Introducing Nigerian Rock Compilation: Part 1

We sat down with John Nova of Xcentric NuMedia to discuss the recent release of the Nigerian Rock Compilation album. The 18-track album features the likes of Clay, 1LastAutograph, Plus234, The RisingRain and John himself who is XTsamurai. It’s a decent blend of some of what Nigeria has to offer as far as rock music is concerned and is a pretty good introduction to the uninitiated. Personally, I feel like there could be a bit more diversity (and more collaboration between the various acts/bands) but I understand the complications that go into compiling an album like this. It’s a nice first step and we are looking forward to more like this in the future.

It’s also important to note that the album is only available as a physical copy and can be purchased at certain locations in Lagos. Before we jump into the interview, here are the album cover and track list. The interview is right after. Enjoy!

Album Art:
Nigerian Rock Compilation

Nigerian Rock Compilation album art

Track list:
  1. Champion – Phrance
  2. Shine in my light – XTsamurai feat. Flo
  3. God complex – The Rising Rain
  4. Save it – Komos
  5. Ogadisinma – Clay
  6. Something good – Bemsar
  7. Keep pushing me – Plus234
  8. See Ehn – 1 Last Autograph
  9. A Mighty Army – XTsamurai
  10. What do I know – Michael Otuya
  11. Potatoes – Clay feat. Mak4
  12. Laying down all – Bemsar
  13. Joli – Komos
  14. Alive and Well – Plus234
  15. With open arms – 1 Last Autograph
  16. Redemption – The Rising Rain
  17. Hold on – Michael Otuya
  18. Closed Doors – XTsamurai

The Interview Part 1:

Iced O of AudioInferno: First of all, tell us what this is about?

John Nova of Xcentric NuMedia: Rock Music in Nigeria has enormous potential but does not have the traction or following that it deserves. We have fantastic Rock musicians that have put in significant time and effort into learning instruments, singing, performing, writing great lyrics – which are standard for Rock music. You can’t just lip-synch or sing to a CD or backing track at a rock show; you will be stoned with tomatoes. Despite the effort, growth can still be better. So what we at Xcentric NuMedia are trying to do, is do some pioneering work in really pushing Rock music in a concerted way.

So this initiative, which is the first of its kind, is a Rock mix tape or, if you like, a Rock Music compilation titled appropriately as Nigerian Rock Compilation. It is top-class Nigerian Rock Musicians coming together to get their work out there. You have 1LastAutograph, Bemsar, Clay, Plus234, XTsamurai, Komos, Michael Otuya and The RisingRain, all on this album.

What makes this interesting is that the CD has something in it for everyone because of the different styles. Some hard, some soft, some acoustic, some Metal. It is really an interesting mix of sounds. 

AudioInferno: You say there is something for everyone on the album. What about those looking for a uniquely “Nigerian” sound?

John: Oh, they will definitely get that on the album. A lot of the songs are a brilliant fusion of Rock Music with other genres. So you have really fantastic fusions coming from several of the artistes including Komos, Clay, Plus234 and Michael Otuya. Phrance and Bemsar bring amazing vocals and sounds to the table and XTsamurai, The RisingRain and 1LastAutograph bring crunchy-sounding “eargasms”. There’s really something for everyone, including distinct sounds of our very own “Naija”!

AudioInferno: I notice a lack of the more Christian oriented rock artistes on this compilation.Any intention to reach out to them?

John: We reached out to a few artistes and have proceeded with those who can be part of the project at this time. I believe that we will see Christian-oriented rock songs in other compilations. That said, the lyrics of a couple of the songs speak to, or reflect, the same themes and thoughts normally associated with what people refer to as “Christian music”.

There’s a huge debate about what is “Christian music”; people don’t talk about “Christian bakers” or “Christian bankers” but I guess that is a conversation for another day.

AudioInferno: How will the public be able to buy this compilation? Is it only available in Lagos? And if so, where can it be bought?

John: We are currently finalizing arrangements with several stores. We are looking at having about 5 physical stores in Lagos and about 3 online stores. We will also look at making this available at live shows this year. The next phase after Lagos will be to extend it to other states out of Lagos. The plans are still sketchy but we are in discussions with possible partners that can make this happen. However, the currently confirmed stores are:

  1. Laterna Venture, 13 Oko Awo, Victoria Island, Opposite Eko Hotel.
  2. The HUB 1st Floor, The Palms Shopping Mall, Lekki
  3. Bobogiri House, 7,9 Maitama Sule, Ikoyi, Lagos.

AudioInferno: Are there any original songs on the compilation?

John: All the songs are original songs, performed and owned by the artistes. There are no covers for legal reasons. This is really important because you get to appreciate the quality of writing that goes into writing these top-notch Rock songs. Anyone who buys the album does not just get a physical CD; you also get a lyric sheet so you can see what the artiste(s) is/are saying, sing along, and really get into these fantastic Rock songs.

AudioInferno: Will this be an annual endeavour? And if yes, do you think our nascent rock scene produces enough music to make it sustainable?

John: Good questions. This is just an initial run, so if this goes well, there is no reason it cannot be annual. But, hey, we’ll have to see how it goes. There are a lot of songs, 18 songs, on the album – and I think that we produce enough music to sustain churning out albums every year or every other year. To be honest, a lot of these acts/bands are constantly working hard, producing new material and giving their all. If people buy the music, I am sure that will be an additional incentive to churn out good music.

AudioInferno: What kind of publicity is being planned for this? How will the Nigerian rock fans know? What about those interested in discovering the music?

John: Well, the plan is to market as aggressively as possible. We are looking at social media sites and groups. We trust AudioInferno and other sites with a decent following will spread the word about this. We’re open to partnerships that can aid in spreading the word in any way.

AudioInferno: This compilation is a brilliant idea and one we here at AudioInferno are happy about. However, in this day and age with even groundnut sellers having smartphones, not having a digital version available for purchase seems a bit odd. Will this trend continue as a way of reaching people on the streets? Or is this a one-off?

John: Fair point regarding pushing digital versions. Well, because this is a first, we’re exploring physical CD sales. There are a lot of people who still pick up physical CDs, either from street hawkers, physical stores or even at live shows. It’s quick and easy and physical CDs don’t have to ‘buffer’. It’s plug and play.

If this goes well and the reception is really good, then we can come together again and look at what digital sales would involve and the best way to make it work.

Check out the second part of this interview HERE. Also, be sure to go out to the various stores and purchase the album. We need to support our local rock scene if we want to see it grow. And that begins by showing that it can be profitable. So go out there and buy! Again, the currently available locations are:

  1. Laterna Venture, 13 Oko Awo, Victoria Island, Opposite Eko Hotel.
  2. The HUB 1st Floor, The Palms Shopping Mall, Lekki
  3. Bobogiri House, 7,9 Maitama Sule, Ikoyi, Lagos.

We shall keep you updated as more stores are added.

Support your local bands and rock on \m/

Iced O

Editor-In-Chief/Chief Web Officer. Tries to be funny but fails horribly. Geek. #CFC. Gamer. Loves all types of rock & Metal (except for Grindcore. No one likes Grindcore). Has a particular affinity with Melodic Death Metal, Punk & Alternative rock...

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