In collaboration with
- Words Notion Staff
- Creative Director Daisy Deane @ DELA.STUDIO
- Director Ayshe Zaifoglu
- Photographer Rashidi Noah
- DOP Toby Leary
- Stylist Carlotta Constant assisted by Mollie French & Annie Gale
- Hair Stylist Shamara Roper assisted by Donica Campbell
- Makeup Artist Maya Man assisted by Tom Easton & Babi Compos
- Set Dresser Piper Samuel
- Producer Elly Craig
- Production Assistants Amy Yates & Olivia Wright
AntsLive discusses his break-out year, future tour plans and being included in the Amazon Music Breakthrough UK: Artists To Watch 2024 list, in collaboration with Notion.
Bursting onto the scene in 2023 as Britain’s viral rap revivalist, AntsLive is a force to be reckoned with. Whether he’s jetting off to Venice in ‘Captain Ants’ or galloping on horseback across the Dolomites in ‘Number One Candidate’, the north London artist has triumphantly broken the internet on several occasions.
Lyrically, he brings the braggadocio through cocky bars that reveal a taste for the lavish life. Skin fades as sharp as his flows, Patrón as premium as his beat choices and aftershaves as fragrant as his visuals are all referenced with a gold-toothed grin.
With his new single, ‘Cutlery’, out now, we’re only beginning to scratch the surface of AntsLive’s creative powers. Get to know the first of Amazon Music Breakthrough UK: Artists To Watch 2024 list, in collaboration with Notion…
Where does your name come from?
AntsLive, because I’m the livest. Livest in the city. I’m a live performer. And we live, that’s it man.
Where were you born?
North London, born and raised.
What’s your star sign?
I’m an Aquarius, but I don’t really know what that means and, to be fair, I’m not really into the astrology thing.
How do you want your music to make people feel?
The feeling that I want my audience to have is just feeling good about themselves. You know what I’m saying? I’m not here making some crazy, deep music – not yet, anyway – but if you feel a little better about yourself after you listen to me, then I’ve done my job.
Do you plan on getting more introspective in the future?
It’s not not in the plan. I think as I grow as a person, I’m going to grow as an artist, and then it’s not going to be just chatting about travelling around the world, and da da da. There might be some experiences that I go through that require me to make some more introspective music.
You’ve had a great year in 2023, what’s the vibe for 2024?
Oh, that’s why I’m here, Amazon ‘One to Watch’, what?! I had a good year, if I might say so myself, and the music is just a reflection of how I’m feeling about life and about myself and the experiences that I’ve had. So right now, it’s fun: good vibes. If I go through some kind of mad situation then you might hear something different, but for now, we’re just me and my pals in a studio – vibes and having fun.
Do you have a pre-show ritual?
I wouldn’t say it’s a ritual, but I go really quiet. Every time I’m about to go on stage, I notice people come up asking me like, ‘Are you alright?’ and I’m like, ‘Leave me alone’. I’m just running through the set in my head thinking about what I want to say. So my pre-show ritual is to just take some time and space for myself and think about how I’m about to turn into a rockstar.
What’s your main source of inspiration?
Music inspiration, oh man. Can I be honest? I hate this question. What I will say is this – I feel like the most important thing if you’re an artist is to be your own source of inspiration. By that, I mean who you keep around you and what you’re going through. Every day you can be inspired to make something and create. It sounds corny, but it’s the truth. I don’t really watch what other people are doing too much. Have you seen True Detective? This is how they sit in those kind of shows, like a real detective. Main inspiration…it’s a big question. Let me take some time and think about that. What inspires me in life? I don’t idolise people, well I try not to, but I like seeing a success story or someone being innovative. Like I’m a football fan, if I see someone do something new on the field, or in music, if I see someone bring a new sound, that stuff inspires me. Outside of that, just my friends, family, conversations, whatever man, I just, day-to-day stuff that gets me excited. That’s what I rap bars about, just what I’m doing day-to-day.
What’s on your rider?
I make sure that I only have healthy things in my rider, my rider is brazy: it’s just mango chunks, coconut water, ginger tea, normal water… People tell me that my rider’s mad healthy because obviously a lot of rappers like Henny, this, that, and the other. And I used to do that, but then I forgot my lyrics one too many times, so I said, ‘Cool, health is wealth, man’. We just gotta be focused going forward.
Which artist past or present would you choose for a collaboration?
I would love to collaborate with Skepta, and I say that a lot, so hopefully one day it happens. I just think he’s paved the way if you look at the crux of it, he’s the one that really started putting the UK on the map properly in the rap scene. So, I’ve got to say Skept, man.
Do you have a message for your fans? What can they expect from you?
A little message for my fans: 2024 – Mixtape. Merchandise. Tours. I’m going global, so just keep supporting and keep locking in. I’m grateful for all you lot. Love.
Describe your sound for the audience?
Good vibes, original. It’s kind of like new nostalgia; it’s got some old sounds and samples but it’s got that new feeling that I bring to the table.