"I’ve transformed part of me into sonic waves..."

“I said some wild shit when I was high!” Oliver Malcolm laughs when Clash ask him to respond to some of his old quotes.

Raised in a house where an eclectic mix of Aretha Franklin and west coast hip-hop reigned supreme, Malcolm’s family upped roots from London to L.A. when Oliver was 16. As soon as his plane hit the tarmac, Oliver plunged himself into the city’s beat battles. “I knew no one,” he explains, “but I knew that I had to meet people because otherwise how would people hear my music? Once I got to L.A. and saw how meeting one person led to meeting someone else, I got really conscious of how crucial networking was to the process”.

As his USBs began circulating L.A., one of the first artists to reach out was Jay Rock - “it lifted everything” - and before long he was working with the likes of MF Doom, Joey Bada$$ and Cee Lo Green. But something didn’t feel right. Despite being in the room, his vision was being ignored. So he left, USBs in hand, determined to pursue his artistic vision on his own.

“I was in certain rooms with artists that I had no business being in,” he recalls, “and there were times when I definitely took L’s in sessions, but I always learned from it. If I’m starting a process and it doesn’t feel rewarding, it’s very difficult to keep going with it.”

With five tracks to his name, 2021 is already looking like being a busy year. His debut EP is scheduled for release in the Spring, a project which, for Oliver, was all about experimentation. “Experimentation means I actually have no idea what I’m doing, but I’m throwing shit at a wall and seeing what sticks,” he laughs.

With the EP complete, attention has turned to his debut LP – and the differentiation between the projects is stark. “I’ve transformed part of me into sonic waves - I’ve accurately converted myself into soundwaves. When I write songs, I feel like I etch part of my DNA into the universe”.

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Words: Cailean Coffey
Photography: Elliott Morgan

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