Talking teas and trees with Natureboy

The day after his great show at BIRD Rotterdam. We hooked up on this rainy Sunday morning, just before Flako took his train back home. We sat down at a local coffee store, warmed up with a few cups of tea and talked about hierba cedrons, hiphop and his plans for the future.
You were born in Chile and grew up in Germany. Can you tell us how your diverse cultural background and roots did affect your music?

I guess like everything that surrounds me, regardless of where I’m physically located, the life circumstances have an immediate impact on what I do. When I record music I consider it as a window into that moment when I was recording the music. For me, an album is only a view on a certain period of time in my life. I’ve just moved into another house in London last year, the different neighborhood and vibe have an immediate effect on my music. Everything changes depending on where you are, it absolutely works as a great influence in what I do.

Flako ft. Miguel Atwood Ferguson – Twelve O’Clock Shadow

Do you still have a garden in your new home?

[laughing] Yes of course!

In a former interview, we’ve read about the concept of Natureboy. Can you tell us something about your favorite plant?

One of my favourite plants is a plant I also use to make tea with, it’s a hierba cedron, at least that’s what I call it. I think it’s known as lemon verbena over here. The only place they grow it in Europe is in the south of France, because of the climate over there. And that plant, which I’m growing in my own garden, is actually going pretty strong! I won’t consider myself a gardener, but whenever I have some spare time, I get out into my garden. In March, I was out all day. Just planting new seeds and preparing everything for the new season; plants and all kinds of veggies.

Flako at Rotterdam Central Station.

Can you describe the development in your music, looking back at your first EP until Natureboy?

It’s most important to know that when I was first started putting out music, it was all sample based. No, wait, I have to go one step back in time. The way I was introduced to music was by my dad playing the guitar, he sparked my interest in playing the guitar. I took lessons; the guitar is the only instrument I’m classically trained in, so now I know how to play a little bit.

I was playing in bands, and then hiphop came along! I was loving it, I was mainly always just listening to the instruments behind the vocals. The music, and how that kind of music was made, interested me the most.

So I got my own turntables and I borrowed an MPC from a friend, and I just got into it. This is how I started putting out music in the first place, all sample based and MPC stuff. At some point, it didn’t feel right anymore and I felt restricted in how I was creating music. What didn’t feel right is the idea, that the music wasn’t just 100% me.That’s how I got into making everything myself, apart from some drum machines.

The last EP Eclosure was already made without any samples, it was all me. The Natureboy album is my first work that’s completely detached from the idea I started out with. Now I’m creating everything myself and started working with other people.

Flako – ‘Kuku’

Will nature be your main inspiration source, or do you have any other conceptual directions you will work on in the future?

This whole nature thing and the reason why I’m into this concept is greatly connected to my last EP Eclosure. I just happen to be interested in the subject of how we live and where we live, and I found myself detached from my natural environment. Every time I get out, somewhere in nature, I always think: ”This is what it’s supposed to be”. Like I feel something natural that’s deep within me. Same goes for the gardening, it kind of makes me feel good, almost like I was missing something out all the time. Mostly on things I didn’t even know about. I’m slowly becoming more conscious about the way we live, the way we eat and the way everything is connected. Generally the way of life as we know it in our environment. Just that subject of… me, nature, and the way we live together is very important to me. And I guess it will continue to be an inspiration to me.

And what can we expect from you in the future? Any upcoming albums or collaborations you can tell us about?

Good music man! Right now I’m touring quite a bit and I don’t really have time to start working on new music again, but as soon as I get time I will head back into the studio and work on my next release. Definitely. In the meantime, there are a few projects I’m working on. Some work for Seven Davis Junior‘s album and I continue working with Fatima; we’ve recorded a bunch of new music the last few months. I also started recording with another vocalist in London, so there are always new things in the making.

Fatima – ‘Black Dough’ (produced by Flako)

Who should we interview next?

I met this amazing guy in New Zealand called Christoph El TruentoThe dude is super nice and makes amazing music. I wasn’t aware of it, but he actually has a track [alongside our own Dagger D.X. – red.] on an upcoming Izwid compilation; the Sketchbook Archives. There will also be an unreleased Natureboy track on it, Sketchbook Archives is going to be super dope!

Flako’s ‘Natureboy’ is now available via FIVE EASY PIECES.