The Real Ones Are Never What You THINK: An interview with STRAFF
I’m inspired right now, probably because of Richard’s recent article or the euphoria in my eyes. Last two days have been a rush for me, it’s been a rush for the culture and I’m quite joyous and excited.
I met STRAFF earlier this week and it’s the best experience I’ve had in a while! I was so happy. I love what I do because I get to meet different people; it’s so fun being in the colorful world of Straff. I’ve watched him grow, admired his art, recently drowning in his music, with his self-directed video, he showed another edge of him that appealed to my film making senses, and lastly his ‘Thirst Merch’ coming soon (yes he’s into fashion too), he’s a ‘Thirst’ of creativity packed in one human body.
He’s completely self-confident in what he his, the ideas he creates with each project is a showcase of his mind, a bundle of himself sent to the culture to create. We’re having more minds in this generation doing what they love for the love of putting their expressions into the world. First odd thing was, Straff typed in all caps, “I JUST LOVE THE COOL APP TO TEXT IN CAPS” his response when asked why.
If that’s not enough to make you curious about other self-explained actions that built up his world I don’t know what will. The most I’ve heard from this squad man, (yes he’s always around with his mob ready to wave shit up) was an interview I read on Radr, it wasn’t enough but the visuals were incredible, a haven of his senses captured with his psychedelic use of colors. I’m lucky to dive into his mind, publishing our discussion is a pleasure.
(PS. I left all his answers in cap, yeah! I want you to feel his wave).
You’re visual aesthetic. Your music, art, production is all STRAFF. Tell me about how this aesthetic and persona was born?
Straff: THROUGH THE THIRST WHICH LEADS ME ON FOREVER AND EVER. YEAH I DO A BUNCH OF COOL STUFF. FIRSTLY THE VISUALS, IMAGES, VIDEO EDITS AND THE FAMOUS GRAPHIC DESIGNS. MAKING MUSIC OF COURSE, AND THE COOLEST OF CLOTHES. I GOT LIKE SCATTERED IDENTITIES AND REPUTATIONS BUILT AROUND THESE STUFF I DO BUT SOON COME TOGETHER AS THE BRAND BUILDS TO THE MOON AND BACK, IT’S SUPERLATIVE. THE WAY I FEEL IT SHOULDN’T BE IS THE BEST WAY I APPROACH STUFF
What draws you to approaching your art in ways not normally accepted?
Straff: CAUSE I HATE RANDOM SHIT, I LOVE TO LEAVE YOU THINKING AND GASPING TO THE LAST SECOND YOU GIVE UP ON HOW I MADE SOMETHING, ITS JUST WHO I AM. I CANT CHANGE IT. HOW & WHY*^ I MADE SOMETHING.
How did you get the name Straff and what’s the story behind your style of music?
Straff: STRAFF IS SHORT FOR STRAFFITTI, JUST A NAMED NICK BY A FRIEND I LIKED. NO STORY BRO, CAUSE THERES NO PRECISE STYLE YET. BUT I LOVE TO LISTEN TO THEOPHILUS LONDON, FRANK OCEAN, JOEY BADASS, POP STAPLES, AND LOGIC
Talking music, your last body of work was a brilliant piece of unorthodox yet perfectly curated sounds with a guest feature from MI. Tell us about vanilla sky and working with MI?
Straff: YEAH WUSS COOL. WORKING WITH M.I IS ONE OF MY MILESTONES ACHIEVED AT A REALLY EARLY STAGE, NOT TO FORGET THE FACT I WAS INTRODUCED THROUGH ICE PRINCE, LOVED THE WORK FLOW.
You’re very vocal about being different, being yourself. Do people find it hard accepting your art or music?
Straff: I FEEL BEING YOURSELF IS THE BEST FORM OF COOL. I MEAN PEOPLE THAT FUCK WITH ME AND LOVE ME, ENGAGE CAUSE I’M DOING STRAFF, I’M CREATING STUFF OF MY OWN IDENTITY & ALL.
Do you feel offended when people compare you to Tyler (The Creator)?
Straff: ME AND TYLER ARE TWO DIFFERENT PEOPLE. I DON’T SEE ANY REASON FOR COMPARISON. I MEAN, HE’S A GENIUS NOT TO DISPUTE THAT FACT AND I LOVE WHAT HE DOES, HE INSPIRES THE THIRST IN ME.
You use a lot of colors?
Straff: CALEON FOX, ASAP ROCKY, JADEN SMITH, PHARELL WILLIAMS USES A LOT OF COLOURS. WHY NOT COMPARE ME WITH THEM? CALEON FOX IS ACTUALLY THE GUY TO CREDIT FOR MY COLOURFUL, INTERESTING LIFESTYLE, LOVE THAT GUY MUCH MORE. HE INSPIRED ME AND ADDED TO MY CREATIVE JUICES.
What’s the vision of your cinematography?
Straff: TO CREATE AND CONTROL VISUAL ELEMENTS IN WHAT YOU SEE FOR A VIDEO PROJECT, ALL IS STILL IN PROGRESS TILL THE GRADUAL TEAM DEVELOPMENT IS COMPLETE.
What will such videos look like?
Straff: BRAIN SUPPLEMENTS, EYE MULTIVITAMINS.
How would you define the creative scene around you presently?
Straff: UGH, I REALLY DON’T PAY SO MUCH ATTENTION HERE. BUT FROM WHAT I SEE THERE’S DEAD VIBES OVER HERE AND NOBODY IS REALLY READY TO CREATE MIND CHANGING STUFF. PEOPLE JUST WANT TO GET AWAY WITH PLAYBACKS. BUT IT’S COOL THERE’S ALOT OF COME UPS AND THE RESPONSE IS LOW.
Response is low?
Straff: ART INTAKE IS REALLY LOW. POOR STREAM LEVELS, CURATED SHOWS MUSIC/ARTS, POOR RESPONSE FROM THE CROWD, POOR FEEDBACK.
KEEP THE POSITIVITY VERY TIGHT AROUND YOU ALWAYS, LEARN MORE. DO ALL WHAT YOU CAN DO BEFORE YOU DIE, YOU DIE ALONE SO NEVER LET ANYONE DRIFT YOU.
What influences do you think can increase the acceptance?
Straff: THERE’S A LOT LEADING TO THE PROBLEM: POOR SYSTEM, YOU CAN’T EVEN CHANGE FROM THERE, IT’S AFFECTING EVERYTHING. NO INTERNET FOR PEOPLE TO STREAM. IT’S A LOT, MOST ON THE ROLLS IS ON ONLINE AND PEOPLE CAN’T EVEN GET IN HERE. JUST THE RESPONSE TO DOPE ASS STUFF OUT THERE, VERY POOR.
In the shit storm which is Nigeria, how do keep focused on doing your art regardless?
Straff: IT’S WHAT IS, IT’S WHAT I LOVE SO I DO MY SHIT REGARDLESS. Y’ALL DO YOUR SHIT. KEEP THE POSITIVITY VERY TIGHT AROUND YOU ALWAYS, LEARN MORE. DO ALL WHAT YOU CAN DO BEFORE YOU DIE, YOU DIE ALONE SO NEVER LET ANYONE DRIFT YOU.
What is your aesthetic as a fashion lover? And plans do you have for maybe your own brand?
Straff: I LOVE PLAIN COLOURS MIXED TO THE PERFECT PALETTE. CLEAN WARM WHITE NICE SOCKS. ALSO PERFECTLY DESIGNED SHIRTS OF PATTERNS OF AN ELEMENT ARRANGED WELL. SIMPLICITY IS ALSO KEY TO MY DESIGN, BASICALLY OLD HELLS KITCHEN (NEW YORK + ITALIAN) FASHION RECANTED WITH COLOURS TOO, REALLY COOL. NEW THIRSTY MERCH OUT NEXT MONTH.
What’s your take on African fashion from the youths’ perspective?
Straff: AFRICAN FASHION? I PAY MORE ATTENTION TO OTHER ROOTS ROUND THE WORLD. I SEE AFRICAN FASHION EVERYDAY. NOT LIKE IT SUCKS BUT ITS NOT JUST WHAT I FUCKS WITH DEEP DEEP.
You talk about simplicity, why does that play such an important role in your design?
Straff: SIMPLICITY IS THE HARDEST TECHNIQUE TO PULL OFF BECAUSE IT HAS TO BE SIMPLY BEAUTIFUL IN AN ARTISTIC WAY PLUS IT SAVES TIME AND MONEY.
What’s really important to you in life?
Straff: GOD OBVIOUSLY.
Exiting the land of hues that is STRAFFITTI makes me think this is what it feels like coming down from an LSD trip, awed by the spectacle, downtrodden by the monochromes of real life and definitely eager to pop another pill of STRAFF. Interview by @AdedayoLaketu for @MoreBranches