Do It Yourself – the mantra of the determinedly self-motivated and resolved. It’s a philosophy that emanates from an uncompromising spirit, an urge that can only be satisfied on its own terms. During its existence in the local hip-hop ecosystem, CampFire, the duo of producer-rapper Nicco Homaili and rapper Joshua Tan, was a winning testimony of the DIY ethos. And when the project announced its end in February this year, those invested in its magic damn near wept. But today, we bring you something to celebrate about: the solo guise of Nicco Homaili.
Self-produced, self-written, self-everything, as it before, Nicco’s world takes on even more deeper and colouristic hues now. His debut double single “Trust No One/But Yourself” pivots on a soft -hard duality and fires an emotional payload that is crushing and uplifting all at once. We’ll get an album-sized vision of this later in the year but for now, read his words on his rebirth and watch the Yung Tau Foo Productions-helmed video below.
How have you been since CampFire?
It’s been a chance for me to explore and delve more into what I can do. CampFire was great but I had to fuse two sounds into one production. Sometimes, in any collective or band, you might have differences and whatever plays in your head might not be the same for the other party. So, CampFire ending is a good chance for me to understand my vocal depth. I feel that I’ve also improved my production depth as well. That’s why I think it’s a good time for me to release something.
“It’s more of like, if I want to do it, I don’t want to use anyone’s help. I execute things as much as I can on my own.”
What’s the most liberating part of making music on your own?
I write to answer all my doubts and questions. When the album releases in October, you’ll realise that it’s not about the swag, money or having more clout. The best way for me to write is when I’m on my way back home and in the bus. It’s great when you write, produce and record on the same night but due to the hustle of working, it’s hard. But when you listen to it after it’s done, you feel very satisfied. I don’t mind if my songs have less than 1000 streams but deep down, I do want to be successful. But I always remind myself that the main purpose is not to put out something pretentious but to write music that settles and manages my overthinking tendencies. It actually keeps me alive.
What would you say is the difference between Campfire and Nicco Homaili musically?
I think it’s almost similar. Josh and I both agreed to write more about social issues. The difference is that his story was always stitched with mine. But now, with everything coming from me, it’s super personal. The next music video will come out in August and it called, “Doppelganger”. ‘Doppelganger’ is a character that I created; and if I don’t write my stuff, I can’t get over things. When I listen back to myself, which is the alter ego, ‘Doppelganger’, that’s when I feel that I’m making music with sincerity. I think without this second character, I won’t be able to write. It’s vital in getting what I feel out there. There is also a song called, “Dots in a Dot”, which came from me observing people who believe in the hype and showing off what they got and feel like they own the world. This song is about being pretentious. I’m also a guy, so there’s definitely a love story. Laughs.
There’s this song called, “Love at First F**k”, which is a one-night-stand song but it transcends into the connection you might feel with someone after. It’s about connecting for the night only and realising that the toughest part is letting her know that you’re not looking for more. The problem is it was passionate at one point, so you tend to go back. At the end of the song, I also admit it by saying, “I’m a sinner.”
What’s the story behind “Trust No One” / “But Yourself”?
I’m On good terms with CampFire, as a project. No grudges. But this was at a point of time when CampFire broke up and I didn’t know what else to do. So, I decided to be focused in my music in a more personal and sincere way. It’s more of like, if I want to do it, I don’t want to use anyone’s help. I execute things as much as I can on my own. That’s basically what “Trust No One” is about. “But Yourself” is basically to finish up “Trust No One”, which sounded really mellow. “But Yourself” is harder and about me being reborn. It’s more of celebrating myself. It’s only a minute long to tease people about what more I could do besides being mellow. It’s sort of a two-in-one thing but it wasn’t planned as such. When the songs are released, it will be two separate songs but for the video, it will be stitched into one.
How do you feel about this phase of your musical development and the kind of world it exists in?
I don’t know man. I have influences such as Amir Obè and Eli Sostre. I’m more of a late-night kind of guy. I put my problems or solutions into a song and create music that fits how I feel late at night. Most of my work is done at night with a certain mood. I don’t know if I’m an introvert because sometimes I find it hard to talk to people unless I’m really comfortable. I also see a beauty in that. Sometimes, when you’re socially awkward, it fits as an inspiration to yourself. The room that I record now, with the funky disco lights and blinds down, is my sanctuary or sincerity spot. So, I don’t see myself in any SoundCloud rap kind of genre. I’d say I’m rap, hip-hop and R&B in a loose sense.