NEO 10Y has been shaking up London over the last two years. The multi-faceted artist has proven that he is ahead of the curve and consistently challenges conventions with his politically charged releases. After garnering attention with his The Kid That Killed Tr*mp series in 2016, the act is back with his latest numbers Dopamine and its B-Side Poems To Fuck Too, which both dabble in introspection and self-love.
As NEO begins his accent to his latest project release, L Ø S T C U L T U R E caught up with him to discuss his journey to date.
Unpack what your name means both to you and the world?
You know, I figured I wanted to name my music something different from my birth name as like a shout out to my higher self. These words, lyrics and actions are being channeled through me, and I wanted something hybrid that felt like the future but was also me AF.
NEO 10Y originally comes from the word NEOTENY in biology which means “the retention of childhood characteristics in adulthood”, so the idea of retaining the purity of what we originally came to this planet with, before society fucked it up for everyone.
On an even more intricate and detailed note with regards to my name being 10 / NEO 10Y, a 1 and a 0 together – it is, in fact, the only number where two parts of the binary code are cohesive together demonstrating a sense of togetherness, is integral to my voice and artistry. The ultimate balance. Complete. Also, my Sanskrit name is Nikhil which means “complete”.
‘Dopamine’ and its B-Side ‘Poems To Fuck To’ are connected lyrically, how does this work?
As a double release, Dopamine and Poems To Fuck To are interconnected both sonically and lyrically/from an emotional and narrative perspective – although Poems To Fuck To is raw and recorded organically – a literal song with no fixed BPM which is a rarity today.
Poems To Fuck To acts as a descriptor for Dopamine and Dopamine is a song that is about finding yourself, your own happiness, so that we can collectively, through group consciousness, find world peace.
Dopamine has the lyrics “I love it baby when you’re still inside of me” – of course, this transcends sex, a person, a high (in any form), the idea of your higher self/a hit/God/the universe being within all of us. Poems To Fuck To has the reverse sentiment included in the song “I’m still inside you, from every single hit we take.”
Why have you decided to go a more lo-fi, laid-back sound this time round?
I think that I have found more peace at a human to some extent. I was kinda more “mad at the world” before, especially with “Amerikkka”, and I think my mind and artistry has evolved to a place where I am creating the songs for more people. For a wider conscious experience.
There are so many details of who I am as a person and I wanted to show more of that with this release.
Are these numbers a part of a wider release?
So as an independent artist, I don’t really have the option of going to work on 20 tracks for an album and releasing them all together. Also, I don’t really feel that that is how the industry is working right now. Don’t get me wrong, I would LOVE a massive investment to make an album, and it would slay, BUT where I am right now, I feel that my tracks are all evolving and one cohesive journey. So, if you listen to NEO 10Y on Spotify, TiDAL, Apple etc. it all fits together. My sound and my signature are cohesive, but definitely not same-y. It takes you through a journey – and that’s where I am at right now in a realistic sense, so I wanted that cohesive feel to go on – and if you want a NEO 10Y album, it’s technically already there.
I’ve been using the term “Disidentification” to describe the body of work and that definitely still stands, for now. Let’s see what the future brings!
Your music conventionally focuses on Political sentiments, what is your stance on British politics today?
NEO 10Y is definitely more than just politics, its love and ego and madness too, but yeah I think we need a massive overhaul.
Politicians today are irresponsible and a new generation needs to come up and take control. I think the current party system is a complete joke and I want to see Theresa May out of Number 10 immediately. She is not representative of the future of this country. These un progressives are complicit in holding us back and it is now our responsibility to take control and remove these people from office.
Duality seems to also be a core theme for you, what are your feelings towards this concept?
You know I think it’s duality and trinity that both play into my work. Duality in the sense of two identities and understanding that within us lives multiple narratives, that which we live and that which people experience. Understand your self-worth and the relationship with your higher self.
From a trinity POV, it is the importance of recognizing that which is within us – so our id, ego, and superego, how that plays into your life and way of being.
Are there any barriers that limit you in the creation process?
Money is a bitch. I work so hard to bring these projects to life. I’m really hands-on and know how to create a lot of the elements that it takes to be a music artist (across visual, sound, writing etc.) but I am hoping with this release and the very radio friendly song I have out in November called Reality Check/Cheque (which is literally a double entendre about money and reality – ideally functioning as a money manifestation song for me), that I will have the chance to allocate more Babylon energy to my work.
Do you plan to include any cultural influences in future music?
I have never been one for stereotypes but my heritage plays into a lot of the detail on tracks, form a vocal intonation and delivery standpoint, but also my chord progressions and percussion, but I am also a yogi, and so it kind of makes sense that I am also releasing a song about world peace. My heritage plays into that side of it, it’s not like I have tracks full of Bollywood samples, to be that is a bit obvious.
You’ve delved heavily in fashion prior to music, are there plans to integrate this into your new venture?
It’s true, I am technically an award-winning designer (Ada + Nik, Gen Art prize at NYFW). But in this stage of evolution, I have a really weird relationship with consumerism. I work with brands as an ambassador and creative quite often and I love detail and fragrance and artistry, but I also hate the waste, violence and unnecessary product that the fashion industry generates. Especially when this time is so crucial for social change. I don’t want to be part of the waste. I am really happy creating songs and ethereal constructs. There’s definitely a strong chance that I will create something physical again, but I would want the sustainability levels to be off the charts for any physical objects that I put out into the universe at this stage.