Collage Talks: Remi Kolawole of REMI

(L-R) Remi Kolawole, Sensible J, and Sampa the Great

Collage: Have you been into music since you were a kid? What are some of your early influences?

Remi: I’ve definitely been into music since I was a kid. My parents had me playing piano when I was very young. The people that I guess influenced me as a child, I’m gonna say influenced me as a child, but they’re people that I loved as a child, were typical Michael Jackson, George Michael, Marvin Gaye, little bit of James Brown. There was this tape that my pops used to play all the time, I can’t remember exactly what was on it, but it was a lot of that kind of stuff. Some Lionel Richie too probably.

So, you got your break really through Triple J Unearthed?

I think we started getting noticed just before that. The people we give the most credit to would be Hau, of Koolism and of the Triple J Hip Hop show, who heard our stuff, he literally played the first original song that Sensible J and I ever did on Triple J, so he had our back from the start. I would really put it on him, he always supported us.

That’s great. Did you ever expect it to take off like that? Was it a surprise when it happened?

No way, yeah it was definitely a surprise. To be honest, I didn’t even know about Triple J Unearthed.


Nah I had no idea, because I didn’t really grow up listening to the radio, it was just music at home or CDs that I bought, music that I heard from my friends in the neighbourhood. So, by the time that we got to releasing music J was more on that stuff, he was like, “we need to upload Soundcloud, Bandcamp, Triple J Unearthed”, and I was like, “ooh, what’s that?” He told me it was Triple J’s independent music site for upcoming acts and then when we were at the award show, first we got nominated for the award and it was crazy, I was like “word, that’s cool”, and then they said our name and I was like, “what the fuck”, I was just standing there. Every award we have ever won has just been a joke to J and I, because you just never expect it, you know what I mean?

Yeah. That’s nice though, I guess.

Yeah it’s tight, I am pretty happy with it. You don’t ever do stuff for awards, you know? So it’s just like a nice bonus.

You seem like you’ve been pretty prolific, since you kind of took off. Have you got something new in the works? What’s next for you guys?

We definitely have something in the works. I wish I was more prolific! Out of the two of us, J is probably more prolific. But we do have more music coming out within the next couple of months. We will say, keep your ear to the ground about April. Our new record is on the way, all that.

Tell me a bit more about your collaboration with Sampa the Great. How did that kind of come about?

Well, we first met at Northside Records on Smith Street and Gertrude Street in Melbourne. She was doing an in store performance for The Great Mixtape and she was on tour at the time we met. We were obviously fans of her before, and then we just clicked from then. She rapped on The Good on our album, and then we just wanted to go on from there. During that we worked on Flowers, well that’s the small contribution I had to her record, J did I think a third of the production and executive produced the whole thing, with her of course. Yeah we just kind of went on tour after that. It’s been very natural up until this point.

So, you’re playing at WOMAD, that’s coming up. Have you played there before?

No, never.

Okay that’s exciting then. So fans should keep their ears out around April.

Yeah, everything’s going into the music, that’s the vibe.

That’s great. Thank you so much.


REMI and Sampa the Great will be at WOMADelaide over the March long weekend. Buy your tickets now and see them in action on Sunday March 4th. 


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