Disregarded Thoughts: Bishop Nehru Interviewed

"I’m aiming to reach a different level with my music, that’s what I’m really chasing..."

Considering he’s only 23, Bishop Nehru has been making music for a long time.

He first attracted attention when MF DOOM, DJ Premier, and Madlib all featured on his debut mixtape ‘Nehruvia’, released when he was 16. Since then Nehru has been releasing a steady stream of music and navigating his way through the music industry, all whilst staying independent.

His latest album ‘Nehruvia: My Disregarded Thoughts’ is due for release on May 8th, a date that hasn’t shifted despite the state of the world at the moment, and he’s currently conducting the press run via Zoom – an app we’ve all become intimately familiar with over the past few weeks.

We connect, get ushered in to the virtual meeting and find out what’s happening in Nehruvia now we’re confined to our houses…

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Hey, how’s it going, are you coping with isolation?

I'm driving right now actually. I’m usually always home, that's the funny part, but now that everyone's in the house I'm outside. Not intentionally, but I had to go out for a few things.

I've been trying to get in contact with my barber too but that’s not happening, which is an issue.

Has it affected your album schedule?

Nah, I'm still going to drop the project on the 8th May, I feel like this situation wouldn't take away from any of it anyway. If it lasts until 8th May people will still be in the house and able to listen to music anyway.

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There are a lot of different influences behind the album, how do you make them all fit?

The easiest way to explain it is that it’s like a TV. Imagine we’re watching a TV show and I switch the channel to something different; it’s still my TV but now we’re on a whole different vibe. I’ll just go into the studio and make a song and whichever ‘channel’ it fits in, that’s where I put it. I’ve got a lot of different projects on the go, I don’t wanna say how many but it’s a lot, so there’s always one that a song will fit with. 

‘My Disregarded Thoughts’ is my venting album. It’s all just problems and issues and I’m just talking about exactly what I’m going through, which is what I feel like people relate to the most. I just wanted to do the transparent thing, regardless of whether I get called a cornball for doing it.

My ultimate aim is to make an album that’s just amazing outside of the genre it’s in. That’s why I don’t have an issue with recording in all these different styles, because I’m aiming to reach a different level with my music, that’s what I’m really chasing. Hip Pop, still lyrical, still hip-hop, but with a way to make everyone relate to it on a grand level.

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The new project has been finished for a while, hasn't it?

Yeah the project has been done for about a year now, but I wanted to get everything lined up perfectly for it. Ironically there’s been this global mishap that’s outside of anyone’s control, so that’s messed it up in a way. I’m taking it as a lesson though, because it means I could’ve put it out when I first wanted to. You can try and control stuff as much as you want, but you never know how it’s gonna turn out.

I waited because I wanted the project to have a life beyond the first couple of weeks, so I felt it needed the right PR behind it, the right tour, all of that stuff. I didn’t see eye to eye with my sort of manager at the time either, and I’m very stubborn when it comes to art, I don’t like people telling me how to do it – that held it up a little bit.

It was nothing personal, it’s just that if I do your idea and it doesn’t work, I feel like I might as well be doing my ideas instead, because even if they don’t work at least they’re mine.

Do you find it harder waiting to release projects and lining up the PR and tour?Is that why you’ve stayed independent?

Honestly the reason I stayed independent is just good business. I want to own as much of the stuff that I do as possible, and that comes from seeing all the other people that did the same. Jay-Z, Puff Daddy, Dr. Dre – all billionaires and all started independent, it just makes sense.

When I first started out I literally wanted to be Dr. Dre, I wanted to mix, I wanted to produce, I wanted to be that guy who did all that. It just so happened that whilst I was doing those things I built a little bit of a following and I decided to just focus on attacking the things I can attack to grow that core.

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There’s obviously a creative side to it as well, the freedom to do what I want, I’m not signed to some label pushing me one way or tied into working with a certain producer trying to find common ground or anything like that. – I’m just me.

I feel like a major label can get you heard, but that doesn’t mean people are gonna like your music. When I put out music it’s just ready for whoever likes it to gravitate towards it. There’s plenty of talented artists who got where they are through a label, but I don’t feel like it’s for me right now.

Maybe I could sign with a label, but is it gonna be the situation I want it to be? Are they gonna let me own everything that I own now?

How do you stay driven?

I guess I’m just really passionate about making music. If I was gonna quit I would’ve quit a long time ago, to be honest – I would’ve quit three or four times. To me it’s like going to medical school. If you wanna be a doctor, you’re gonna put in the years and even if you fail a couple of tests or whatever, you’re gonna pick yourself up and go again. That’s how I feel about music, it’s not some quick cash scheme, it’s just what I love doing.

I’ve seen some of the worst things you can imagine happening to an artist and I still want it, so I almost feel like I don’t care what happens at this point, I’m gonna go get it.

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'Nehruvia: My Disregarded Thoughts' drops May 8th.

Words: Jake Hawkes

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