Behind the Scenes with Synik

Your name/stage name: Synik

Where are you from and where are you based?
From Harare, Zimbabwe and based in Lisbon. In a way, I miss the hip-hop and spoken word scene back in Zim, particularly from the mid to late 2000s when I started performing. There were a number of different events, particularly at a cultural hub that artists (poets, writers, emcee, etc.,) frequented called The Book Cafe / The Mannenburg. It was there that I honed my performance craft and met people who I now consider family.

What style of music do you play and what drew you to it?

I’m a hip-hop artist/MC/rapper. I was a fan of the music before starting to pen my own rhymes, I grew up listening to a lot of American rap music like Tupac, Biggie, Wu-Tang Clan, Nas etc. Starting off rapping along to tapes (sometimes rewinding the cassettes to learn lyrics by writing them down), I eventually learned that I could use rap to tell my own stories so, in a way, you can say I found my voice.

What’s your most memorable gig to date and why?

One I played? To be honest, it’s hard to say as there have been some great ones since I started this. Playing Festa2H in Senegal (2014) was an experience because it was a huge festival in a country so different from my own and I was extremely well received. The performance at the last Garden Collective I did also stands out, that was fun!

One I’ve been to would have to be the Sam The Kid concert I checked out in Porto about a month back. With Orelha Negra, an orchestra plus guests, he pretty much went through decades of material from the beginning of his career until now.

Do you have any other projects outside of your music? What are they?

Apart from music I just have a regular old job, bills need paying.

Oh, I’ve recently tried to get into a bit of photography but wouldn’t say I’m taking it that seriously as yet. Just carry my camera around sometimes and try to take pics.

Is there a song that you’ve made that you’re particularly proud of or stands out for you? Which one and why? (and can we hear it?)

I think one of my favourite songs is called “Something More” which is as yet unrecorded and unreleased, so I don’t know if it qualifies as being made yet. I did a demo of it (an acoustic performance version), so you can check that out or wait for the final version if it ever gets done. Fingers crossed.

You recently released an EP with Phil Chronics, can you tell us how that came to be made and a little bit about it?

Phil Chronics reached out to me a few years back on Facebook after a mutual friend put him onto my music and we started a process of him sending me beats and me penning some tunes. We met in person in 2014 when I briefly visited and performed in Germany and Vienna and recorded two of the songs. The rest were done as an online collaborating process. It has some very introspective writing to some jazzy, soulful hip-hop beats touching on various themes like nostalgia, race, and leaving ‘home’. It took a while to put together for various reasons but I’m glad it’s finally out.

Have you got any upcoming shows that Garden Collective members should check out?

Nothing lined up but if something comes up you’ll know. Trying to be more proactive about performing this year. Maybe check for some ”residencies” to at least do regular shows.

Anything else you want to tell us about?
Nothing much I can think of, but please do check out the EP, download or buy on synikzim.bandcamp.com
Connect on IG or twitter @synikzim
Facebook www.facebook.com/synikzim
Oh, and I randomly mess around and release loose tracks and stuff on www.soundcloud.com/synikzim

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