Sound, scent, and self-expression, with sound-artist Latekid.
We had the undeniable pleasure of chatting with Latekid (the sound artist behind the auditory art inspired by our two newest scents Human and Nature) about his process, the influence of the city he calls home, and having a dream.
First off, who's the man behind the magic?
Latekid is an artist from South London who’s work stems from his poetry but exists as the blending of different art forms. Starting as a self-taught singer and song writer, with electronic and alternative production values, Latekid has transgressed into a professional artist and sound designer with a back catalogue of performances at The Jazz Cafe, Tate Britain, and Tate Modern. He has featured on the BBC Introducing Song of the Week with his track called ‘Woodwork’, by Avenhue + Latekid, and even sound designed for the likes of Louis Vuitton, Caleb Femi, Clarks x BAPE - and now Ilk!
Latekid also founded the arts collective ‘fwrdmtn’ alongside Avenhue (Jake Setters) +
/WeirdToday (Antosh Wojcik) - providing a home for alternative artists from a range of disciplines including production, poetry, photography, DJing and more. Check out the fwrdmtn owned SoHo Radio and Threads Radio show or get in touch via their IG @latekid_ + @fwrdmtn to learn more of their previous creative collaborations, consultancy and more.
Lastly for those based in or travelling via London - Latekid has headline show at Roundhouse on the 22nd of June; showcasing new music, alternative arts and the members of fwrdmtn - it’s a show not to be missed. Get tickets here
How did growing up in the city inform your relationship with the urban and with nature - and how does this live in your art?
London is genuinely ridiculous for its sheer size and variation of landscapes - I’ve been lucky to mainly reside in South and East London since childhood, so nature has always weaved into my urban landscapes. So much so that I see most things in both a synthetic and organic fashion - if tree roots are lifting the tarmac then a bird calling can work as a really good hi hat.
" This is to say that my art is nothing without nature, even within my poetry I utilise nature and the organic in a way of grounding a situation or place - whereas the urban and the synthetic are used as my cladding and placeholder equipment. "
We all have buildings, roads or physical art pieces that we remember, these are so useful for the imagination - but nothing can be made or informed without the bedrock of nature itself.
Listen to Latekid's interpretation of his experience of inhabiting both the natural world and that constructed by mankind below.
You resonate with the power of contradictions and the idea of layering scents to adapt to your own moods and characteristics. Is it fair to say that your art and how you express yourself (poetry, singing, visual merchandise, style, sound design) welcomes and utilizes contradiction?
I think Ilk and I have worked so well due to the fact we welcome contradiction into our work without fear - within contradictions we find new outcomes and exciting questions. With my work this feeling of going against the grain or challenging my expression is absolutely vital - something as simple as singing softly on an intensely bass driven trap beat is a contradiction which allows the listener to feel a sense of unease.
But as you relax you can analyse further, deeper, and create a higher outcome of
personal conclusions - rather than things that are expected to be with one another.
This idea of challenging my own ideas and comfort zones with a contradictor concept is the bedrock of my artistry, and probably why I can’t just accept myself as one form of artist. I am many things and I want to be many more; through personal artistic synthesis and mental catharsis I hope to continue to challenging myself, all my life, with the power of contradiction.
Can you please talk us through the process of designing the soundscapes for our scent Human and Nature?
I honed in on the work I had done previously for Louis Vuitton - whereby I synthetically captured and audibly transposed both organic sounds and those we recognise from the physical realms of life.
For Ilk I wanted to lean into electronic work and the possibilities synths give us in terms of making “otherworldly” sounds that can transport the listener instantly – we inherently know when the sound isn’t from an acoustic instrument - it’s frequencies, waveforms and effects. Using this as the bedrock of the piece allowed for contradiction to shape the listeners experience of both Human and Nature.
Humans are organic yet create synthetic materials and products - Nature is organic too but must now populate our man-made areas for the benefit of Human consumption and general well-being. These inherent contradictions allowed the sound work to take on these very ideas. Synths and samples were applied but I also utilised Foley sound - such as recording out of the window or using my iPhone to capture helicopters at a moment’s notice. It was extremely fun and a good practice for those looking to find a genuine connection between their art and a product.
Listen to an extract of the sound pieces for Human and Nature layered below - or visit our campaign page here to listen to the full tracks and access exclusive content from our collaborators. Also to learn about the charity Trees For Cities (10% of sales donated) and how to plant your own wildflower seeds contained in each 50ml box.
You’ve worked with Louis Vuitton, The V&A Museum, Bape X Clarks (and now Ilk!) to name a few - who would be your dream collaboration and what do you want to do more of?
Firstly, I couldn’t even imagine I’d have a list of collaborators or companies like that associated with me back when I started designing, performing and creating music or sounds - so I have to start by saying I’m immensely humbled and grateful for my journey so far and only wish to continue, improve, and work with artists and ideas that I love.
A dream collaboration is so difficult to pin down, but I really love what Salehe Bembury is doing at the moment. From his work back at Cole Haan, to more current work with Crocs, New Balance and Canada Goose - it’s amazing how he instils his motifs and values into what he does whilst remaining original and true to himself - I would love to see how my words, sounds and creative skills could work alongside him to create something insane.