If you haven’t heard the Afro Trap UK remix of Shirazee’s ‘Iguana’ then you need to press play right now. Icey Stanley has collaborated with Mr Oulala and Le Pedro to create an absolute banger of a song with a melange of genres and an upbeat flavour which will get stuck in your head from dusk till dawn. The song incorporates the heart and soul of Afrobeats with the modern sound of trap; it’s a sound you will be hearing more and more. The Iguana Remix follows previous Afro Trap UK hits ‘Tamba Tamba’, ‘Chese Chese’ and ‘Cameroon X Ivory Coast X Zimbabwe’, and the talented trio continues to deliver with their signature style which has mass appeal.
Neon Music caught up with Icey Stanley and Mr Oulala about their latest release:
Icey says of their collaboration, “It started off as nothing serious, 3 people linked up in the studio to have fun, I wasn’t even supposed to be on the first song they made and I ended up jumping on and from that released the Iguana Remix which took the world by storm. you never know what’s going to happen.” and for such a smash hit it came together fairly easily, “The Iguana Remix wasn’t planned, we got sent the beat then had 2 days to make it something.” Icey Stanley is used to thinking off the cuff and is modest about it, “I just put the vocals, I don’t write the rap so if hear the beat then I have to record there and then. I know I’ve got this skill but I can’t tap into it so I’ve trained myself to not use pens and pads. I always like to do stuff the first time when it’s still fresh.”
Mr Oulala agrees with the fast-paced nature of the Iguana Remiz and says, “The Iguana remix happened so fast, we literally had 2 days to finish it..at first I thought the time we had wasn’t enough to finish the track time but with the good reaction from people around me made me realise that we did a good job.”
We discuss the sound of Afro Trap UK and Icey says, “It’s afro-swing with dancehall and Caribbean sonics to it.” He continues, “I have been expanding my own sound and the groups sound. We tap into energies and expand the vision.” Mr Oulala says, “My sound and style is a big mixture of what I’ve been through, which makes me what I am today, born in France where I was living, originally from West Africa Ivory Coast, and obviously I moved to the UK as a teenager. My sound and style are from French street with the African touch in English mix with French!”
And how has the Afrotrap movement evolved? Mr Oulala comments, “It has evolved pretty well, mainly in France and Holland. People loving the sound of Afrotrap so now we are just trying to bring in the UK!”
Icey recently released his EP ‘No Love In February’ and he discusses his sound, “Singing with rap it’s more accepted now. I’ve been doing music for a long time. It was the whole grime era and if you did rap you did the American-y sounding rap but we have our own rap sound. Singing with grime used to be frowned upon, it was never in the grime sound. Drake paved the way for us for other artists to do both.” we discuss American artists and the autotune sound which is popular, but Icey puts his own twist on it, “Autotune is an addiction, it’s allowed us to tap into another sense of creativity.” he continues, “autotune makes everything sound catchy.”
Icey started to show an interest in music and performing while at school. He performed in a school talent show and his chosen song was none other than 50 Cent’s ‘Candy Shop’ (I hope he changed some of those lyrics….!) “I really liked performing then started taking it seriously and did a song with Paigey Cakey a few years ago.” Icey knows a lot of people in the UK music scene and says, “When you meet other artists it makes you really hungry. Eugy, Sneakbo, these are my peers. Admiring their work rate has allowed me to enhance my own network.” He comments, “I grew up on Skepta, G FrSH, Ironik – he has helped with understanding how the industry works, there is the fear of the unknown so it’s great to speak to someone who has been through that.”
What does he find are the challenges? “You have to consider the listener’s attention span so you have to stay on top of the music. There is an unwritten formula when you are creating music, you don’t know which song could be the one.”
Mr Oulala says, “What I find challenging it’s to come up with something new all the time. Being creative, becoming a magician in music, making sure that most people approve your music!”
Icey adds other challenges are “getting on the right platforms, reaching the right listeners and understanding how it all works. You have to engage with the listeners.”
And what does the future hold for Icey and Afro Trap UK? “It’s inspiring. I’m very driven and I need to make things happen. I’m motivated and have a vision for the next year, for group work as well as solo stuff.” Icey says the shows are coming in thick and fast, “there are shows abroad and new releases. I’ve done a song with one of the biggest artists in Zimbabwe.”
Mr Oulala says they are “cooking up some bangers for the summer and ready for our project in September 2018.”
These are exciting times for AfroTrap UK. Icey says, “When Iguana Remix was played on 1xtra I didn’t sleep!” They have big plans, “We’re trying to take this global!”
And there is no doubt they will do just that.