Photos Jørn Tomter @jorntomter
New EP by Clapton’s new talent
- and how his mum had to film his music video because of lockdown
What is your name?
My name is Henny Knightz, one half of the Knighthood Society.
How long have you lived in Clapton?
My whole life, Lower Clapton is home. I've seen it at its worst and I've continuously witnessed its potential to be great. Growing up here was always a strong sense of community. Everyone knew each other as children, there were no boundaries. Things got a little bleak around teenage years.
How long have you been making music?
I've been making music for 10 years now, well that’s when I first started writing. I was always quite introverted and shy, vocalised by the images I used to draw and things I used to design.
That was great for the time but there was a period when I fell into a dark place mentally and my only escape was through writing about it. It first started off as loose poetry, evolving into me battle wrapping my friend Caj via text message, culminating into me writing songs.
In the early days I used to (in my opinion) try to rap like a hybrid version of Lil Wayne mixed with Drake seasoned with Lupe Fiasco and Charles Hamilton then to be plated up with some Jay Z. I was horrid, but I could proudly say no one sounded like me. Whether that was a good thing or not is still one of the most debated topics in recent history. It started off with me using YouTube beats and hanging in studios like Rising Tide and a local group called 3OW's studio to try gain as much knowledge as I possibly could. After a while I got sick of using YouTube beats and because I was still such an audio anomaly no one wanted to produce for me. So I taught myself. Things started off fairly light hearted until my best-friend 'Caj Knightz' passed away, he came back from Uni and I was excited to show him that I started producing. He died before I ever got a chance to. My sound became darker then. First album I released was in 2015 called 'The Nelis Fitzgerald' all self-produced, mixed and mastered, a triumph. The moment when I felt people finally started to take me seriously. Then for a while I was creating, doing university and working on my fellow 'Knighthood' artist Nicki Knightz. 2017 I released my second project 'MCMXCIII Wednesday Addams' which worked as a brief collection of various emotions and production experiments I was toying with at the time. Which brings us to now.
What are you launching on Sunday 24th May?
Sunday I am releasing my third project called 'Random House of Evil'. It's me finally exploring what my depression is, I didn't want to sugar coat anything. I am who I am. From my production style to my voice. Unapologetically me, I had a lot of time to think and have a chance to soul search. Facing what I had stored away all these years. I also wrote a short story which can be accessed if you purchase the project via Itunes or Bandcamp. The 'Random House of Evil' is a metaphor for my mind. I wanted to reveal 6 rooms within it. The project and story explore those rooms further.
It’s lockdown and we need to use what we have. Tell us about how you made your video and how your mum got involved?
So originally I had put together a team to create this block buster visual experience that would had not only secured me an Oscar, but maybe even a star on the walk of fame. I was ready, years of planning, focus and saving, I could taste it. Then BOOM, stay indoors. I had faced so many setbacks leading up to this project that I decided that I can no longer wait for anyone or anything to put this together. I think my mum was also getting tired of me moaning about it so I began to plan. I know my project better than anyone else and thankfully I'm driven enough that I won’t let anyone/anything stop me from doing this. I bought some red suede fabric online and I gave my mum the run down. We don't have special lighting, or any experience in photography/film what so ever. It was actually the part in art school that I paid the least amount of attention to. Serves me right. Thankfully we had an old DSLR and my mum being supportive enough to become my team. She took hundreds of photographs for me and followed me around and added her creative input and flare into it.
Does she call herself a filmmaker now?
Haha let me answer that when the Oscar nominations come through.
Do you make the films yourself? like editing etc
I don't make films myself, well I hadn't before. Maybe the odd mess around on iMovie but nothing serious. I originally sent the clips to be edited by my friend and fellow artist Ivohé in Berlin. She did a rough edit then told me it'll be better if I just did it myself. So I sat on YouTube watching tutorials on premier pro, how to colour grade, add grain, you name it. I was also battling against the 7 day creative cloud trail time limit so it was a rough few days to say the least. One thing I can take away from this is a sense of pride though. Things fell through, but I was still able to endure and produce. That's why the Knight is in my name.
What’s your favourite shops in the area?
My favourite shops in the area would have to be Costcutter (Rushmore Road), they held us down during this lockdown. SZS, countless studio session was fuelled by the wings and chicken fillets from that shop. Pivaz when I feel like being fancy and A&S Cycles . It’s a shame they've closed now but I've always had bikes in my life and that was always the spot I went to for repairs, advise or specific tools I needed even recently me returning as a BMX rider it was nice to know I had that at arms reach [A&S Cycles has re-opened on Lower Clapton Road].
Any local artists you want to give a shoutout?
Yeah, Nicki Knightz. She's got a project coming out very soon which I produced alongside a creative genius called Amy Hurford. Very dope you've never heard anything like it.
Ivohé, even though she's in Berlin now when I met her she was very much a Hackney/Clapton resident. She's one of the most creative people I know.
Gotti Major, that’s my neighbour and he had one of my favourite projects of last year.
Anything else you want to say?
Hackney is here, no-one does it like us. Home of the individuals and if you don't know it now you will in due time.
Thank you mum for supporting me through this hard time.
Thank you Jørn and I Love Chatsworth road for this opportunity.
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