Beatmaker’s Corner: Remedee

Words: Yemi Abiade
Photography: Jojo Sonubi

Producers, by their very nature, are driven individuals. While some are content with a spot in the background, crafting the would-be smash hits from some of our future and present stars, a new crop of beatmakers are vying for the same limelight as their counterparts. Having the advantage of being fully-fledged musicians, their skills are slowly reaching the attention of the industry at large and, as more and more producers are putting out their own music, their imprint is becoming more permanent.

Remedee is the personification of drive; a versatile chameleon-like figure in the game with a growing reputation, he taps into the soul of his every production, attempting to find a spiritual connection harkening back to his influences at every turn. Whether it’s working with his self-christened “little brother” Not3s on hits like “Aladdin”, perfecting UK drill with K-Trap, or reworking pop titan Anne Marie’s “2002”, the 28-year-old is finally reaping the rewards of a career that began in earnest at the age of 20, via an unlikely calling in the gospel community, to the headier heights of pop music. Speaking to him in his West London studio, Remedee maintains a humble demeanour, monotone in his delivery but with a quiet confidence that grows as he speaks to me. I was intrigued by the spirituality tag he gave his music. “It’s got a lot of African influence when it comes to the melody and stuff,” he says, “and it races back to Fela Kuti, that authentic Afrobeat shit. In some respects, I think all of my music is spiritual; if I’m doing a drill song, something in that song will be spiritual. I’m all about the nostalgic feels, so when you listen to my beats, they will take you back to a certain time in my life and if you’re my age, you’ll hear it. I put that kind of emotional attachment into my music all the time.”

Growing up in a Nigerian household, Remedee’s musical exposure was wide and varied; everything from king Fela Kuti and the music of his parents’ generation to the modern music of the day (he cites J Dilla, Timbaland, Kanye West, Pharrell, Missy Elliot and Michael Jackson as major musical presences). Though a music fan, as Remedee explains: “I don’t think I have a pinpoint moment or direct song that made me want to make music or be a producer. But I had a moment where I felt my calling was to make music. It was when I was in church: I heard my mate play keys, I felt inspired, and the rest is history.”

The church soon became a refuge for musical creativity for the young producer, where he rubbed shoulders with peers that would shape his musicality, making the decision to become a producer much easier. By the age of 15, Remedee was making his first beats, trying to find his path. “Back then, it was about experimenting and learning what I was actually good at,” he remembers. “The grime era was very inspiring to me, and I still draw from it today as far as my music goes. My first beats were shit, though. I probably tried to do a grime riddim, then I started to get more into hip-hop and R&B later on, when I got in touch with the gospel side and started listening to gospel music.”

“Not3s was kind of raw at that time, but just as hungry as I was, so that was the connection.”

While a product of the grime scene that was swallowing up the ground around it in those days, Remedee bypassed the movement, and gospel became his foundation, giving him the tools to become the chameleon he is today. After dropping out of uni, he would hit his initial stride, producing for the likes of Guvna B and others. “The wider UK scene, back then, wasn’t saying a lot in terms of production and all-round quality music,” he explains. “So that later transition to more Afro stuff was easy, because I’d learnt from the gospel scene with proper musicians.”

In 2019, despite his gospel beginnings, it’s nearly impossible to pin Remedee down musically, and this is the way he likes it. He isn’t challenged by a particular sound, as he’s put being a musician at the top of his focus. The experimentation Remedee exhibits is evident in his creative process, where he lets his mind run wild. “I just flick on a program and see where my hands flow and where they go,” he says. “I don’t really have a structure to making beats; I could start with the melody or the drums, it depends on my mood. I usually put my hands anywhere on a keyboard and I’ll hear something I like or I could make a mistake which might not sound like one in my head, and I can just manipulate it through the program. I would never go into making a beat knowing what I want to make so I can never aim to perfect it. If I feel the beat is done, it’s done. I don’t need to add anything more.”

Despite making noise in the earlier part of his career, there came a time where personal problems were overshadowing Remedee, and his music suffered as a result. Seemingly out of love with making music, his fortunes changed in 2016 when a mutual friend introduced him to a young artist who was about to make a splash in a reinvigorated UK scene, one who would also signify a resurgence in Remedee’s sound. “I met Not3s through a mutual friend, a big brother to me who told me to come to the studio one day because I wasn’t doing anything at that time. That night I went to the studio and we just clicked. Not3s was kind of raw at that time, but just as hungry as I was, so that was the connection.” A budding relationship with Not3s soon became incredibly productive, and Remedee scored a certified hit with 2017’s “Aladdin” as well as production credits on that year’s Take Not3s EP.

The phoneline exploded thereafter, with AJ Tracey, Fredo and Nines following the pathway to Remedee’s studio and it became clear to him that he was in high demand. Staying true to his experimental nature, most recently he has flipped the sonic script further by working with UK drill general K-Trap and Unknown T, incorporating drill into his growing repertoire. It’s almost as if Remedee is restless in his quest to showcase his chops, and that speaks to the musician in him wanting to show face at all times. He released his first single, “Creepin Up (The Come Up)’ with Kojo Funds, Yxng Bane and Masicka, for the feature film The Intent 2’s soundtrack at the end of last year, but apprehension surrounded that release as Remedee was unsure of this new leap of faith. “When I released my first single, I had a bit of anxiety because I wasn’t sure if they would take me in, but if they can take in Steel Banglez and Da Beatfreakz, they can take me in. If a producer puts out music, it has to be really good. If it isn’t, people will say, ‘That’s why you shouldn’t put out your own music!’” This anxiety subsided however, and he followed it up with second single and secret summer banger “Love of My Life”, with Young Adz and Not3s, his first Top 40 single.

“Producers are more than just beatmakers—they help to develop artists, and it’s very much a give and take situation.”

Remedee attributes his success to a change in tide in the way producers are seen in the game at large, their importance becoming more and more evident, especially to their singer/rapper counterparts. “I think artists started realising that they’re not anything without producers, just as producers know they’re nothing without artists,” he explains. “Producers are more than just beatmakers—they help to develop artists, and it’s very much a give and take situation. They’ve always tried to be loud about their work but there’s always been a barrier to how much they can do and how far they can go. Producers had to travel to get work and be known, someone like H Money—who produced “Champion” for Chip and Chris Brown—he had to leave the UK to make it big, in his 30s! So, producers sometimes have to make that leap and big themselves up.”

Bigging himself up is something Remedee will continue to do and, as he harbours dreams of more Top 40s, 20s and even 10s, he will not lose that drive; not only to test himself on new sonic waters, but to puff up his chest and claim his sauce at the same time. Things are getting exciting.

Posted on September 25, 2019