Otis mensah recently released his magnificent debut project ” Days Over Damson” and sat down with us to speak about the reception the project has received and future plans.
How are you and congratulations on the release of your debut mixtape?
I’m great thank you, blessed to be alive and well. Thanks a lot, I truly appreciate you taking the time out to listen to the project and I’m really thankful for your support with it.
How does it feel to have finally released the project?
It feels great to be honest, I feel like I finally have a project out that I can be proud of and use as a reference for my artistry, whereas before “Days over Damson” I never really felt like I had a whole body of work that I could use to showcase my music and the type of artist I am, I had songs written that I was happy with but lacked a project together in its entirety.
How have people received the project?
So far most of the feedback has been positive and I feel blessed to have discovered a small group of people who truly relate to the lyrics, the concept and stories in the songs; I’d say it’s been received well by those who’ve heard it so far. Obviously as an aspiring artist I’d love for my music to be able to reach as many people as possible and continue to grow that core group of people who feel they can relate to what I’m saying but my initial aim is to try and create individual pieces of music or whole projects that act as a soundtrack to a specific moment in the listeners life and create an experience that invokes a particular emotion, thought and feeling but at the same time I’m just airing out my thoughts with this music like a means of therapy so however it’s received is a bonus.
Can you elaborate on the title ‘’ Days over Damson’’?
The concept behind the project and title is “looking back on fruitful times past” and the idea of nostalgia. “Damson” is a metaphor for something sweet that has been grown, experienced and now past, hence the imagery on the mixtape’s cover art. I wanted the sentiment to be somewhat positive with the kind of message that there’s a certain power in nostalgia and the idea that when something good has come and gone there’s a sense of joy in reminiscence and recollection but also a hope of fruitful times to come in the future.
What inspired the project?
I was inspired by a combination of thoughts, memories and moments, experienced; from people I’ve met, to the current state of the word and this internet age that we all exist in, to my own mind state; feelings, dreams, fears and insecurities. I wanted the project to be a journey of thoughts and like diary entries of my journey so far.
Who produced the project?
Well I thought since it’s my debut project and first official mixtape I want to use some of my favorite beats to try and showcase my ability on what I thought I would write best to at the time. I remembered a friend of mine, when we were back at school, saying how dope he thought it would be for me to write and record some lyrics over some classic J Dilla instrumentals and eventually I found myself flicking through some of my favorite beats by J Dilla and they just inspired me more than ever. I decided to use J Dilla instrumentals on each track. Rest In Peace J Dilla, I’m so thankful for the inspiration his music has given me and so many other artists and emcee’s that I love.
What was your favorite track and why?
My favorite track off the project is probably “Day Dream” because both of my verses on there are probably the best representation of me as an artist so far and my favorite that I’ve wrote so far. I felt I was able to gather all my muddled thoughts and put them together in one track, in a way that still displayed a sense of clarity and in a way that still sounded authentic to me. Also I was really happy with how the chorus came out and felt like it went well with the track conceptually and that the song as a whole created an introduction to the theme of the project.
Who are you current musical influences?
I listen to all types of hip-hop music and a lot of the alternative, left-field side of rap but overall I’m inspired by lyricism with clever wordplay and content. I’d say Mos Def, Common, Black Thought, Guru & more recently I’ve started listening to a lot of MF DOOM.
What’s next for you?
I’m super excited about my next coming project produced by Baltimore based producer Ray Sosa; we have an EP coming out very soon called “C O” I’m just finishing it off at the moment, I don’t have an official release date for the project yet but will be sending out further information regarding the project on my social media @OtisMensah www.Facebook.com/itsOtisMensah www.instagram.com/OtisMensah very soon. I’m also super blessed and happy to announce that I will be heading out to Berlin, Germany on the 17th April and 21st to perform “Days over Damson” live with Poetry Meets Hip-Hop which I’m so thankful for and I’m just looking forward to spreading the word about the mixtape overseas and hopefully perform more live shows to support the project over here in the UK when I get back.