Mixing and producing under the contraction IZCO, Hackney native Izzy Cofie has been demonstrating his repertoire of skills on the decks and in the studio. The 19-year-old has released several singles, has joined Anti-Agency as a model, and has recently collaborated with Adidas. Cofie is certainly keeping himself busy and has many sets, projects, and tracks chalked in for a 2019 release. Cofie introduced himself to tmrw.
For Cofie, music production came many years before mixing. Becoming acquainted with the Logic Pro X digital audio workstation from the age 11, Cofie taught himself how to navigate around the program. Cofie discusses how he typically constructs a track.
“Rhythm is the main part of my production,” Cofie explains. “I consider it a strength of mine; making drum patterns and then building from there. So, I’d say it’s either through rhythm or sampling when possible.”
Cofie continues, discussing how sampling has a two-fold effect of bringing new audiences to older tracks and as well as opening up creative possibilities.
“I love sampling. The possibilities are so endless. It’s proper fun as well, you never know where something is going to go. You can find inspiration from anything when you’re sampling,” Cofie says. “You can [also] show your appreciation to instrumentalists and artists. It might be an artist that no one knows about, but you just love the cool pattern and you can do something with it or bring a new audience to the original as well.”
Cofie has been recently toying with drum breaks in his production; elements that are often derived from sampling.
“[Sampling is] the reason I’ve recently been getting into a lot more breaks as well,” Cofie explains, before describing where he sources the breaks. “Some breaks [are] from jungle tunes or old funk tunes; James Brown breaks or the Amen break. I’ve got that on a seven-track project all about breaks and sampling with my friend Felix.”
Growing up with much of the grime scene on his doorstep, it seems natural that Cofie would turn to produce grime and garage instrumentals. Despite this, there is a unique flavour too much of Cofie’s work, which is something he considers comes from his exposure to a range of genres.
“I try to take influence from anywhere,” Cofie says. “The most unexpected thing can be the most inspiring for me. I don’t try to say that because I make grime and that, I’m [only] going to be looking at these grime artist and DJs. It might be a jazz producer or pop tune that gives me the next idea. I think it’s important to look under every rock.”
In addition to the grime scene in London and a dub reggae education from his father, Cofie considers how London, and specifically East London, informed his musical uptake. Alongside providing greater awareness, East London acting as an artistic hub allowed Cofie to quickly access certain facilities and the opportunities to meet likeminded individuals.
“I think being in East London you’ve got like your RINSE FMs and other radio stations like NTS. RINSE had always been what I’ve idealised where I’d get to if you know what I mean? Growing up near all of that is sick.”
Cofie further discusses the benefits of being able to go out in and around Hackney. “As soon as I turned 18 last year and I was able to start going out, and [all of the] old school and new artists I love to play in Hackney every weekend. It’s so easy for me to get access to them. Even just meeting people. Going out to a rave and that, you’ll start chatting to a rapper like Logan or someone and, the next thing you know, six months down the line we might have a track together.
“I’m fortunate to live here. It’s easier to connect with people and everyone’s local as well. So many of the radio [stations] and venues are in Hackney it makes it much easier to link up with people.”
Cofie continues, describing the mentality of East London creatives. As opposed to oneupmanship, there appears to be more of a communal and collaborative attitude and approach to creative work.
“A lot of the people I’ve met are really good in the way that they wanna help rather than compete,” Cofie explains. “I’m all for that. I think it makes the end result so much better when everyone’s got that kinda [mentality]. Like trying to make some good art instead of trying to make something better than the next man.”
As a member of Generation Z cohort Cofie is aware of the creative benefits that the internet has to offer. Platforms such as Soundcloud allow artists to share music more readily, as well as release and share tracks that would otherwise be censored by copyright laws.
“The whole Soundcloud culture is proper great for this almost like rhythm/bass music and bootleg culture as well,” Cofie opens, before discussing how bootleg culture has been able to flourish. “People can just make a remix of an old school tune, and they can put it out and not have to worry about no copyright. Put it out for a free download and just share their skills. I’ve made a bunch of bootlegs or remixes of tunes that I’ve just made in a day or two.”
Recently, Cofie has worked with Adidas on the launch of their ‘Home of Classics’ series. In addition to looking at an array of other London creatives, Adidas documented areas in and around Cofie’s home in Clapton. Cofie further played a RINSE set at Adidas’ flagship store.
“That was sick,” Cofie opens. “They reached out to me to be a part of it. I was proper excited to get involved in it. I used to play a lot of football and my style has always been kinda like sportswear, classic sportswear. When they showed me what they were doing it was right up my street. [The shoot] was pretty much all about me, to incorporate my life into it. So we shot it in my house, my local shops. I was able to get myself across. It was a proper blessing to use my music for it as well.”
Alongside his work with Adidas, Cofie shared news of several projects and releases in the works.
“I’ve got a bag of tracks on the way. I’ve got a few singles lined up and a couple of projects as well. I’ve been in the studio a lot. I’ve been working with a lot of people like Capo Lee. I’ve been working with a few MCs, a couple of DJs, YGG. I’ve trying to get them on slightly different stuff and get them out of their comfort zone. I think it’s [created] some interesting stuff, and I’m happy with it myself.”
Until then, you can check out Cofie’s mix at Adidas’ flagship here.