Part of the increasingly ‘noticed’ Irish rap scene, Spekulativ Fiktion has been doing the rounds for years, but come into his own recently with a rapid-fire series of releases showcasing his lyrical flow and sense of place.
The place, specifically, is Cork, but it’s also the world of social justice and inner exploration, lyrics that evoke and memorable collaborations that put a memorable shine on his self-admittedly ‘oddball’ style of rap.
With an album on the horizon – though who knows when – I caught up with ‘Spek’, in what turned out to be one of the most wonderfully comprehensive Q+As I’ve done in recent years. Dig into the man’s inner thoughts, below…
The last couple of years seem to have taken you firmly into the recorded arena, with a series of releases. What pushed you to take that step up after so long on the scene?
I have released EPs and collaborations since Spekulativ Fiktion’s inception and was always happy with how they were received but on the run-up to Effigies I reckon I was going through a bit of a life crisis… Turning thirty seems trivial with where the world is at now!
Nonetheless, I figured if I didn’t up my efforts with getting my music out there I had somehow wasted my twenties. Ironically I think I nearly had a breakdown writing the thing! Anything really worth doing shouldn’t be easy they say. Big ups Mankyy for keeping it all together. I’m in a better headspace now but I’ve kept onto that mentality I developed back then with how I approach releasing and promoting my music. If you value what you do then you should try and do it justice when you put it out in the world. I’m still learning of course.
Lyrics are obviously key in a genre like yours. How do you write a typical track, lyrically speaking?
It varies from track to track. I always carry a notebook so I can jot things as they come. My phone is full of ideas too. Quite often I will write pages of the same rhyme scheme and build lyrics from the most interesting words and phrases I can come up with. Other times I could be reading and will gather expressions to look back on later.
Sometimes I might have a clear theme or concept I want to deal with or else I’ll see where the beat leads me. There might be drafts and redrafts, other times the song pours out on the spot. I even notice different outcomes between hand writing or typing something. I have no specific procedure. Different approaches keep it fresh for me.
Could you give me a little background on the Don Conroy track and the video?
I had planned on working with Cork producer, Pacino Brady, for a while. He had sent me a few beats. At the same time, Andy from Unscene contacted me about contributing to the HOW BAZAAR compilation. The Unscene Bazaars are free events running from Limerick’s Wickham Tap, that consist of performances by some of the country’s finest offbeat producers, DJs, rappers, and general sonic weirdos.
The compilation was a fundraiser for future events. I recorded vocals on a Brady beat and sent it on, titled Don Conroy (after a particular lyric in the song). I had not had a video release in some time and figured this would be a nice way to lead into a bunch of shows I had coming up (which obviously isn’t the case now!). I put the video together under another alias, scrbl crypt. I was going for kind of a warped nostalgic vibe with the imagery. Call it fate that Mr Conroy himself has since returned and revived Draw with Don on his YouTube channel while we were sitting on the video release.