-Hop scene here, very competitive and very inspiring. The next wave is already here, and people are flourishing at younger and younger ages, it even seems like some people in their early 20's are OG's. I'm still underground so I'm speaking from the outside at the moment, but it seems that most of the artists that are flourishing now were rich kids in high-school that seem to not have known what to do at the time. They resemble the clout era in America but are much more team-oriented while behaving more like individual artists with stories to tell and with money to flash. I'll forever be grateful for these people though as they took Soundcloud rapping to a respectable level when I was in 9th Grade, they paved the way for most of us on this side.”
Can you tell me a little bit more on Seventh State, how did you meet?
“I wasn't a member of Seventh State when it began, but once I was added it was clear that we were a group heavily influenced by groups like MSFTS Republic, OFWGKTA, and PRO ERA. I don't think that the group's initial intention was to create music, but instead was a kind of haven for the group of friends they already were, and a safe space to grow into the artists we've become. Some stopped making music, which was inevitable, but those of us who haven't stopped are kind of amazing if I do say so myself. Proof coming soon.”
You never rapped before 16, but did you want to? And was it always music with you?
“I have a sister that can sing better than me so I never thought I was good, I thought I complimented her well though when we would do duets. But back then I basically only listened to what she would listen to, which would be whatever viral song America decided to like at the time. This is also why almost all my inspirations were "young" as well. I literally never wanted to rap, I didn't know I could if that makes sense, like I didn't know I was allowed.”
What kind of music do you want to create? If you can describe it.
"I've been convinced that I'm a god for as long as I can remember, through growing up in a Christian household, I grew up denying that thought within myself. Then I began literally creating and it's been hard to deny myself ever since. Now it's not about questioning whether I am a god or not. I am one. Now it's about deciding how I'm going to spend the amount of time this vessel has left. Sometimes whole songs appear out of nothing, sometimes images that would've been considered masterpieces in an unsaturated world, concepts that confuse me, causing me to debate with what my mind knows and what my spirit knows. The music I want to create is absurdly and profoundly ethereal, but real, they'll relate to things they didn't know existed. When people hear the music, I'll be able to create once given time/proper equipment, I'm very sure that they'll forget I'm human."
What message do you have with your music?
“My message will change; I don't have a specific one for now but I have very specific messages for once I have everyone's attention.”
How does your music help you deal with your problems?
“My music is a reflection of my spirit, or rather my spirit at the time of writing those songs. It's kind of like I translate how I feel on a whim and once I listen back, I finally understand how I feel, which in turn helps me love myself again.”
This project is amazing. I was hoping you could tell me what it means to you. What's going on with these songs? How do they relate? Why did you pick the name "Summer Was a Trojan Horse?"
“This project is my emergency escape, it's my reasoning and my way of thinking spilled over onto pleasing Lo-Fi instrumentals. I was going through a very unsure time mentally, and then while deep diving on Soundcloud the project put itself together in about 2 days, after finding the beats, the words appeared, and the rest is history. I revisit it every day and I don't know when I'll not need it. I'm kind of grateful it exists in the past, it's a reminder that it's probably the very dregs of my potential.”
There's a lot of emotion in this music and it is amazingly well written. The music/the mood. I really wish you the best with this and hope it goes far.
“I appreciate that a lot, I've been getting only positive feedback on this project, that might be because I’m too small to hate on right now, but I'm going to go with the thought that every person that has heard the project has left impressed and eager to hear more. I hope to provide that very soon, and I hope the best for the platform you have started as well.”
Thanks for reading everyone! You can find Nightingale and more music from Seventh State here: