Surrounded by restrictions brought on by a conservative, religious home – Trannieboi often had to hide his interest in mainstream music as the likes of pop and hip hop were definite no-nos. “That made it mesmerizing you know; I had to be sly, turn on Channel U when no one was around. I remember one time my mum coming into my room and hearing me listen to Kanye, and totally flipping out,” adding, “But growing up it was mostly the British sound that caught my attention, I have a really strong memory of listening to Dizzee Rascals’ ‘Boy In The Corner’ for the first time and just shaking. I had never heard anything that sounded like that.”
Today, Trannieboi is all grown up and can listen and make whatever he wants – and does. We talked to him about his vibrant sounds, musical medications, and more in this back and forth exchange.
Kendra: It’s hard to miss the vibrancy of your sound. From the press of play, it’s high-key energy from start to finish. In a time where many are just mentally and oftentimes physically exhausted from, well, just about everything – what pushes you to go that hard in your music?
Trannieboi: When I started writing music, it was much more about catharsis – like heavy confessional indie music, very downbeat, sad girl stuff. And I kind of hit a wall where I couldn’t really do it anymore, I had really bad writer’s block for like two years. So I stopped trying to do anything I had previously done and started working with Shurk- he’s from an EDM background so thought very differently about stuff than I did. I needed to make stuff that I could have fun with, take myself less seriously, and Shurk kind of showed me how to do that.
Kendra: Throughout history, music has always served as a reflection of the world at that time, and that’s never been more true than your “Sertraline Gang.” There is a lot packed into that amazing track, but what initially pushed your pen to write this track?
Trannieboi: Honestly, I have been trying to write about medication for ages but nothing stuck. I was trying to be too sincere with it I think. And then one day in the studio with Shurk we were kind of messing around with some chords and it just sort of felt right, it was more of a spontaneous thing.
Kendra: I feel that song had a more universal overtone while you went more personal with “Lipitor.” You’ve noted it was about your “experiences of psychosis.” Do you feel that once it was written and recorded, it was therapeutic in a way?
Trannieboi: I find it therapeutic. I think when I’m writing bars I can justify not censoring anything, I don’t have to make other people feel comfortable about me being mentally ill, I don’t have to code-switch or perform wellness- I can just vent.
Kendra: We’ve spent almost a year living during a global pandemic and it’s been incredibly insane for musicians. How do you feel your local music scene in London will recover once things start to crawl back to normal?
Trannieboi: I honestly have no idea what the scene is going to look like we can go back to gigging. It feels very weird to have been working on dance music when no one can hear it in a club, but I think everyone is going to be so desperate for things to start up again that I think we’re just going to be thrown into gigs the second the venues are open. I absolutely can’t wait.
Kendra: Lastly, it’s hard to have a definite answer when it comes to future plans given the current state of everything, but as far as what you can control when it comes to your career and creativity – what do you have planned in the coming months for yourself?
Trannieboi: I’m working on an EP right now which I’m very excited about! It should be coming out around March-ish(???) so I’m trying to throw myself into that right now.