Loyle Carner talks love, heartbreak & pita bread
"I cooked a Greek Sunday roast the other day... It was banging"
Rapper and romantic Loyle Carner can make a banging Greek Sunday roast
Hey Loyle. How often do you rap about love and heartbreak?
It’s one of the most fun things to write about, I touch on that kind of stuff all the time. There’s always something exciting about it. Even with a long-term relationship, it’s always refreshing itself and becoming new again.
Would you ever rap about your girlfriend?
Yeah, definitely. I wouldn’t say her name, but yeah of course. Who’s to say I haven’t already?
What’s the most romantic rap song of all time?
Midnight Love by Black The Ripper. Actually, that’s a bit too cringey. It’s more of a funny one. If we’re being serious, I’d say The Light by Common.
Have you ever been on a nightmare date?
Years ago I took a girl to the theatre. Only we went to the completely wrong side of town, so we missed it – my fault. She didn’t find the funny side, she was just p*ssed. We stopped for a coffee, then after five minutes she said “Later” and left. Looking back, I don’t know why I bothered.
Why do girls (and guys) find rappers so attractive?
It’s a myth. Everyone says that girls will follow you on tour and backstage, but that kind of stuff doesn’t really happen. Or maybe it’s because I’m a different breed
Speaking of which, you spend much of your time in the kitchen. What’s your signature dish?
I’m making a lot of Greek stuff at the minute. It’s really simple and nice. Fava’s good – it’s just some split peas, onion and garlic, and it makes a great dip for pita bread. I cooked a Greek Sunday roast the other day for my missus and a few others. It was banging, man, my mum went crazy over it.
What first drew you to cooking?
I grew up with ADHD. Cooking really helped me chill out. Even now, the only place I can relax away from making tunes is in the kitchen. My brain switches off, it’s like having a beer. I’ve set up the Chilli Con Carner project too, a cooking school for kids with ADHD. I didn’t want to do anything with them that involved rap – it’s such a competitive, heavily scrutinised industry. But something you can enjoy and live off is cooking. It’s still creative, but realistic.
What would a Loyle Carner restaurant look like?
I’d only serve a few things, done really well. I just need to find my niche because there are so many different things I like. I’d open it somewhere trendy, like Soho. Actually, that’s a lie. F*ck that – it’d be somewhere south: Herne Hill or West Norwood.
You’re the latest rapper to emerge from Croydon, following Stormzy and Krept & Konan. Is south London going through a rap renaissance?
It’s been bubbling up for a long time. It’s getting there, definitely. People are listening to UK rappers in general now because of grime, so hopefully it’ll keep growing.
Are you beginning to feel famous now?
It’s hard to tell. I always compare it to getting fat – everyone else seems to notice you’re getting chubby, but you don’t notice. Until it’s too late and you look in the mirror and think, “Oh sh*t, I’m huge.” So yeah, maybe I’m getting a bit tubby.
Unlike most rappers, your lyrics focus on the domestic. Will that ever change?
I think I’ll always write about the domestic. That’s what I enjoy writing. Everything else can change, but the same things will always happen in your domestic life: a break-up, losing your keys, your car breaking down.
So do you always have a notebook on you?
If I’m not writing, it’s actually a good sign – it means nothing’s going wrong in my life. It varies – I can write 10 tunes in two weeks, then go six months without anything.
Your family is prominent in your music. What’s it like having your mum feature on your album?
It’s cool. She’s on a track called Sun Of Jean. She reads a poem over a piano sample played by my dad. It was one of the few things on the album that I really made sure happened. I co-direct my videos and I often have my family in them. My album cover is a family portrait. In the middle is my dog, Ringo – he’s named after Ringo Starr.
Loyle Carner plays Shepherd’s Bush Empire on 17 and 18 February; Yesterday’s Gone is out now