- Words Notion Staff
Rising rapper and producer duo, Dips & Lo-Wu, chat about their debut EP ‘Idle Hands’ and create an exclusive mix for Notion.
Straight out of Southeast London, Dips joins forces with long-time friend and producer Lo-Wu. Dips, known for his intricate stories and witty wordplay, and Lo-Wu, for his genre-fusing production, have teamed up to share their raw and innovative sound that lies between UK Garage, Grime, Hip-hop, Soul and Jazz.
Having shared tracks such as the smooth and vibey “BSL” featuring Mundu, and the drill infused bop “The Ride II” earlier this year, Dips & Lo-Wu have teased their debut mixtape ‘Idle Hands’, with a soulful and bouncy garage track “Queen of Hearts”. With smooth backing vocals from fellow South London artist EBI Pamere, the tune embraces all things UKG while integrating jazz elements.
Lo-Wu says, “This is a bouncy but soulful UK Garage slapper for the dances, for the BBQs, for the motives in the park, for the baecations, for the nights out and for the loved-up nights in. I’ve got a feeling people will fall in love this summer in record numbers, so we’ve got an anthem to help the mandem with that.”
“Queen of Hearts” stands strongly beside nine other tracks on the EP, in which the duo shares stories and experiences of growing up in Lewisham and bonding over their mutual love of music. The EP is a real celebration of friends and collaboration, with the tracks featuring contributions from Lex Amor, Moses Day, The Melman and, the previously mentioned Mundu.
Now, Dips & Lo-Wu create an exclusive mix for Notion that is bound to make you get up and dance. Jump in!
How has the response been to your recent single “Queen of Hearts”! Can you talk us through it? What inspired the track?
DIPS: The response has been awesome. We have had a lot of positive feedback from supporters. People are really feeling the UK Garage & Soulful fusion and feel it encapsulates the British experience well. We are grateful for the support and glad to know we accomplished what we set out to do. QOH was actually one of the first tracks Lo-Wu and I made. It was on a day in the summer where we couldn’t get to the studio but we decided to make something at mine instead. Sometimes the best music is made unexpectedly, we could have easily decided to chill for that day and save creating for another time we were in the studio. The keys really provide the vibe for that track. Very distinctive on top of a bed of drums that give you no choice but to move!
How was it working with fellow South Londoner Ebi Pamere on the track?
Lo-Wu: It was calm. Very organic. She’s cool people, I had worked with Ebi before and I love her voice so I knew she’d be able to deliver. Whenever we bring anyone new into the studio to work with us we spend some time talking and getting to know them a little bit before getting into the music. Ebi vibed with us straight away, she fully got what we were trying to achieve. She understood the assignment!
“Queen of Hearts” is the perfect summer anthem to accompany the end of lockdown. With things opening back up are you excited to get back on the stage?
DIPS: Definitely itching to jump back on stage. It’s been too long! We have a show coming up and we are due to shell it down to make up for all the time we spent indoors.
What’s a performance highlight of your career?
DIPS: Probably performing in Zurich, Switzerland. That one was special as it was our first show overseas. The people are good vibes and were very welcoming. They loved the music and we are looking forward to performing there again for sure.
You grew up together in Lewisham and bonded over a shared love of music. Can you tell us a bit more about how you started making music together?
Lo-Wu: We first worked together in 2016 when I sent him a beat for a track called ‘Do You’ on his EP ‘Phases’. I produced under the name SEG back then and we didn’t actually get in the studio together. Fast forward 2 years later and after a few “Yo we need to work brooo”’s we finally got in together for a session. Dips lives round the corner from me so I went over to his and we made a track. The very first song we made wasn’t the best and will never ever see the light of day but the session was a vibe. So we had some more sessions, we explored different sounds and started bringing the best out of each other. We figured out pretty quickly that we made a sick team so eventually it just made sense to fully join forces.
Can you talk us through the creative process of making a track? What usually comes first?
DIPS: It’s different each time but often starts from conversations. We let the content come from our shared experiences. ‘Concrete’ came from us talking about how a boy from Lo-Wu’s school was murdered and we heard about it in my school as our schools are close in proximity. That’s something we both knew about even when we didn’t know each other. That inspired us to tackle knife crime with that track. Other times I allow the music to tell me what to do. Lo-Wu will jump on Fruity Loops with a drum pattern, sample or keys and I’ll connect that with some emotions, experiences or thoughts I’ve jotted down in my notes app. Soon after, we’ve got an idea.
How did the pandemic affect this process?
Lo-Wu: To be honest, during the first lockdown we didn’t put any pressure on ourselves to make anything new. We had to delay our releases and we were moving into a new studio space so we couldn’t record for a while even if we wanted to so we just took the opportunity to finish off tunes we’d already started and also just chill out and do other things. Dips started working on his production skills and I got into collecting vinyl. When we got back into the studio it was business as usual. The song ‘Idle Hands’ on the project was a post lockdown creation.
Your debut mixtape ‘Idle Hands’ chronicles a shared experience of being two young men with Nigerian backgrounds growing up in South London. What are the overarching themes and messages behind the Mixtape?
DIPS: As the saying states, ‘the devil makes work for idle hands’. A saying we were told by the elders in our lives. If you’re not focussed with what you should be doing, it becomes easier to get distracted by things that can waste your time and put you in trouble. The Mixtape explores the highs and lows of chasing the thrills in ‘the ends’. The adolescence, violence, heartbreak & the blissful ignorance we had as young men that we’re sure a lot of people can relate to. In our case, making music steered us away from negativity and changed our lives.
The lead single from the EP is called “Trip” and tells an explosive and personal story of Dips’ adolescence. Was it hard to write such a personal track? Or did it feel cathartic to get it out there?
DIPS: It was easy to be honest. Definitely quite freeing and therapeutic as it allowed me to voice certain experiences about my upbringing that I probably wouldn’t have otherwise. This is why I love making music, it exposes me to my humanity. I really do “Find my faults when I write these songs”. The track then gives me a snapshot of who I am because of what I went through. How misbehaved I was, along with the people around me. However, I can triumph in the fact that things changed when I turned to music.
Talk us through your exclusive Notion mix – why did you pick these tracks and what vibe were you hoping to create?
Lo-Wu: The mix includes UK Garage, Grime, UK Rap, Amapiano and Afrobeats. The Dips & Lo-Wu mission is to make music to move to, so this mix does that too. The songs were selected by the both of us, they represent our influences and what we’re listening to right now.
What’s next for Dips & Lo-Wu?
Lo-Wu: SHOWS! After the mixtape is out we want to start doing shows again, our shows go off and we really miss it. Apart from that we’ve got more music we’re working on and we’re looking forward to exploring new sounds.
Finally, if you could have any superpower, what would it be?
Lo-Wu: Teleportation – I love travelling butI hate London traffic and airport queues.
DIPS: Time Travel – I want to experience everything, past and future. I want to see prehistoric animals. I want to follow Jesus around, make Tupac not get into that car. I want to drive (or fly) a flying car like in the Jetsons. I want to start the first online book store and call it Amazon.