Koder is an artist who is ready to make a name for himself.
The first time we watched him first perform live was back in 2014 at the Barfly, now known as Camden assembly. Even then we saw a hunger, desire and energy which showed a man destined for success. That night he opened for Birmingham MC Lady Leshurr who herself went on to win a MOBO in 2017, now Koder has matured and is ready to release his major project ‘Vibrations’ which he describes as ‘giving an honest point of view on the world’ – a world that is always changing and is in need of artists to inspire and motivate people through music. Koder is an artist with bundles of artistic integrity and is looking to inspire listeners with his next release.
Music has always been an influence in Koder’s life: ‘As a child I remember my dad playing a lot of Reggae around the house and my mum listening to Soul, songs like ‘It's Gonna Take A Miracle’ by Deniece Williams or ‘Good Thing Going’ by Sugar Minott were always on rotation for me growing up.’ Koder would take these influences from hearing other genres in his childhood such as Soul and later discover the genre that would be the truest reflection of his reality living in South London; this was Grime music.
South London Life
Inspired by family yet again, Koder’s path was set: ‘I also had two older cousins who were MCs, one a jungle MC called Younger Youth and the other a Garage MC called Dimmer. Being around them as a kid made me fall in love with the UK sound.’ And that’s something you notice very quick about Koder’s music; he’s unapologetically British and represents South London life to the fullest – a place full of untold narratives by disenfranchised youths who helped spark the movement which has now become the worldwide phenomenon known as Grime.
Koder describes how he first started listening to ‘a lot of pirate radio and Old School Heartless and So Solid Crew tapes’ and through ‘witnessing the birth of the Grime scene’ he decided that he wanted to pursue a career in music because ‘I was watching and listening to people who I identified with and lived in similar circumstances as me and who were talking a language I was fluent in.’
Grime is all about representation, for years Grime was rejected by mainstream radio stations, now it is celebrated as a beacon of British Culture and there is no better time than right now for a British artist to be involved in the movement. On Grime’s extraordinary emergence last year Koder comments: ‘I respect what Stormzy has been able to do, he’s been able to rise out of the hood and make him and his family's lives better whilst doing what he loves and that's what it's about!’ Clearly inspired, Koder is ready to do the same with the release of ‘Vibrations.’
He tells us to expect several features on ‘Vibrations’ including other top artists in the game such as: Nova Twins, Novelist, Conrad Kira, Alika, Jess B and Raiza Biza. ‘I knew when creating the project that I was addressing issues which are normally spoken about behind closed doors but rarely spoken about on records in today's generation.’ An honest project, Koder feels like it is his responsibility to speak for those who do not have a platform to voice their frustrations: ‘I had to be one with my decision and know that I was no longer speaking for myself, I was now speaking on behalf of my people and that comes with its challenges because of the mainstream programming we are so used to.’
Detailing his intricate creative process, he explains: ‘I get inspired by the littlest things, it could be a colour or a police car driving past. Those amongst other things trigger memories or concepts that I later go on to write songs about.’ He was inspired to call the album ‘Vibrations’ because of a song he wrote of the same title after the Brexit decision and hearing about the incidences of police brutality in America. ‘I felt hurt by everything that was happening and being into meditation I know how important vibrations are. I wanted to create a project that was for my myself and my people to turn up the vibrations to.’
Koder certainly does not shy away from social issues and bravely wrote a track called ‘Ignorant Katie’ after the controversial conservative commentator Katie Hopkins ‘wrote a filthy article in the Daily Mail about a guy from my area who had died (Lewisham rapper M Dot) and as a response to her article I recorded a song entitled ‘Ignorant Katie.’
The production as well as the content is important to Koder. He proudly tweeted a picture of himself inside the legendary Abbey Road Studios. He explained: ‘Recording in Abbey Road is unreal learning the history and hearing random stories about the Beatles is pretty cool also but knowing that you’re recording in the same space that was occupied by greats at such an early stage in your career is a great feeling, especially when you’re in there making records like ‘Vibrations.’
On the production of the album Koder worked with his long term collaborator BlameBlame who he also teamed up with for tracks like ‘Zone Again’ featuring a vocal sample from Skepta, ‘In The Dark’ and ‘Ignorant Katie’ and he described the pair as having lot of chemistry.
We look forward to the release of ‘Vibrations’ in the coming months, Koder is just putting the finishing touches to the project but he hopes this year ‘to perform at some festivals,’ sell out his own headline show and travel more. Full of ambition, he is determined to spread the positive vibrations, create more opportunities for young people and most importantly love every single second he is given.
Have a listen to Koder’s track ‘Zone Again’ below: