Navigating the music industry as an emerging artiste can be difficult, more so when they are breaking away from popular sounds. For 21-year-old Moshfire whose debut EP Pyrokinesis Vol. 1 arrived this week, she’s up for the challenge.
Pyrokinesis Vol. 1 is a lo-fi, slowcore project smouldering between dream pop and chillwave. Listeners are going to be transported into Moshfire’s neon, hazy soundscape, where synths peak and dissolve with vaporous beauty. The project’s headlining single Body Heat featuring Judo is luminous with lust, fluttering synths in the background as Moshfire’s fuzzed-out vocals states more carnal intention. ”The truth is I have always been afraid of loving this game,” she whispers, ”Forget that I have a man, I’m having you for dinner.”
She started writing songs for the project during last year’s coronavirus lockdown, recording the songs as well until she knew she was about to release, which was in April this year. ”I heard the name ‘pyrokinesis’ from a sci-fi or so, so I’ve always known the meaning,” explains Moshfire on why the EP is titled as such, ”It came back to me when I wanted to name my EP, and the meaning and everything fit like a glove. Finding control. Growing artistically and trying to nurture this raw talent, the fire inside me. The control of fire with the mind.”
Born Osidele Mosopefoluwa Oluwagbeminiyi, ‘Moshfire’ as a stage name feeds into the same personal, crackling, volatile disposition. ”I remember being mighty pissed about something and ranting to a friend who wasn’t even taking me serious.” Moshfire reveals, ”He was just being crazy, had jokes saying he can feel the heat through his phone and his hands are on fire. I kinda coined the name from that conversation, I realized that fire defines my being in a lot of ways. Emotionally, behaviorally and what not. It started off as just my Instagram handle, before I even started making music but it just stuck. It became an identity.”
This has manifested in her Instagram presence, her pictures produced as hazy psychedelic clones especially in her album cover for Pyrokinesis. Moshfire chalks up this fiery sensibility to her character. She explains, ”Probably from me never taking trash from anyone. A temper that I’m still trying to control when disrespected, I always say how I feel I don’t wanna know who you are, or how much it burns.”
From a family of six and the only girl, Moshfire grew up with three elders brothers. ”Wrestling and having a lot of footballs kicked into my face while still maintaining beauty,” she recalls fondly. Her brothers also influenced the kind of music she listened to as a child, with their individual music tastes. She went from Chris Brown, Sean Paul, Twista, Busta Rhymes, Eminem because of her brothers was a rapper then to TLC, Greenday, Arctic monkeys. She listened to Arctic Monkey’s 2013 album AM a lot. A lot of Yinka Ayefele too. ”My mum had all the CDs, some even came with visuals. I became a huge barb at some point, still am. I did not let Pink Friday rest.” she adds.
Moshfire graduated from Babcock University with a First Class in Biochemistry, and she also a certified responsive web developer from Aptech Computer Centre. ”I cannot lie, music was never part of the plan,” Moshfire admits, ”But I’ve been writing for as long as I can remember, I’d tear out the pages of exercise books and create my own book with my own front page and tell fictional stories. I had plans to publish at 5/6 years old but y’all know where we at. I picked up writing again, say 2016 but this time deeper and with more things to say. I connected with my emotions more through writing, I always felt this release after pouring out my feelings into my notes. My keypad was always there for me when no one else was.”
”For a long time it was my way of expression and now music is. It was just an honest thought, making music and I’m glad I didn’t do away with it. I wanted to be heard. No matter what you think, you’re not alone in the things you go through. I want to relate to those that don’t know it or feel it yet, you’re not alone, I feel it too. At a point, my notes started to sound like lyrics so I called myself a songwriter. I’d send songs I’d written to artistes I loved and wanted to work with and that obviously did not get far. I thought, I have a voice too so why not me sing my music, whatever I have to say would sound truer coming from me and that’s how it started. The journey of self-discovery.”
Listening to songs from Moshfire, one gets the palpable sense that her music is an extension of herself, her gossamer vocals creating contemplative pockets of emotions and catharsis. ”I have tried to be put a label to my sound but it just keeps changing with every song I make. Yeah, you can say it’s alternative. Alternative-alternative it’s different. It’s different things, it’s multi. I just do me and I’m really random in the best possible way, so it’s music with no rules or standards. A genre-bender if you may,” she says.
Take, for example, the song Energy Release, shapeshifting to current Afrobeats tastes with uncompromising, nymph-like vocals from Moshfire, sprinkling lyrical Yoruba and Igbo into the mix. On her music-making process as an independent artiste, she explains, ”I can listen to a beat and write a tune in less than 20 minutes, like I did with Thinking of you. It all depends the connection between I and the beat at that moment. I soak beats in. I listen and listen and at a point, the lyrics just flow through me. I prefer writing when I’m alone with no distractions. I’m still learning to write songs when I’m not alone, when I get my home equipment it’s over. I won’t leave my room anymore, I will produce till I drop. Right now I have a studio where I’m always at if I’m not at work.”
With the release of Pyrokinesis, Moshfire sees herself as evolving. She’s also optimistic about the future as a creative person regardless of where that takes her. ”I never stop at one thing. I always want more, more, more.” Moshfire admits, ”Satisfaction is an enemy of progress. I’m still on my journey of self-discovery, I know who I am, I want to find out the things I can do by not being afraid to do them so I keep challenging myself. I push myself a lot, so you’ll definitely be hearing about me even though you try not to. You might just be watching a new TV show and find me in it or watch your favorite artiste call me their favorite artiste. Or hear me name this new sound, my sound. The only way I know is up.”
When Bernard Dayo isn’t writing about pop culture, he’s watching horror movies and reading comics and trying to pretend his addiction to Netflix isn’t a serious condition.