A beat-inspired artist with a DIY ethos and strong connections in the Irish hip-hop scene, YourCuzMarcus has a growing live following and captures a gritty, memorable side of Dublin in the video to his latest single ‘Homecoming’. He’s returning to the live scene after a period of absence by playing The Soundhouse this week, and I caught up with him ahead of the show…
Hi Marcus, thanks for your time! ‘Homecoming’ is about Ireland’s recent history with emigration. How do you view that situation and what made you write about it?
I think it’s something that’s become normalised in Irish culture. There are very few affordable places to rent on the market and a lot of people feel like they would have a better life elsewhere. I have friends who have left Ireland and never come back, which is sad but understandable. I think it’s important to note the good things about Ireland too. It’s a great hub for creativity for example. If we can figure out a more inclusive housing policy I think it could become a great place for young people.
The music video is, I understand, something you put together yourself. What were your aims when you did that?
It’s something I always wanted to try. I have a camcorder at home so I just started filming one day. I didn’t really have a concept for the video or any notion of how it might turn out. I ended up really liking the finished product so I decided to release it as the music video. It shows the Dublin that I know and love so I think it’s quite fitting.
Hip-hop inspired music has really taken off in Ireland in recent years. Is it a more welcoming scene, do you think, than it used to be?
Yes, absolutely! This is something I’m passionate about. Although I’m not a rapper, I do take a lot of influence from Hip hop and I know a lot of guys involved with the scene here in Dublin. It’s in a really healthy place. It’s created space for hip hop artists to break through into mainstream Irish culture and beyond. There are so many avenues people can take too. We’re seeing a lot of the guys involved becoming managers, journalists, producers, videographers, promoters…the list goes on. Irish hip hop is a great scene to be involved with at the moment.
Do you feel your sound has moved on since you released the likes of ‘Obey’?
I think it has. I feel like my earlier music had a very polished indie sound. As I’ve grown as an artist I’ve begun to take a more hands on approach to the production side of things. This has resulted in a sound that’s more lofi and a bit grittier. I really enjoy it and it means I can work on songs at home, programming drums and playing around with different synths.
What’s your approach to writing music?
It’s constantly changing. Sometimes I’ll write on the guitar but to be honest I’m doing most of my writing over beats I’ve made at the minute. I don’t try to force writing, sometimes it just comes to you and I think those are the moments to capitalise on.
Your press release mentions an encounter with Jape having a big influence. What happened?
Yeah, Jape is a legend! I’ve always been a fan and I had the pleasure of getting to know him personally recently. He co-produced I Think I’m Scum and has really encouraged me as both an artist and a producer. I owe that guy one for sure.
You have a Soundhouse show on the horizon. For those who haven’t seen you live before, what can we expect from your live shows?
Just a really great energy. Myself and the band really vibe off each other and the last time we played live the crowd were absolutely electric. That was one year ago now, when we sold out Whelans. I took a break from the live scene so I’m buzzing to get back in there.
‘I Think I’m Scum’ is quite a stark statement. Accepting that it’s not all that literal, how much self examination is in your music?
Music is where I go to examine myself. I’ve learned a lot. I love it.
What are your hopes for your music going forward?
To keep creating music I love and to connect with the people that love it too. Everything else is a bonus.