Controlled chaos is a mentality that Kid Bookie brings to his day-to-day life just as much as his metal-laced hip-hop. At the beginning of the interview, Kid Bookie politely asks if he can light up a spliff after breaking a tooth onstage a few days prior. He was performing a cover of “Creep” by Radiohead, and, in an adrenaline-filled moment, began smashing his microphone on his head. 

“Sometimes I lose my mind, man. I thought it was cool, but obviously, I was on alcohol and stuff. Then today on the way home, I realized how I was going through delirium,” Kid Bookie admits. 

This aggressive and sincere attitude shines through, offering a deeply exhilarating approach to his music. The South East London artist seamlessly floats between calmness and hostility, whether in his hip-hop-driven songs or heavy-metal-tinged beats. This type of genre crossover has a lengthy history and is becoming increasingly common today, but for Kid Bookie, the pairing was natural to his roots. Fusing them fluidly, Kid Bookie’s vulnerability and penchant for introspective evolution in music are palpable on his debut album, Cheaper Than Therapy

Read more: In issue 400, twenty one pilots reveal the importance of their community
What draws you toward experimenting with different genres and sounds?

It’s an amalgamation of what I listened to growing up. I love hip-hop, and I love rock music, and I like fusing them because sometimes rock and hip-hop doesn’t work. I know it’s a weird thing to say, but it doesn’t, and sometimes it can come out in a really weird way. I’ve studied both of these genres so much because they’re what I love, and if you cut my arm now, I would bleed the music of the genres. I guess mixing them was always going to be natural. It was just finding out how and where in my life it felt right to do it.

What overall message are you trying to achieve through your debut album?

Break free, man. I know it’s such a cliche sentiment, but sometimes you have to bring back the cliche sentiment to realize why it’s cliche. It worked. It’s about the music for me. You really have to care, and the message is to care. Be thoughtful in your process, be true to you and be authentic to you. Fuck a wave. A wave will crash ashore and die out — be the fucking ocean and the ship. You can supply the waves to all these motherfuckers coming off you, and you create a vibrant process that’s everlasting and shapes music. 

You linked up with Billy Martin from Good Charlotte for “On My Rock” on the record. How did you two connect, and what was the process like working with him on the track?

I did a behind the scenes of the “Stuck In My Ways” video, and MTV came down. As soon as I was sitting down in this interview, they were like, “Oh man, what’re your influences as an artist?” I said Good Charlotte because Good Charlotte are one of my favorite bands in the fucking world. “Little Things” is my fucking shit, and I was talking about “Little Things,” and I told him on Twitter, “I just shouted you guys out in my interview.” 

You’ve been a part of the music industry since you were a teenager. What do you hope to inspire in young people through your musical career? 

I hope to inspire methodical madness, but not just madness where it doesn’t have a tangible ending. Knowing that the world is shaped to be a way, I feel like when you conform to that way, you’re like a cog in a cycle, and we just make the thing go around. Sometimes you have to break the things that go around to find out where the problems are, and you fix those problems, and it goes around even smoother. I don’t want to say I’m going to fix the world, but if I didn’t say I was going to fix the world, would I be a fucking artist? No. I hope to inspire parts of the world. You can put out an ethos, people take upon the ethos, they start applying it to their lives and then you start changing corners of the world. 

How did you first get interested in heavy metal? 

That’s the first thing I grew into. I fucking hated rap music. I only liked Eminem and Bone Thugs-N-Harmony — only because Eminem was shouting a lot, and Bone Thugs were spitting fast bars. I was like, “Yo, these sound good,” but I didn’t know how to rap. I wasn’t in beat. I just used to pick up a guitar in my band New Connections and screamed to inspire songs. 

I guess Slipknot was actually my gateway to pop punk. I know it sounds crazy. I was into so much heavy metal. I ended up just going so far away into different realms by listening to Slipknot and shit that led to Good Charlotte and stuff like that. It was always part of me.

What’s your ultimate goal for what you hope to accomplish through your musical career, and what do you hope your fans can take away from your new album?

It’s like a science experiment, just to see how far my sounds travel and what it does to people. I don’t know what it’s going to do. I don’t even have an idea when it comes out that it’s going to do anything. I have no expectations.

In music, I want to be able to be a platform for everybody. I know what I want to do, but what I want to do consistently changes because I’m a contradictory, hypocritical mess, and I’m OK with that because I want to change. I have no top ceiling, and I have no bottom ceiling. I just want to excel, change things and continue to keep doing it until I have no fire left or I’m dead. 

That is exactly what I want to do in music — change — because if I give an idea now, that means that’s the only thing I’m gonna do. I’ll always be undefined until I consistently keep it in those parameters and go further until who knows what because I don’t have [a] precedent. I hope that people just enjoy [this album]. It’s going to sound like music. It’s good, and I care about it. I really care about opportunity and cry about it because it means that much to me, and if things mean that much to you too, then maybe we can share this experience as a whole.

FOR FANS OF: Kamiyada+, Cameron Azi, Cypress Hill

SONG RECOMMENDATION: “In My Soul” (feat. Tech N9ne)

This interview appeared in issue 400, available here.