“My musical style is like if someone totally unqualified stepped into a room full of professionals, dressed in dungarees, toting a blag CV.” REMY JUDE delivers his answers with the right amount of self-depreciating humour, but don’t let him fool you; his CV is impressive enough. The Liverpool-based soulful rapper first jumped onto our radar when he performed his debut headline show as part of Constellations’ Live Music Thursdays. Since then, he’s immersed himself in Liverpool’s music scene, performing with local favourites including fellow rapper and friend MC Nelson; he has a Melodic Distraction radio show, Yes Music, with music blogger Aiden Brady, in which they dissect and contextualise the history behind their favourite tunes; and, perhaps most impressively, he has held his own supporting jazz and hip hop rising star Alfa Mist and electronic music innovators Mount Kimbie. Dungarees or not, Remy Jude is serious about music.
Performing before Mount Kimbie at Invisible Wind Factory was clearly a defining moment – “It made me think about what the future could hold” – and with the recent release of Church Parish Society, a 10-track, self-released mini-album, that future certainly looks bright. The album’s strength lies in Remy Jude’s poetic and carefully considered use of words: see “Imma picky writer/With a handful of rhymes/Manipulate the city/’Til it’s takeover time” in (Where U From?). This lyrical rapping, which sometimes blends into the confessional, takes centre stage over smooth, hip hop beats and simple melodies. His lyrics describe his lived experience, which feels relatable and honest. “The world I live in and interact with is what informs my songwriting. I try and stay active and keep my ears to the ground.”
Remy Jude joins a number of male hip hop artists using the genre as an almost cathartic exploration of the self: “I think making music is how I express myself best. I can wean myself off any negative train of thought by applying myself to music.”
When it comes to playing shows with his heroes, he isn’t shy of nailing his colours to that mast. “King Krule [is] my absolute idol; I’d move heaven and earth to play before the King.” Jude’s album – especially on the title track and The Energy – would also appeal to any readers who fell in love with Loyle Carner’s stripped-back, easy listening brand of hip hop. He’s another artist that Remy Jude would love to support: “I think Loyle Carner would be a great fit for me. In 2015, I saw a very raw Loyle and Rebel Kleff set at The Kazimier. A year later, I saw them steal the limelight at Kitchen Street from a fairly high profile bill that included Rejjie Snow.”
Ultimately, Remy Jude’s love of words, of music and of what he does seeps into Church Parish Society and charms the listener. He tells me that Band Bak 2Geva is his favourite track to perform because the crowd often sing it back: “What does that say about me? I suppose it says that I want people to sing and enjoy my music as much as I do.”
Church Parish Society is out now via Third School Records.