Next in this series of guest posts comes from new boy, Bristol-based rapper Offbeat. This guy's just starting out but he's got a really interesting approach and a story to tell.
Greetings, Swingers - Offbeat here!
For those who don’t know me, I take Electro Swing-inspired beats and combine them with the observations of a slightly awkward middle class rapper to create my own fusion of the two genres. My style has been described as “Mike Skinner from The Streets meets Will from the Inbetweeners. With Swing.”
I rap about everyday things like online dating, reality TV and self help gurus. For me the Swing/Vintage sound is the perfect accompaniment to this, as it has the energy and feel-good vibe that counteracts the seriousness so much Hip Hop has. One of the most common comments I get is “I don’t normally like Hip Hop, but this is alright”. I’m OK with that.
I am a relative newcomer to the scene, having only discovered Electro Swing in 2014. Until then I had taken a 10 year break from rapping but, upon attending an event with a friend, immediately fell in love with the sound. The friend in question put on his own night at the time and I (drunkenly) proclaimed that if he booked me in a month’s time, I would write enough material to perform a short set, using this wonderful new genre of music. Needless to say, I woke up the next morning and kicked myself but, true to my word, I performed a month later and haven’t looked back since.
What I have done
After meeting a Glasgow-based producer called Calum Matheson, I released my first video at the end of 2014. The video is called “Widlife” and is an Attenborough-esque take on a typical lad’s night out performed over a remix of the Jungle Book’s “I Wanna Be Like You”. I released this with a 4-track EP which was, and still is, available to download free from my website (there’s lots of other free downloads here too, so check it out!).
Since then I have released another 3 videos and 2 EPs. The latest video is called “Prohibition!” and sees my character rise to the position of “Swingpin” in an alternate 1920s where Swing music is banned instead of booze. The video is in the style of animated comic and was a lot of fun to make!
What I’m doing now
In addition to the music itself, I like to produce a lot of additional content. I’m a geek at heart, so I’m always fascinated by anything that gives an insight into the creative process of things I’m interested in. With every song I release I also now do a ‘Behind the Bars’ video that explains the origin and thoughts behind each song and I also do a weekly live Q&A on www.twitch.tv/iamoffbeat.
Oh and I’ve also just quit my job actually! After 4 years of running my own business, I came to the realisation it wasn’t making me happy so made the incredibly ill-judged decision to pursue music full time. Only time will tell if this was the right thing to do or not, but I’m hoping that through a combination of gigs, streaming income and merch sales that I can generate enough to make a living doing the thing I am truly passionate about.
I am just finishing off my 4th EP, after which I am going to take a short break from making my own music and focus on some of the additional content I mentioned earlier. I’m lucky enough to have met and supported many of my favourite artists over the last year or so, so one of the things I plan on doing is interviewing them for my YouTube channel to give an insight into their creative processes as well.
I also have a number of collaborations in the pipeline and plan to focus on these more, before releasing some more of my own solo material towards the end of the year.
Where you can find me
My website is the best place to keep up to date with everything I’m up to: http://iamoffbeat.com.
You can also find me in all the usual Social Media places, but the two I’m probably most active on are YouTube and Facebook.
Thanks for reading and I hope to see you at a gig/festival soon!