Tapz is back and ready for action. We’ve been watching him since 2016 and after moving to New York, working on his sound and skillset, a new single ‘Juice’ has dropped. It’s different from his previous work, elevated, evolved and oh so sweet. And, of course, we love to catch up with Tapz, so we slid into his DMs to talk 2019.
10: How has life changed since we last talked to you in 2017? How has your sound changed?
Tapz: “That’s crazy we should talk more, that’s just too long. My sound is always evolving, you know me, I’m ’bout that spontaneous, unpredictable, innovative shit.”
What was the starting point for ‘Juice’? Where did you make it? What inspired it?
“I wrote it in LA with a friend of mine who played all the music on it. LA has such a vivid contrast of division, everywhere I looked I was seeing a whole lotta appropriation, people thinking they had juice like that, I felt a way, damn well knowing that they don’t give a fuck bout where they’re appropriating it from. Out of that frustration came the song ‘Juice’.”
You’re producing your own music as well as writing it – what’s the best part about having full creative control?
“It’s cool, I’m the only one that can create my sound the way I can, it’s easy because I know myself more than anyone else can. I still find it crazy that people really be sounding the same these days. At this point though, it’s not even about control anymore. It was about that at some point when I was so afraid of losing control and being controlled. You heard that quote “u gotta luv yourself before u let someone else luv u blah blah” gross but very true, I had to love and know my sound, how to create it consistently in and out before I let other people in to assist. Now my in-house production and creative team too crazy, and that comes when the intention, leader, trust and vision is clear.”
Who is influencing you at the moment musically?
“WOMEN. That’ll never change. People misinterpret what I mean when I say that, but that’s usually men, with their all so fragile masculinity… (my point exactly). Y’all just better, and I want to be better.”
You always look great – how much of your style informs your music? And vice versa.
“I just be dressing how I feel that day or how I wanna feel that day. I do the same when I write music. I felt sexy when I was writing these new songs, that’s really the only reason I was hitting high notes (laughs out loud). Anyway, I really do try use everything I am as a canvas for expression. We are multidimensional species so why do we box ourselves to one form of language or communication, I be tryna talk to you in all different forms and languages, let me show you what that sixth, seventh, eighth & ninth sense do.”
Will ‘Juice’ be followed by an album? We’re hoping so…
“I see what you did there… you see, if I tell you then we won’t have anything to talk about next month… so imma just keep it hush and leave it at that.”
What have you learnt since you last released music?
“I went through a transition where I lost half of my team. When that happened I lost a lot of security. Ironically I had just won an award for best New Zealand artist at the UK MTV EMA awards at the time, but in all honesty I felt just the opposite of best. I thought I needed the huge team I had at the time to reach the level of success that I’m going to reach in the next 5 years, well that’s what the industry told me anyway. The moment I stopped searching for what I had lost already, I found everything. I learnt, it’s never bout what you think you need, it’s bout what you already have, the moment you realise that, everything you’ll ever need will reveal itself in the purest form. I was looking to the people that believed in me to believe in my self. I didn’t realise that until they left. And shit, the moment I stopped looking for someone else, guess who I found? An annoying ass mf looking right back at me named TAPZ – that’s all I’ll ever need from now and forever.”
by Roxy Lola
Photograph by Greg Comollo