Track By Track: Victony Breaks Down His Sophomore EP, ‘Outlaw’
A refreshing follow up to his debut EP 'Saturn'
A refreshing follow up to his debut EP 'Saturn'
In the summer of 2020, Victony elbowed his way into Afropop with an elegant and vibrant debut EP titled ‘Saturn’. The project, a 6-track EP released at the height of the COVID-19 pandemic introduced the world to his refreshing sound, and placed his name in conversations about Afropop’s new vanguard. Since then he’s only doubled down on displaying his fine craftmanship through collaborations such as “Holy Father” with Mayorkun and “Nataraja” with street pop producer, Rexxie.
Last Friday, the singer shared his sophomore EP ‘Outlaw,’ a 7-tracker which is intricately structured and emotionally layered with personal tales about love, life, lust, and becoming. “Being an Outlaw simply means being unapologetically you and we’re in a society where being yourself seems to be abnormal, so if being yourself is abnormal, then we’re outlaws”, the artist who had recently shared his body of work in the early hours of the day shared via a Twitter space hosted by The NATIVE.
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On ‘Outlaw,’ the artist explores matters and topics which revolve around romance, love, self-growth and self awareness. On records such as “Outlaw” and “Kolomental”, Victony speaks on a better and more improved verse of himself as well as focusing on what the future holds for him rather than dwelling on his past experiences. On the EP’s opening number, he sings lyrics such as “say I no dey fear fire, champion boy you go vex tire/Enemy saliva no dey quench fire/if you hating you go vex tire”, chanting to those who don’t believe in him that he’s here for a long time with a bold and assuring tone.
With production from a few producers including lead producer group Ktizo, P.priime, Tempo and Blaise Beatz, Victony delivers some of his most honest work to date. ‘Outlaw’ is a clear showcase of his newly refined confidence after a year of seismic change in his personal and professional life. Take it from the man of the hour himself, below Victony breaks down the tracks on his project ‘Outlaw.’
I recorded “Outlaw” mid-2020 and that took the longest time to create on the EP because it’s a song that has depth and just needed time. It doesn’t even start immediately you hear the song, it starts off with a chant and then you begin to hear whispers. This was a song I wanted to have depth like lyrically, especially. We started the production on one day and we had to come back and finish with that later, and I felt it was a good opener because it embodies the right emotions for this project. It tells my story and it shows my relationships with the outlaws. At the time, I was honestly just voicing out the thoughts in my head and that’s how the song came about, “me I no dey fear fire”, not being scared of anybody, being a champion regardless, just going through situations and most importantly, being Victony, and I felt like there’s no other way to start this project than with this song.
With this song, I was listening to the beat online, apparently it was a Youtube beat and I fell in love with the beat. The beat basically kicked something in me, and I wrote this whole song in minutes. Usually, I do not like writing a song just with melodies in my head, I like to voice out melodies, do like a gibberish freestyle, and begin to replace the gibberish with words. However, with “Chop & Slide”, it was completely different. I was really excited but Hoodini, the producer who was recording me at the time had said he wasn’t really feeling it, so that just killed my morale. But my manager Dafe came back from school after a while and heard the song. He was super excited about it as well. I went back to the record and I said regardless of what anybody has to say, I’m going to finish this record and so I did. I was imaginative with the writing because that’s not a situation I’ve experienced before but at that point, it felt like the beat was commanding me to write about that. I really had no choice, I was just going with the flow.
Making “Apollo” with P.priime was such an experience for me. We started the beat from scratch and I told him I really loved the song “Remember You” by DJ Clock and I wanted to do something with those exact chords. We just kept on exchanging energies, we kept on rubbing minds together and just banging our ideas. It was just such an energetic record and there were no dull moment at the session. It was just back to back and after we were done recording, we went back and forth with the production and made series of changes. Initially there was no second verse, I added the verse later and I had some girls come do some backup and just did some finishing touches and that’s how “Apollo” became “Apollo.”
The EP was originally six songs and as a fun fact, I added “All Power” on the night of submission. This was the last song I recorded a few weeks back and I really just love the song. I’m not sure what it is but there’s just something about it that I love. I was at the studio with Dafe and Hoodini and we had just rounded up a discussion on submission and I was upstairs listening to “All Power” and I was like this song has to be on the EP. I was sure this was what the tape needed and so I went downstairs and said we had to put this song on. It was a bit of a hassle because we felt like 7 songs was just a bit too much but I don’t think there’s anything like too much music so we just added the song. However, creating “All Power” was such an experience for me. Shoutout to Ktizo — the producer collective who produced about 60% of the EP. So I was with Seni, one of the producers and I was tired because I had just come back from my interview but I really just wanted to make music. I told him to play some chords and he did and we just went off. The studio was on fire. It’s a different thing when you’re making a song and when you’re in love with the song.
With “Jolene” right, I was in a session and the producer Hoodini played the beat but I was just like next please. I hated the beat on first listen and another day, I was going through my files and the beat came on and, it actually sounded good so I picked up my phone and turned on my recorder and I recorded this melody but I didn’t feel it still. I said I’d play it for Hoodini and I eventually did play it for him and he liked it but I still wasn’t seeing the vision even after recording. However, as soon as he got the girls to chant the chorus that was when it became something to me. From the first day we recorded the song, he had said this was a song that’ll do good in Spanish countries and it’ll be more appreciated by people who are not from this part of the world. I guess at that point, I didn’t really see his vision or understand what he was saying until it became chanty and we got those extra backup vocals on the hook. That was when “Jolene” became “Jolene” to me and I think right now, it’s a whole lot of people’s favourite from what I’ve seen so far.
I decided to call the song “Soweto” but it doesn’t in any way directly reference the place. “Soweto” just felt like a perfect title. Working with Tempoe was so fun and he’s such a talented producer. I didn’t really believe in this record as well, “Soweto” was one of the laziest sessions I ever had and I think the laziness was the swag in the song. When you listen to “Soweto” you feel drugged up, I felt like I was on drugs when I was recording. So I’d record a melody, go watch TV, then go back and lay another melody and Tempoe asked me to finish it so I did. He even took it upon himself to help me with some lines and he made sure we finished the song that day. I was really ignorant in the session but playing it for my friends and seeing their reactions made me realise that there’s something about “Soweto”. I caught the bug later and I understood what it was with “Soweto” after a while. I realised it was just the expression, the attitude and the charisma I had on the song were very different and that helped me appreciate the song much later.
So I linked up Blaise Beatz, another very talented producer who has produced some of the biggest records in the country. For some reason, I just wanted to tap into Blaise’s world because I often feel like this is who I want to work with today. Sometimes when I’m away from my comfort zone and I don’t work with Ktizo for long, I work with other producers. Blaise had this traditional feel to his sound which is very indigenous but still not tied to a place so that people from different parts of the world can still appreciate the song. So we linked up, I gave him the chords to play and we just started building from there. It was just a really normal day, nothing too bright or too dull but for some reason, I wanted to speak on the topic. I wasn’t really in a good or bad mood per say when I was making this, I just wanted to let out the message that I’ve had so many experiences in the last year but I don’t want to think about it. Yes, a lot has happened but I don’t want to focus on that. I want to just focus on the things that actually matter.
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