'I ain't trying to be boxed in.' An interview David Armada

We've got an interview with David Armada, yet more proof that B.U.R.R is back.

For my second instalment of the reinstated Brickcellphone’s Underground Release Radar, I caught up with the South-East London London rapper. We met him in the backend of last year at Deema’s headline show by the seaside - where he performed their single HASH BROWN.

Already on our radar after 2021's tape, ANKA, Armada has more music up his sleeve. Nostalgia is amongst the latest additions to Offie Mag's Music of the Month playlist and such, as saw it as a good time to reach out for a chat.

Hi David, introduce yourself in your own words for those not yet wise to you...

I’m David Armada, a rapper/vocalist from South-East London. Just trying to figure shit out through music, y’know what I mean?

How long have you been making music for?

I’ve been making music since I was 17, but only really started taking it seriously a year and a half ago. 

Can you tell us a bit more about Nostalgia, the new single?

So the song, we made it a year ago, to be honest. We have so many songs tucked away in the archives, ready to drop throughout this year. This is one of ‘em. I made it with my boys Kxmel and Cotton and went to the studio with my notebook full of bars. I got there and figured it out. They had the first half, and it was fire, so I rapped a verse on that, but I kinda wanted a beat switch so we cooked up the second half and then I dropped the second verse. 

It ended up being about looking back at past trauma and experiences and seeing how it affects the present; that wasn’t intentional. It just picked up a subconscious meaning along the way. Like in that first verse, I go, “When I was four, I hit the floor and hit my two front, now that’s why my tooth buck”, and in the second verse I go into past shit with the police and why I don’t trust ‘em, why shit is the way it is and why I think a certain way.

We loved your previous tape, Anka, from a few years back. What was the process of making a full-length project like?

That one is a kinda weird one. I started making it a year or so before it came out. I didn’t take music seriously for a long time, and it wasn’t something that I planned on doing with my life. I did that track ‘HASH BROWN’ with Deema and it did well. I was there when he made Chew Your Food, and I thought that I could make one. I started working on it, making songs and songs.

A few of ‘em I made under a blanket in my Uni room. I recorded ‘Vince Vega’ like that. My housemates were in the kitchen, so I did it in one take. Took three minutes. I dropped the tape and didn’t really expect too much. I just wanted to make a project, I love rap so much. It did have themes, and a progression, cos those are the albums that I like to listen to. Deema’s on there, Dom’s (Valentino) on there, and Kxmel’s on there.

 People seemed to like it, and this is where I am at now. 

Do you ever get miss-genred? How do you feel about terms like 'lo-fi' or 'chill UK rap' that get chucked around?

Obviously there’s always some value to categorising shit. It makes it easier for people to find, I can type that in, and it makes shit easier for the consumer. But when you’re just throwing stuff in there and it ain’t matching, then it ends up devaluing some of the art. You’re categorising people cos they’re friends with other people. 

Don’t get me wrong, my shit is ‘chill’, I guess, and I rap, but what if I wanna make a song that isn’t chill? Now people are like, ‘but you’re chill UK rap?’ it will go against their preconceived notions. I ain’t trying to be boxed in. I’ll take alternative rap over that shit all day. I used to have such a pet peeve about the word vibe. It gives me that feeling. People be like, ‘I like your music. It’s a vibe’, but that doesn’t mean anything. It’s the same with ‘chill’. Someone said, ‘your flow is so chill’, but that’s not a compliment. 

This series is all about new music, so what’s a new song that you’ve been listening to recently? 4hero

Yves Tumour’s track is crazy. Been listening to the new Yung Nudy tape. Been listening to 4hero a lot, too. It’s from the late nineties. Russian Roulette by Alchemist has been on repeat.


What was the last gig you went to? 

I went to Ken Carson the other week. Those kids were going crazy, man. 

What is one of your more left-field inspirations? It doesn’t have to be a musician. The more niche, the better. 

I mean, there’s an artist called Lynette Yiadom Boakye. I’d missed her thing at the Tate, I was so annoyed about that. I had a photograph called Rhythmic Cigarettes as my phone background, it really struck a chord with me - it’s a powerful image, for sure. I found that she had painted her own interpretation of it, her paintings just resonated with me really heavily. It’s a bit hazy and dream-like. Very lush and beautiful. It feels like how I want my music to sound. 

Eliott Smith is one of my biggest influences. Fishmans, they’re a big inspiration, they’re a Japanese dream-pop/shoegaze band. Fire. 

Bloc Party too, the lead singer was a black guy - I didn’t know black people made music like that. My mind was blown. That was the coolest shit to me. 

What have you got coming up?

I’ve been making songs with Deema, we’re always around each other and making music together. My boy, JXMESC, I’ve had a session with him. He’s my guy. I have an LP coming towards the end of the year. Got singles coming before that. It’s been interesting creating this project, I only started it last summer. It’s a full-length. I have so many songs, I am always in the studio - we have it narrowed down to eight-tracks and defo looking to add a few more. People are going to fuck with it, I’m excited for it. 

And finally, what are your three off-licence items of choice… 

I’ll go for a Tropical Vibes the mango and carrot one, some Takis and them vanilla straws, I’m dipping them in some tea. 


For more musical selection from your favourite real-life magazine, be sure to follow our Music of the Month playlist.


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