Every Monday we will be bringing you an unsigned singer or band as part of our Independent Music Monday feature. This week, we caught up with Matt from Tebi Rex to find out more...
Who is in Tebi Rex, how did you meet, where are you from and how did you come up with the name?
Tebi Rex is made up of rapper Dafe Orugbo AKA Max Zanga and singer Matt Ó Baoill. We met in Maynooth University at a talent show where we sealed second and first place respectively (Max puts Matt's victory down to good old fashioned white privilege).
After the talent show, Max posted a status saying he wanted to make a band influenced by artists like Chance The Rapper, Childish Gambino and listed a host of artists that matched every song on my most listened to playlists... So I reached out and we have been making trashy tunes since.
I personally always loved rap music, the lyricism and ability to tell stories with such details and melodic cadence was something I always wanted to try but was too shy to try for fear of being begrudged as the pasty white kid who wants to be a rapper. Which was so stupid because they people I thought would begrudge me are now the ones bumping Tebi Rex's new tunes.
Our name remains a mystery only known by ourselves and a select few scholars who have figured out it's meaning. If you can figure it out we'll take you out for Nandos or something.
Who were your musical influences when you were growing up and who are your influences now?
My musical influences growing up were mostly R'n'b / hip hop based. The 90's saw me buying every Usher album available, also being a big fan of Nelly, Michael Jackson, Eminem, and especially Kanye in the 00's. Growing older I listened to a broader spectrum of things from Newton Faulkner to the Kooks to Matchbox Twenty, with Chance The Rapper being my biggest musical influence on my own creations.
Max had a melting pot of inspirations, listening to a mix of heavy metal / punk / hip hop growing up, this has stayed the same in his later years. His current influences are Childish Gambino, NERD, and Kate Nash for her unmistakeable conversational tone in her music.
How would you describe your sound?
Our sound is our own perspective tailored to dynamic melodies, which gives us a lot of cynical, thoughtful, petty and dark lyrics over addictive alternative hip hop music.
What is your latest single called and what was the influence behind it?
Our latest single is called "Peggy's Bus".
After a recent breakup, Granny Peggy told a down-trodden Matt "don't chase buses or women, because there is always another one coming" - so I put it into a song.
The song plays on the idea of people hinging their lives off an event, a person, or a relationship. The verses see me examining other relationships and my own, with Max discussing some heavy and important themes like sexuality and identity.
What’s your local music scene like?
We're in Kildare, where a small hip hop scene is bubbling away with the likes of us and Neomadiic, whereas a few train stops away Dublin is rife with rappers, r'n'b artists, singers of every genre. Hip Hop has had a massive takeover in the last two years, and it is only going to continue to expand. It's a very supportive and wholesome community to be a part of, it does feel like we're working towards the same goal.
What do you have planned for the next 12 months? Any albums or festivals?
We have been running through festivals this summer with our next performance set for Indiependence in Cork. We are looking forward to booking some really exciting stuff after summer and for 2019 but we won't be letting the cat out of the bag just yet.
2019 will see a lot more shows and a lot more songs. We'll keep it at that for now.
Is there anyone you’d love to collaborate with?
Oooooooh, we have been doing some collabs recently on a local level and it is a really engaging experience, to see someone mould your sound with theirs is a new practice for us. I'd like to mix with Irish hip hop artists like Erica Cody, UniqueSoul, or Soulé - they have an unmistakeable personality and attitude that shines through on every song and every performance. I feel like there's a lot I could learn from these artists, and the product of what we could make would be nothing short of a hit. Most recently we have been working with a few Irish artists and it has been a dream, there are some very exciting noises to come.
And I'd like to get a Versatile feature - shit would SLAP.
Any funny stories surrounding your live performances?
When looking for a new Tebi Rex DJ, we chose DJ R3D and have become a very close-knit group. We recently found out that upon becoming our DJ, he had never DJ'd before nor did he own the equipment... He just wanted to be in the band and pretended he could do it, but he did a good job and we never noticed. Over a year later and he is still our DJ.
What is the one thing that you want readers to know about you?
I guess it's that everything we do and write is honest. It's just us making the music we want to make with the stories we want to tell, and it will always be that way.
AAAAND we're gonna be a solid bet for a cheeky bop, the kind of music you'd dance with your dog to.