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INTERVIEW: French-Algerian Rapper Rilès

Hi Riles, welcome to VENTS! How have you been?

– Hey! So far so good.

Can you talk to us more about your latest single “Myself In The Sea”?

– Yea, it’s the 9th track on my debut album ‘Welcome To The Jungle’. It has that UK vibe that I’ve always tried to reproduce on previous draft-songs, and this one came to the best version of that vibe I tried to create.

Did any event in particular inspire you to write this song?

– It’s an overall feeling, thoughts that sit on your mind for so long that you can’t write on any other subject than this one. I tried to make it sound like not too depressed. Some people in France might not understand completely the meaning and lyrics behind the song, but the idea of having people vibing to it adds a little lightness on those thoughts I had.

How was the filming process and experience behind the video?

Kinda complicated. We came through a lot of unexpected events during the filming of the video. We were short on the timing and I was finishing the edit while I was also finishing mastering the last songs of my album. That week of video-editing/album mastering was soo intense. But at the end I’m satisfied on how the video rendered. Other than that, working with big teams always means a big gain in experience, and I feel like I’m more prepared than ever for the next music videos.

The single comes off your new album Welcome to the Jungle – what’s the story behind the title?

The Jungle in this title basically means ‘The Industry’. This album deals with all of the tribulations I had to go through (mentally, and sometimes physically) during the whole creation process of my debut. The past 2 years have been by far the most difficult and beautiful years of my entire existence.

How was the recording and writing process?

I produced/recorded/mixed/mastered the album mostly in my bedroom in Déville, France, and sometimes in the small AirBnb I rented in Los Angeles when I had meetings and stuff to do in the US.

How did your little experiment writing and playing over 50 songs get to help you on the writing of this record?

I’m way more efficient in the way I’m working. I know what I want and how I want it to be. but I always leave room for mistakes and improvement. I know that if I want to be satisfied with a song, I have to make 5 or 6 different versions at least.

What role does France play in your music?

It is where I’m born and where I am almost still living. The fact that all my songs are in English and most of the people that listen to my music are not native English speakers adds to it the strange feeling of freedom within my art. I mean, I feel like sometimes I need to get things off of my chest, and I can do it with no prudishness. All my songs are 100% honest, I write them all alone, I record everything alone. I know I might not have the best lyrical skills, but there’s this famous sentence that says “If you can’t be a poet, be the poem”. That’s what I’m trying to do.

What aspect of mental health did you get to explore on this record?

I’m trying to explore my own. I try to express it with as little a filter as possible, I want to see where this goes. I’m my own case study, and it’s complicated.

What made you want to tackle on such a dark theme?

When I write a song, I’m never thinking about a theme first. I just sang and tried to put in a form of poetry what was/is on my mind.

How did you get to balance the dark aspects that come with the topic, with the much uplifting tone?

It’s a way for me to disguise the real meaning of a song. Maybe because I’m shy when it comes to talking about the real subject behind that. As I said earlier, I try to cheat the listener who might not understand the meaning of the song.

Where else did you find the inspiration for the songs and lyrics?

I try to find inspiration in my own life for the lyrics, I’m kind of a self-centered person. I witness my existence and I try to shape a story out of it. For the songs, I can find inspiration in everything honestly. From Kanye to Capoeira songs to Arabic songs my father used to put In the car when I was young.

Any plans to hit the road?

Yes, I’ll be in an Arena tour in France by the end of this year. Then I might hit the US a second time, but with a larger tour.

What else is happening next in Riles’ world?

Who knows? We’ll see, and try to get to the second album!

Welcome to the Jungle is out August 30th!

Watch BTS video and official music video for “Myself In The Sea”

About RJ Frometa

Head Honcho, Editor in Chief and writer here on VENTS. I don't like walking on the beach, but I love playing the guitar and geeking out about music. I am also a movie maniac and 6 hours sleeper.

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