Irish drill is the unapologetic and uncompromising breakout sound from the country over the last two years, bringing new energy and life to Ireland’s music scene. One of the artists that have spearheaded the movement and continue to set the pace is Offica, being the most popular Irish creator on TikTok and the most well-known drill artist to come from the country. The 21-year-old is making the scene his own and carving out a path for himself. We sat to discuss music, plans, faith and more.
Okay, so we’ll start straight away with the fact that you’ve got a very distinctive sound, you’re part of something really popular at the moment yet you’ve managed to make this so very uniquely your own. Did you enter the realm of Drill with the idea that you wanted to do that, and how do you go about crafting it to make it so distinctive?
“So being from Ireland we don’t get as much of a look in as artists in the UK. So it was a thing where to catch people’s attention you have to be different. So when I analysed the situation I was like, what can I do to make myself different from other people. And it was my sound, for example my first song I don’t think it sounds anything like what I’ve been doing ever since. After the first song, I changed what I sounded like. So yeah, I just had to think out the box and be different.”
So it’s quite a conscious decision. Was it a case of you having to look to different producers, or was it a case of you changing your delivery or your content…what was that process like for you?
“I had to first of all start taking it seriously. I remember when I just got into music it was a thing where I was just doing it for fun. I wasn’t trying to get anything out of it, but now it’s kind of serious. I found a producer that I had trust and faith in. He gave me a lot of beats that were top tier. I always love bouncy beats because it suits my flow. Bouncy beats to me are almost Afro beats. So it just allows me to bring in the African swagger and also keep it Irish as well.”
That answer is quite a nice segue into the next part of what I was going to ask. You have your heritage and origins which forms a large part of your sound added to the heritage of where you live now. Two very strong identities. How easy do you find it to fuse the two? Or do you have to switch between the two?
“It’s quite easy, to bring the two together, because obviously, where I’m from is Lagos, Nigeria, which will never leave me. it will always be there. My parents, I listen to them every day they talk to me in the language so I know it will never leave me. I’ve grown up in Ireland, and I’m just learning new things in Ireland as well. Having something that will never leave you, and having a new thing and just putting it together, for me, it’s easy.”
Do you lean to one of the cultures more?
“I feel like lyrically, and you know in terms of flow, I’d say lean slightly towards that African swag a bit more. But that’s probably because I find that a bit more bubbly.”
Pursuing music It’s not an easy career to get into. I wouldn’t call it luck because I think you’re very talented. But I know there’s elements of uncertainty with this career path, so what keeps you motivated to keep doing music?
“Probably because I’m the biggest artist in Ireland right now. Nobody else has done what I’ve done, it’s all gonna go in the history books. So that’s a really big thing for me, for people to know where it started from and who started it.”
Okay and then what about your actual music in terms of the content, what inspires that?
“I like being creative. Before I write, I’m already visualising what my visuals would be with the beat. It’s just if I want my visuals to be like this, I’m gonna have to rap lyrics like this to have that kind of visual. That’s basically how I do it actually, I just tend to be as creative as I can be.”
What is the process of putting your videos together like? And how involved are you in that process?
“I’m heavily involved in the creative parts of my releases and the videos. It’s always important to me for a video to look fun, I don’t want it to be boring because that can make or break a song. It just needs to be fun. I like a lot of scenes that constantly change the mood. Because of my mask and stuff, people always tend to click, you know they expect it to be fun. I’m a fun person as well so I just want that to show. The team I work with already know what I like, so it’s just easy, so easy.”
Outside of your videos, You have a very identifiable look. How did you know it was the right time to do a face reveal or what made you decide to do that?
“I remember a lot of talk back then, I had released two songs previously before and they didn’t do as well as I expected. People were kind of saying he’s fallen off blah blah blah this and that. I just analysed it and thought okay, I need to go back to the basics. But still, I need to send a message that you know, this is me, this is who I am.
“I just felt like it was the perfect time to do the face reveal because I wanted to send a message. The song meant a lot to me, I wanted that song out there just to put the message out. Also the mask it’s really sweaty sometimes, at shows and during the interviews it’s hard, so I just wanted to take it off. Also to just let people know my personality a bit more because everybody just saw the person with the mask they didn’t know he was behind it, now people know.”
Do you think that revealing your face has in any way helped you to solidify with your audience or make your audience connect to you in a different way than they did before?
“Yeah, it’s weird you know. I remember I could get away with looking a certain way because obviously, I have a mask on and stuff. But I just feel like even the cheeky smiles, cheeky winks you know just doing stuff. Facial expressions, as you said, it’s a big thing in music videos. Also just for engaging, being able to post on my socials you know it’s freer, I don’t have to hide my face. It’s just freer and easier.”
So out of the music you’ve released so far what has been your favourite release?
“Just because I just had fun. It was just sort of a fun track. I remember I made the track in like a week. And it was just fun do you know what I mean, especially when everything you wanted to go right just goes right. It’s just an amazing feeling. It’s probably the one I’ve watched the most as well.”
In terms of other artists that you listen to that inspire you not necessarily in the genre. Across any space and time. Dead or Alive. Who are your top five artists?
“You’re putting me on the spot here. Okay, okay. Okay. This is tough. This is tough. Well, Michael Jackson will be up there. I think you have to put Drake up there as well because of everything he’s done career-wise. This is tough, I’m a big fan of Polo G. I listen to him every single day. I’m probably missing some, there’s so many. I listen to all types of music, so it’s just incredibly hard to say five.”
What’s in your playlist someone wouldn’t expect to find?
“I rate Billie Eilish a lot. As lot Yeah. I listen to Billie Eilish a lot.”
What about any Nigerian artists?
“Yeah, I’m a big fan of Wiz Kid and Davido they would probably be my top two.”
And who would you most like to collaborate with? It doesn’t have to be the people you’ve mentioned. But if there was one, if you got the call tomorrow that said this artist is coming in the studio, who would be most excited to work with?
“Obviously, for my career, it would have to be a song with Drake, because once you make a song with him, you’re practically gone. But yeah it’d be fun to work with any of them. Like even a song with Wiz Kid. Like it would be crazy, especially because of the fact that I’m Nigerian. It really could open the African fanbase up a bit more as well if I do a song with Wiz.”
What do you think the biggest obstacle is that you faced when making music? Or maybe the biggest hurdle you had to overcome?
“Just being heard, because obviously, being from Ireland people didn’t want to hear that. It just makes it harder. I feel like if I was from the UK I’d probably be bigger than what I am today, but that doesn’t matter, I’m just gonna keep working hard and get to where I’m happy.”
So where do you see yourself in five years?
“I just want to be happy with what I’ve done. Hopefully, it’s not a waste of five years. I want to be happy because I think that’s a big thing. Just being excited about the future. Taking every moment, trying to work to the best of my ability. And yeah, I just want to be successful and happy. Seeing all my mates doing their thing as well. I want to be known globally in five years as well.”
I know from reading in places and heard in parts of your lyrics that you have a lot of faith. How important is, and what kind of role does faith play in your career journey?
“It plays a big part. There’s risk in some of the day to day stuff we do, you know, we do some mad stuff. So it’s just always kind of go somewhere, go to church, you know, and clear your head and, you know, pray. Because the world is a crazy place, and we all do some crazy things. So it’s just good to clear your head.”
What have you got coming up? I know Blue Bird has been crazy and the visuals are crazy, but what else have you got for us?
“We have a headline show coming up. We have a UK and Ireland tour as well, and dropping a mixtape soon.”