Splendour in the Grass this year sees the Australian debut of Chicago rapper Towkio, who will be bringing his much acclaimed WWW. album to our shores – man, we’re ready. With the release of his 2015 mixtape .Wav Theory, Towkio landed on many tastemaker radars, featuring collaborations with fellow Chi-town heroes in Chance the Rapper and Vic Mensa; WWW. sees Towkio further expand and explore his creative influences.
Speaking with the rapper ahead of his Australian dates, it’s clear that Towkio has larger fish to fry as he looks ahead to the end of 2018.
“Everything that I do comes from concepts that echoes around in my head,” he says. There’s a lot swirling around in his head, creatively. “Being able to grasp these concepts and relay them to people in an understanding way – most people don’t have attention spans – that’s why I had to grasp the concepts first before I could try and tell people about them.”
“We’re one step closer to understanding the truth; .Wav Theory was the interlude or the prequel. I hate the word ‘spirituality’, I hate that word; I hate that it sounds so cliché, but those are the words we have to explain things. I’m taking it upon myself, I’m like a physicist, I’m creating my own language and I’m getting better at it. I think that everybody who understands that, will rock with me forever.”
Towkio speaks positively and excitedly about his community and the music that has surrounded him over the last few years. Whether it’s been Chance’s Grammy win, or even the soundscapes the likes of Lido, Knox Fortune have been dabbling in, the energy in creative competition and exploration is only good fuel for Towkio’s craft.
“I think that it’s inspiration, to say the least.” he says. “Being around these people since the beginning, since we started doing this, everybody has been so good at what they’ve done that we’ve all evolved. It’s like, ‘If they’re going crazy, okay, let me go crazier in a different way’. It pushes us to be better. Not only being surrounded by my rap homies, but being surrounded by my producer homies who grew up with musical backgrounds, being able to be surrounded by that energy…most rap motherfuckers don’t get to be surrounded by that music.”
“I was blessed to be surrounded by those people and to see the depths of making music, learning myself and being able to be more of an asset when I’m creating. To be more evolved. Without the producer homies, I wouldn’t be able to get the music that I’ve put out, I wouldn’t be able to get these albums out. Those beats, those sounds, they come from my heart and my energy.”
The rapper’s Australian shows will see him perform at Howler and the Oxford Art Factory before head to Byron for Splendour, a feat that Towkio is stoked on achieving this early in his career.
“Let’s get it!” he enthuses. “I’ve done a lot of things that not a lot of people have gotten to do, thanks to God; I’m excited. I’m like, ‘Damn – I’m about to get to Australia?!’ I’m gonna bring a lot of energy to it.”
Remembering back to earlier shows that were examples of the heights Towkio was getting to reach, the UK sticks out in particular.
“When we had the show in London, it was crazy.” he remembers. “If there’s one thing people can know about me as an artist, it’s that I am an artist in that when you’re subscribing to me, you’re subscribing to me putting my all into everything I do. When you go hard, if you are a true artist, you have to outdo yourself every time. It means that if you just put your all into that one thing, guess what? You’ve got to do it again; you’ve got to go harder. I ascribe to that process.”
“I’m excited to share and for people to really see what I’m on. Now, people are starting to understand now I’ve laid the groundwork with this album, they’re paying attention. They’re going to see the next things that are to come with the next project; we’ve just started the journey together.”
TOWKIO TOUR DATES
July 19th – Howler, MELBOURNE
July 20th – Oxford Art Factory, SYDNEY