REMI Discusses ‘Divas and Demons’ + Staying True To Themselves

We recently shared our thoughts on the highly anticipated full-length album, "Divas and Demons", from Melbourne hip-hop artist Remi and musical collaborator, Sensible J (collectively known as REMI) and today we're excited to share our exclusive interview with the duo. Click on the above photo to read what REMI had to say about the new record, collaborations and the importance of staying true to themselves. Photo captured by Michelle Grace Hunder.

REMI – consisting of emcee Remi and producer Sensible J – aren’t your ordinary hip-hop duo. A unique voice making waves around the world, accompanied by producer / beat master extraordinaire Sensible J, REMI have shared the stage with the likes of Danny Brown, Vic Mensa, De La Soul, and Joey Bada$$ just to name a few.

When REMI was first starting out, we were introduced to the duo when they were on support for French producer ONRA at Sydney’s Oxford Art Factory back in 2013 promoting their very first mixtape, “F.Y.G ACT:1”.

That was three years ago and for some, it might not seem like a long time but in the internet age we live in nowadays where music is released instantly and constantly, it can seem like a really long time.

From their first mixtape to their highly anticipated new record, “Divas and Demons”, REMI‘s creative direction may have changed over the years, but their artistic integrity has always remained intact.

In an exclusive, The 5 to 9 Life had the chance to chat with Melbourne’s hip-hop duo discussing the evolution of their songwriting, collaborations and the importance of staying true to themselves.

1. Define REMI and the sound you create.

2. Your first mixtape, “F.Y.G Act:1” was fun and cheeky, but over the years, your songwriting has become quite raw and vulnerable with lyrics that empowers the audience. The songs on your new record, “Divas and Demons”, for example, are quite personal – addressing such topics as racism, hate, abuse, heartbreak, and ongoing challenges. How has your songwriting shaped your vision and given you a voice to speak out on subjects that matter to you?

It honestly feels like all that has just been growing up. All the changes in the music and the ever-changing topics has just been me getting older, seeing what really matters to me and expressing that through the joints Sensible J and I make together. Growing older in music has definitely made me appreciate it and love it more and made me want to try as many different styles of music as possible, but our vision is still the same. Make music till we die, create and talk about shit we believe in and try and bring our friends and family with us.

3. How have you dealt with the negativity you’ve experienced in your journey so far?
It depends on what kind of negativity, but my pops told me before music was even thought of that:

‘If you’re true to yourself and succeed in this life, people are gonna have a problem with that, but you gotta live your life and not worry about that, so that’s how I deal with it.

4. Which artists/musicians/producers have influenced you to create this sound?
Too many hahaha. In short: Slum Village, The Roots, Outkast, D’Angelo, Radiohead.

Photo captured by Michelle Grace Hunder.
Photo captured by Michelle Grace Hunder.

5. Tell us about House of Beige and how it differentiates from other record labels out there.
For sure, well first up the roster is made up of friends and family that we’ve grown up with within Melbourne’s music scene. We basically started it to shine light on people we are true fans of, who aren’t getting the attention they deserve. Also, we’re not tryna fuck our artists which is another huge difference between us and a lot of other labels haha; full transparency on all decisions being made, money being made/spent etc.

6. You’ll be on the road again at the end of the year to promote “Divas and Demons”. What can your fans (and new audiences) expect from your live shows?
The people can expect a good time mixed in with some Phil Collins-esque drum solos.

7. You collaborated with quite a few Australian artists on “Divas and Demons” including Sampa the Great, Silent Jay and Jordan Rakei. How important was it to work with fellow Australian artists on the record and which five artists/musicians would you love to collaborate with.
Where you’re from has never been of concern to us, it was more essential that it was people we knew personally on this record seeing as it’s such a deep and personal body of work. We’re HUGE fans of everyone on the record so it was an honour to get down with them and it helped that they were all family. To collaborate [we would have loved to work with] Jimi Hendrix, Fela Kuti, MJ, J Dilla, and Curtis Mayfield.

8. What element of yourself do you always put into your music and hope that people will see?

The honest side and I really hope people feel the realness in what we do. Mostly cause I got heaps of artists that I don’t mess with sonically but respect because they’re true to themselves. That’s all we want to be.

If you haven’t yet, make sure you purchase “Divas and Demons” right now.
And if you want to have “a good time mixed in with some of those Phil Collins-esque drum solos”, make sure you grab a ticket to one of their upcoming live shows. Tickets are selling fast so get to it!

Special thanks to REMI and Thinking Out Loud for helping make this interview happen.