Hip/Hop as a genre has been the breeding ground for some iconic duos in the past, from the likes of Gang Starr (DJ Premier & Guru), Eric B and Rakim, Outkast, even Dr Dre and Snoop Dogg, just to name a few. In the current day, there are very few that have a similar impact to these duos of the 'golden era' of Hip/Hop, especially in the UK. A duo cultivating an incredible fan base and experiences with astounding potential is the DJ & Host due Jamo Beatz and MRIAMNEXT (Seshie).
From the age of 16, Seshie has had a passion and drive to bring unmatched energy to the city of London based on authenticity. Raw emotion and vigorous mosh pits at various venues are the fuel that drives craft. For years now Seshie has been controlling crowds and introducing some of the biggest artists in the country and abroad. His platform IAMNEXT is a concept born from an urge to create a dynamic space for the youth in the UK and around the world to experience carefree elation and enjoyment. IAMNEXT has been blazing a trail for young talents to express their talents in front of large audiences, acts such as House of Pharoahs, Lancey Foux, Octavian, Giggs and more have graced the IAMNEXT Stage. The IAMNEXT platform understands its audience and what they crave to see, bringing rising talents together constantly for memorable shows that many others would hesitate to execute successfully. Seshie has continued to grow the brand exponentially by making his rounds on the festival circuit, warming up the crowd at festivals such as LoveBox, Glastonbury, and the Reading Festival.
If a party/night out in London is worth leaving your house for, Jamo Beatz will likely be on the decks to curate the vibe of the night. Along with being on almost every event poster, the booked and busy DJ has had the opportunity of bringing his sounds to store openings/Pop-Ups for brands such as Footlocker, Urban Outfitters and Hypebeat. Jamo is one of the most sought after DJ's in the UK but is ready to spread his reach with a newly announced residency at Jangal Night Club in Paris for one Friday a month. Jamo is also not new to tour life after taking control of the decks for Rejjie Snow and preparing for the House of Pharaohs UK tour beginning in Nottingham on the 2nd of October.
The IAMNEXT platform has toured around the UK and Europe, with ambitions for a world tour in the future. They aim to spread the youthful energy they cultivated in the UK, along with their love for various genres of music to foreign locations. IAMNEXT is spurred on by the love of music and this plus a synergy of a genuine understanding that makes Seshie and Jamo Beatz an untouchable duo. We caught up with the dynamic duo at Berwick Street, Soho for our editorial and interview. Jamo arrives at the set ready to get to business, Seshie arrives a little later with almost as much energy as when he gets on stage. We proceed to get them in the clothing for the shoot, styled by Frank Rodriguez. For this editorial, we aimed to highlight the vintage aesthetic of such a duo. We put together a feeling comparable to the iconic press photos of great duos in the past, also visiting some record stores in the process such as Reckless Records and Sister Ray.
Creative Direction Derrick Odafi
Photography Charles Ogunmilade & Derrick Odafi
Stylist Frank Rodriguez
Grooming Blessing Kambanga
Interviewers Haruna Jebak & Megane Akundabo
"I’ve been in the crowd; I grew going in the mosh pit and I’m standing there for like half an hour waiting for the next act and it’s either background music that’s being played or the DJ is playing. There’s no communication it’s just you and your thoughts and the music"
How did you guys meet?
Jamo: The first time I saw Seshie was at an event in House of Vans in Waterloo. He was throwing his own event and we connected from there.
Seshie: Yeah, it was House of Vans. I was doing an event in there with Liberty and Vans, it was just a collaboration. After that I booked House of Pharaohs and he was their DJ at The Yard in Hackney Wick. This was like 2016 maybe and I was looking for a resident DJ. From there it was just growing.
How important do you think it is for both your styles to complement each other?
Seshie: I think it’s important man. I feel like it’s done but it’s not done to the level that we’re trying to take it, maybe it has but I don’t know. Maybe back in the day, it was done like that but now there’s no DJ and host on that level where you could call them an act within their own self so I feel like it’s very important, especially when you’ve got an event or a festival and people. I’ve been in the crowd; I grew going in the mosh pit and I’m standing there for like half an hour waiting for the next act and it’s either background music that’s being played or the DJ is playing. There’s no communication it’s just you and your thoughts and the music which is lit but when you got that extra interaction it’s something else.
From your first event, how did you keep track of your target audience in order to make the events grow from then to what it is now?
Seshie: I’ve been doing events since I was 16. The first event, I booked Stormzy, Che Lingo, Risky and I was 16. I don’t even keep track I just understand my audience, so I know what they want to see and how to promote towards them. I really look at it as like I’m a fan. So, I’m a fan of every artist that I listen to and even artists that don’t know that I listen to them and it’s more like how I would want to be attracted to an event as a fan. Not like just an influencer but more like I’m a big fan of him. So, I really want to just understand how I attract fans to shows.
"I think it was the energy he brings towards himself and towards the crowd and what energy I give to him so both energies together is madness."
- Jamo Beatz
Jamo, you’ve been DJ’ing with various hosts, but what attracted you to Seshie?
Jamo: I think it was the energy he brings towards himself and towards the crowd and what energy I give to him so both energies together is madness. It’s like on a big stage you don’t know what to expect. I could drop anything from trap to grime to drill back to back, you don’t know what’s going to happen. I’m not just going to play trap for the whole night.
Seshie: It’s like a roller-coaster, it’s up and down, up and down. You enjoy it.
In a generation where social presence is essential, how do you create content to let people know how your events are?
Sesshie: I’m more on the fuck social media thing, I don’t care but everyone is on it, so I have to kind of care. Everyone is on this recap videos I’m like no, I want the raw footage. I want your snap that catches the raw element, the raw energy so it’s like you’ve just got to really give them what’s real. People like to make content which is lit but I’d rather watch an actual snap than a recap because in a snap that’s the moment. You’ve captured the time. When you’ve got recaps it’s like cuts of the best bits and you’re putting other music on top. People could be turning up to Afrobeats but you slap trap on that.
Speaking of capturing moments you guys have given opportunities to young photographers and young people, what can you say about working with them?
Seshie: I’m just on trying to give what didn’t get given or what I did get given because certain people gave it to me, but I wasn’t giving enough. I had to mainly break down doors and I feel like Jamo has done the same but with young photographers, videographers, artists, anyone in general for me it’s more like I’m trying to give what I wasn’t given and I want to see people flourish. There’s enough food on the table for everyone to eat so why not. People really are very selfish and on this ‘if I’m popping no one else can be popping’ but I need everyone to be popping because if you’re popping and I’m popping it’s going to be lit. You’re going to have your following I have mine and we come together, it’s like fusion.
"Sometimes Jamo would send me some stuff. He sent me Alien Head that’s what I’m fucking with right now. It’s really the authenticity. I look for something that’s authentic."
You guys feature both UK and US artists, are you thinking of branching out more to other countries?
Jamo: Of course. France, Spain, everywhere.
Seshie: Yeah, everywhere. The globe. Obviously because I run IAMNEXT and I’ve got the brand it’s like if you look closely you see the development of my logo. My logo has gone from just plain to then very minimalistic to now global. There’s a globe which is where I’m trying to take it, not even trying I am. So, we’re just trying to really go global and show what we bring as well as who we know because we know a lot of people. We know a lot of wavey artists photographers, everything. We’re really just trying to go that extra mile.
What’s your process when you’re selecting or scouting artists that are going to be at your next events?
Seshie: Sometimes Jamo would send me some stuff. He sent me Alien Head that’s what I’m fucking with right now. It’s really the authenticity. I look for something that’s authentic. I feel like a lot of things are copy and paste and it’s like plagiarism that’s what they used to tell me in school when I copied homework. You get in trouble and I feel like a lot of shit is being plagiarised and copied and pasted which isn’t lit, I don’t fuck with that. It’s something where I can look at you and you are being you. I can look at you and you don’t look like anyone I know, you’re you. I look at someone else and they’re like a copy of Travis [Scott] or Young Thug which is cool. You can take your influences, but you also got to have the authenticity part, the bit that makes you so that’s what I look for. I really want to see something that’s organic and I just want to hear something that just sounds real. I just like lit music. It doesn’t mean that it’s mosh pit like I listen to a lot of R&B, soul, jazz whatever but it just has to really feel like this is him. I’m listening to his guy and it doesn’t feel like he’s putting on a costume.
"I’ve listened to songs, seen the artist perform it live and I’m listening to it for the rest of the year because of that one interaction, that one moment."
We remember attending events for House of Pharaohs earlier in their career. How much do you feel like your events engaged and helped them progress?
Seshie: People say I put them on, but I don’t put people on, I put people in places. I’m like a steppingstone you just go there and then go the extra mile. So, for me if I fuck with you then I’m just going to help, and I know that for me and for artists one thing when I was on the come up, I didn’t see bare artists perform. I want to see you live so when I see you, I know what I’m expecting. It’s different to hear a song in your bedroom and then see someone perform it and I miss seeing Michael Jackson, but I go on YouTube and I type 'Michael Jackson live'. He’s making people faint, people are losing their marbles, they’re having orgasms it’s crazy but that’s the live aspect. Madonna live is crazy, Beyoncé live is crazy so for me it’s all about the live element. I’ve listened to songs, seen the artist perform it live and I’m listening to it for the rest of the year because of that one interaction, that one moment.
The young up and coming artists in the US when they first come to the UK usually come through the IAMNEXT platform, in terms of understanding that you need to be that person for that, how did that come about?
Seshie: I just felt no one was doing it. I feel like there’s a lot of platforms, like SBTV, Link Up TV, GRM, but they’re all online in a world that isn’t real. It’s real and it appeals to the masses globally, you can easily find it but there’s something about real live, that real element that really fucks with me, it has to be live. I can speak to you on the phone, speak to you on Insta as soon as I meet you in real life I know if I fuck with you or not it’s that energy, that chemistry and that’s what it is for me. It’s really understanding that there’s not really people trying to connect the dots in real life it’s all over social media, online which is sick because I can connect with someone in Australia but until I meet you it’s not really the same and I feel like that’s what Jamo does. He’s a producer as well so it’s not just DJing, it’s all music in general all round.
Apart from expanding to other countries what else do you have in planned for IAMNEXT?
Seshie: I did a tour a while ago I want to do another tour. I want to do a European tour and an Africa tour as well. I’m from Ghana and St Lucia so I really want to go back to my roots and connect with that. I’m really fucking with some artists from South Africa as well they got some wavey scenes but the tour, more shows, obviously the IAMNEXT festival that’s been the goal for years. I actually got to go to Glastonbury this year, and before I even started IAMNEXT I never went Glastonbury, but I said I want IAMNEXT to be bigger than Glastonbury not as in just the size but also in just the name. Glastonbury has got a big name and I want IAMNEXT to have that kind of representation.
"Me and Jack [Harper] are similar but we’re from different parts of life, we have a different walk in life. He has gone to Uni and studied, I didn’t go Uni and study I just focused on the grind"
Coming from the “DIY Generation” do you feel that more platforms like IAMNEXT will surface?
Jamo: Of course. I think because music, live performances and stuff like that everything comes around in circles, so everyone is like looking at IAMNEXT, looking at myself, Jamo Beatz, and trying to be like us but it’s like what you take from us to adapt for yourself.
An important aspect of when you were coming up was creative director Jack Harper being part of the team. What would you say about your relationship with him?
Seshie: That’s my guy, he taught me as well. Our relationship was so funny the way we met, we just randomly met at Ace Hotel. We were just chatting, and it went from there. I’m very with the flow so if you say you can do something, I want to see it in action. He’s different to me as in it’s hard to describe it’s like me and Jack are similar but we’re from different parts of life, we have a different walk in life. He has gone to Uni and studied, I didn’t go Uni and study I just focused on the grind so it’s like two brains meeting together with their own ideas, their own concept. It was sick. Obviously, everything has an expiry date that’s what I believe some things last longer than others and you’ve got to understand some things will come to an end and you can’t force that. So, when he was going on to do other stuff, I was like bro do your thing I wish you the best, but I know what you’ve done for me and what I’ve done for you will always be something in history. He’s hard man I can’t deny it.
How did you feel when he [Jack Harper] told you he was going to work with Samuel Ross?
Seshie: I knew it was going to come. It’s like that with everything. I knew Octavian was going to go on to other things, I knew Stormzy was going to go on to other things. There will be a stage where they’re unreachable but that only just means I have to level up. The inevitable is inevitable. Shit happens, it’s like I can’t cry over something like that but I’m happy for him because he didn’t go downhill, he levelled up and that’s all I care about. If you work with me and you move on and you level up then great that’s the whole purpose, as I said I’m a steppingstone. I’m here to level you up and then you level me up.
Thank you for the conversation guys, anything we should be looking forward to?
Seshie: No problem, I have a few shows coming up. On the 1st of November I have an The Underground show featuring Ali3nhead, Unkwn and Local Goon etc and on the 10th of November I'm hosting a Blac Youngsta show
(Get tickets Here)
Jamo: I have a new residency and a Paris club called Jangal, one friday every month. I'm also going on tour with House of Pharaohs for thier UK tour starting this october, so go get your tickets and show some love (Get tickets here)
Keep up to date with Seshie & Jamo Beatz here:
Jamo Beatz, https://www.instagram.com/jamo_beatz/