Q&A with Loue Marc
We talk to one of this generation’s largely distinct talents, Loue Marc. Identifying the heritage of his looming debut EP, ‘DONTKILLYOURSELF’.
Awaiting his arrival at Boxed Studios, Loue Marc enters with a glimmering essence, glittering in utter zeal; spurring a swift intrigue within me. Immediately showcased was Marc’s inimitable presence, vitally verbalised within his upcoming EP, ‘DONTKILLYOURSELF’. The project is a flavoursome exhibition of identity, which scopes the conflicts between his nationality, his appearance and how the reality of his exterior is painted by his ethnicity; whilst addressing the spine of mental health. Characterised in rap and producing all his beats, this wide subject matter personally enthralled me, obtaining the mutually nuanced experience of being biracial within England dually. This neglected notion has finally been shed light upon, by a storyteller passionately willing to share many tales.
The title, ‘DONTKILLYOURSELF’ arose in birth of many ends, whether this is Loue referencing the suicide of his uncle, Anthony commemorated in ‘Anthony’s Interlude’ or one of his close friend’s suicide; or a past woman he was seeing who, “had a playlist called ‘Don’t Kill Yourself’ she would listen to so she wouldn’t commit suicide”. Instantly, this highlights the fluidity Loue translates and how he states, “Don’t kill yourself to me means don’t succumb to the world and destroy who you are and quite literally do not kill yourself”. Concluding, “Think about that on a billboard, that could save a life”.
This Derby boy speaks on his blatant acknowledgement of the conflicts previously stated, as someone who is not only indulged in his Blackness, “but I’m also an English man, a European man, an Italian man” and told us, “I fit multiple brackets and none of them define me”. Shifting this vast conversation to how this may communicate to his audience, as he embarks on his dumpling with rice and peas accompanied by the alluring jerk chicken; “This was a journey for myself, self-identity but I know there will be a lot of people, who will find an understanding with themselves.” Elaborating, “It’s a very transferable image” describing countless layers of being English blending with culture and how he finds it something to be proud of.
This is evident in track two’s, Saint George released as a single last year introducing listeners to this foreign ideal from someone with ‘exotic’ skin. Embedded in this head bopper is a commonality of British history. With Saint George as its main protagonist, the repeated metaphor of, ‘My YG got a sword like Saint George and the cats still chasing the dragon’. Loue informs us, “Drugs are still being sold to the cats and the cats chase the drugs, the high. You get a knight’s helmet and now a bally, a knight’s sword and a roadman’s knife. Same thing.” Loue describes this in resonance to himself as an, “unneat story” and how “you don’t see someone like me behind the flag”; even though, “you can’t tell me we don’t own Britain when my great Grandad fought in World War One”.
The nationalist imagery featured in Saint George’s music video remains unchanged as you endlessly witness the English flag suited with horses; with strong shots of Loue, exposing who the true hero is. In the final shot, Loue concludes his own poetry with Dionne Drapers poem, ‘The Windrush and Me’ contrasted with the emblem of the Saint George flag, reflected in red. “I bring a lot of parallels to old British culture to new” Loue expands. I found it encouraging, as Loue is commencing a reality which has always been there, but fearful to be discussed. Undeniably, historically the British Empire had reigned tyranny and anguish, I find Loue investigates a narrative where light has been produced in darkness; through his own lens, which provides humanity in his lyrics.
Juxtaposing prior tracks, such as Like Me, I quiz why in previous singles there is a concentration of sexualisation but now a celebration of his mum’s teachings for instance in ‘Purity’ asserting, “Mum said life is your oyster don’t make the wrong choices”. Loue’s response is raw, “I’m just a self-contradiction and I think it’s interesting. One song will be like my first song Euology I was heartbroken the next minute in Like Me, I am misogyny.com and egotistical. I think that’s what I want it to be like, each moment is capturing a moment and I woke up feeling like that”. Finishing, “it should be as close to the reality of how I’m feeling”. To be humble in your vulnerability and fault, in a society which fixates on the resolution of the human condition of being flawed due to outdated animalistic tendencies; enriches Loue further. Uncommon as generically within the rap genre, rappers will profusely twist tongues to fit their own agenda, emphasising the wealth of ‘DONTKILLYOURSELF’ in spite of reaction - this is Loue Marc.
Nonetheless, this motif of the English flag is not a new concept for Loue, as it still features on the music video for Like Me, prompting me to ask if this was a laying of foundation in this. “It’s been super organic, it was never meant to be this controversial thing, it just naturally happened.” Dissecting Like Me’s video wider, “I wanted to get my two skinhead mates in a video, started as an argument on Facebook of me thinking the two were racist, it turned out they were super for Black culture and had their own mixed race children (…) it showed my own ignorance”.
“Oh my god! Black and mixed race can be patriotic and there are already those people, you have those English cultured Blacks and Browns who are English to their core, as far as who they are. A lot of people do not realise how English they are until they go back to their ‘said’ home country and they are like maybe I am not as much of this as I thought. The mask shows a dialogue that already exists but maybe it is a new dialogue because there is a lot of fear-mongering surrounding being patriotic within minority communities. A lot of people feel as if in order to be proud to be English you have to be white because maybe they have felt alienated in the past when it came to England being their home. I do not need acceptance, no one can tell me if I am English or not. This is home. Why wear the bally? This is home. When making a statement bigger than yourself it needs to be represented almost.”
In this conversation’s closing comments Jewel who was the stylist, loaded his garments with delicacy, each garm pertaining prevalence and this was emphasised by the fact Jewel equally came from a multicultural background. Tara who assisted Jewel possesses’ strong ambiguity within her background, each member offered an array of perspective. Louie's face seemed fixed in an everlasting state of glee.
To finish, I asked Loue due to the variation of himself jointly as someone of colour in England if he had felt accepted by Black people in England, as personally I possess a perplexity in this. Loue answered, “I think I do, we have many similar issues, it’s not like they (police) are gonna be like don’t shoot him he’s mixed or light skin.” Finalising his last response with, “Blackness in England is seen as cordial and water is pure, as soon as you put cordial in it, it doesn’t matter how strong it is, it is now Ribena”.
Loue Marc manifests acutely as an ambassador of nuance, publicly platforming this on the 29th of May 2022, ‘DONT KILL YOURSELF’.
Article by Ness Williams
Creative direction and styling by Jewel Kaye
Assistant styling by Tara Blount
Photography by Martyn Ewoma
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