- Words Matilda Carnall
- Photography Vladyslav
Celebrating the release of her new EP, 'Destiny', Bikôkô delves into her love for performance, recent relocation to London, and how her music has evolved.
For the past few months, Bikôkô has fed fans with monthly releases in the build-up to her new EP, ‘Destiny’. Documenting a natural evolution, you can now listen to the tracks collectively as a fully-fledged project, with its final addition and namesake single having dropped yesterday. Ever since her move to London earlier this year, the emerging musician has soaked up the newfound joys of UK music. As a result, ‘Destiny’ is a unique fusion of West African percussion and electronic sounds.
The concluding track, “Destiny”, was never meant to leave her drafts until social media picked up on its ethereal vocals and choppy drums, as well as its uplifting keyboard loop and melody, all new features to Bikôkô’s arsenal. It arrives alongside a special music video, directed by the London-based Spanish photographer and filmmaker Erea Ferreiro.
Marking the grand finale of ‘Destiny’, we caught up with Bikôkô to discuss her love for performance, recent relocation to London, and how her music has evolved in the new project.
You’re still fairly new to London – how are you finding it all so far? What’s the music scene been like?
I like living in London, it’s exactly what I needed. Finding myself in a completely new environment and scene pushed me to get out of my comfort zone and put myself out there. I’ve made more progress in the few months living here than the whole of last year back home, just through consistency and collaboration.
How would you say that your music has evolved since your other projects? What can we expect from the new release?
The main thing that has changed is the way I think about my music. When I started, I would compare it to my biggest inspirations and try to make music that would be up to their standards, which led me to stress and disappointment. Since last year I’ve allowed myself to let go of expectations and focus solely on trying new things and putting them out without pressure.
My new song, “Destiny”, shows this evolution; every time I get inspired by a new song or genre, I incorporate it into my sound. The result is a sonic collage of everything that I like.
Your new single, “Destiny”, provides the title for the project. What about this song particularly resonates with you?
Nothing much actually. I just named it “Destiny” because someone on TikTok referred to it as ‘The destiny track’ in a comment.
It also samples Wu-Lu’s “Facts”. How do you draw inspiration from other musicians when working on your own music?
When I started making music, I didn’t really understand how sampling worked and I was scared of using copyrighted music, so, if I liked something from a song, I would just try to copy or recreate it. But since I bought my sampler, I’ve been having fun experimenting and sampling other songs.
You’ve also said that you draw inspiration from West African sounds. What does it mean to you to incorporate these different genres in your music?
When I incorporate different sounds and styles I’m not thinking about the genre, I don’t care about that. I’ve always drawn from West African percussion and rhythms, like sabar for example, it makes sense to me to add it in.
“Destiny” was written in part because of social media. How has social media impacted your musical journey so far?
I started posting music on Instagram long before I even released anything, so my music has always been linked to social media. I went through a period where I didn’t like how I felt when using social media and wanted to detach from it. But as I grow and become more confident in my work, I am finding a way to make it work.
The video for the song was directed by Erea Ferreiro. What’s the collaborative creative process like when you’re bringing your music to life?
I don’t enjoy making music videos that much anymore, but I had a little idea for this song. Erea and I met a few years ago and I know that we understand each other’s vision, so I really enjoyed working on the video together. It was fun!
One of the songs on the EP called “No One Told Me” was in collaboration with French artist Yndi. Are there any particular challenges/benefits to incorporating multiple languages in your lyrics?
It can be challenging at first to get it right because I find my voice and intention changes with different languages. But once you figure out how it can work for you, I think it’s worth exploring, since it can open your music up to a completely new audience.
Last year you got the opportunity to perform at quite a few festivals. How important is performance as a means of artistic expression for you?
Performing is my favourite part of this. I like getting to see people’s faces instead of a number on a screen. It’s fun to present and adapt my music to different formats.
It seems like you’re at a really exciting point in your music journey. What can we expect to see next from you?
A lot of music. Like, a lot!