In Talks With Offica: I am a perfectionist, if I don’t like a song I won’t release it

Afoma Andrea

By Afoma Andrea

Afoma Andrea

8 Jul 2022

If Offica could be described in one word, “humility” springs to mind. When poised with the question of whether he is the current “king of Irish Drill”, he is puzzled and slow to answer. Remarked as one of Irish music’s most remarkable success stories in years, you would think he would jump at the chance to claim the crown right? Taking a deep breath, the Dubliner sharply rejects such statement – “You’d have to ask me that question in like two years time but for now, no. I wouldn’t accept it.

A member of the renowned Drill collective A92, he rightly reminds us that he is only a piece to the machine that put Irish Drill on the map. With over 91 million streams on Spotify of their Plugged In Freestyle, the A92 crew have quickly captured the eyes of many across the world. An ever growing fanbase, the group may not be the first Irish drill collective to crossover but they’re certainly the first to bring the genre to the heights were currently witnessing.

As solo artists, each member has gone on to mark their own territory with victory. Occupying the role of the mysterious masked figure, Offica’s unique mixture of Yoruba and Irish slang was striking and quickly gained favour with even the non-Drill heads. Never one scared to experiment, his latest joint, “Kolomental” featuring Darkovibes and A92 brother Dbo is sure to come as a surprise to a few fans.

When questioned about fears of fan reaction to his new sound, he is unfazed. Parking his car on the curve, he exclaims “The thing is there’s always gonna be something for the core fans anyways. It’s not like I’ve totally given up a sound.

Tap in below to see the rest our conversation!

Why is that?

I just feel like there’s a lot of things on my list I need to tick off before I can claim that title.

Many would say that you’re the one that kind of put Irish Drill on the map.

I wouldn’t say I put it on the map. I played a part in it yeah, but I wouldn’t say – like people didn’t know about Irish Drill before me.

Let’s talk about your latest single, “Kolomental” featuring. Darkovibes, and A9Dbo Fundz. Kind of a different sound for you. Were you worried about the reception you may get from fans?

I’ve always been a big Afrobeats fan. Thats like the most music I listen to. Obviously, I have quite a big fanbase in Nigeria as well, so I was like, let me try that sound. Even the way it happened, we were all in the studio and we just played like, an Amapiano kind of Afrobeats beat and we just vibed to it. We were like oh, shit let’s record that and yeah, we did.

You did say last year that you’re going to be experimenting with different genres in 2022.

Yeah and Afrobeats was one of them. I have some more but they will be showcased like, around the time my tape drops.

What is your reaction to the few core fans that may want you to stay just Drill?

The thing is there’s always gonna be something for the core fans anyways. It’s not like I’m totally given up a sound. It’s just trying to win over a different sound, a different fan base as well. I mean, just trying to expand my brand. It’s not like, I’m totally pulling away from what made me who I am today. It’s just like, you know, trying to get new sounds. Just be very mainstream, internationally.

You’re quite a versatile artist. I’m interested to know what songs do you listen to. What was the last song you played today?

The last song I played today was No Competition by a Mayorkun. I think he just released a few days ago. When I was in the gym, I was listening to Dave. Dave is really good for the gym.

Dave? In the gym?

[Laughs} Yeah Dave is good for the gym.

Which song?

I was listening to Both sides Of A Smile.

You mentioned about going international. I want to know is Irish radio still been enemies to you?

Yeah [laughs]. I don’t really like to talk about them too much because it’s a thing where – I’ve always said, like, once we get to a stage like they will have no choice. They’re just going to have to, you know, play it. I don’t hear myself much on the radio, to be fair I don’t really listen to the radio. It’s more people sending me in. People send me like snaps of our music being played on stuff but yeah, they’re not trying to hear us.

It’s just like a broken record now, Black Irish artist now have to literally just forget about home support and just do their own thing. Your plugged in freestyle with Fumes went crazy. I think that was on most people’s top 10 tracks of that year. How did you feel about that?

I think that was like my first freestyle with the boys. I remember at first I didn’t want to do it, because I had a lot on my plate around that time but we just done it, we wrote it during coming up to Fumes studio. Yeah, it done what it did. Absolutely delighted about it.

Are you happy with the support you get in the UK?

Yeah, I am quite happy with the support we get in London. I just wish we could get more of that in in Ireland. It’s crazy that you have to go overseas sometimes to get that kind of love.

Quite interesting, because I think a lot of London artists feel the same in regards to the UK. But when are you and the boys bringing a tour here?

Yeah, we were meant to do a tour last year or was it the year before?I think it was off to do with COVID and stuff. Hopefully soon, we can come around and see what’s going on in them sides.

Let’s dip back into music. Now. I’ve heard you’ve got a debut album coming soon. What’s the name of it?

[Laughs] I actually cannot share that detail with you right now

Wow, can you share when we could expect it?

So we were thinking about dropping it around my birthday, which is September times.

Oh, so that’s quite soon, then.

Yeah soon enough, and I have a headline show in Dublin around that time as well.

Will you be linking up with Kid Spyral on the project?

Oh, yeah. 100% 100%, he would be there.

You have a very close relationship with Kid Spyral. Is that quite important to you when working with producers?

I just feel like it’s easier because I don’t really have to talk too much about like, what I want. With some other producers it would be a thing where I’d have to go into deeper detail on what I want the beat to sound like. He just understands, and does it straight away.

What are some obstacles you’ve encountered when working with producers?

When we’re working with producers? To be honest, I haven’t really had any problems with anybody. I’ve been privileged to work with really good producers that understand me and have that respect. So I wouldn’t say that there’s been any issues at all.

I need you to settle a debate for me. So me and a friend were having an argument. We were debating what was your breakout hit. He said Naruto Drillings. I said, Plugged In Freestyle. Who do you agree with?

I feel like Naruto Drillings was my breakout hit but then the Plugged In kind of like took it to a different level. Like I feel like Naruto Drillings broke out in the Irish Sea proper. Then the freestyle was big in the UK so like more people kind of like knew me in UK.

Plugged In got you more international?

Yeah, like you probably only heard of me, maybe after the Plugged In, if I’m right?

Nah not me I knew you before that

Oh really, yeah thats what some people say. It’s a thing where like, you’ve definitely come across my mask but, you know, you might not have heard the music kind of thing.

Yeah, with the mask reveal though, what actually encouraged you to reveal yourself?

I remember I was just tired of like, the whole mask thing. It was a thing were I felt like I couldn’t really connect with my audience and stuff. Nobody knew how I looked like. It was just like, for all they know, I could be just having a straight face. More time when I pull up my mask in music videos, I’m just swinging my hands. I was just like, I really need to find a way to connect with my audience. Then again, the mysterious kind of like effect made sense as well. I have no regrets over it. Like, I wouldn’t change a thing.

Would you say this is what the next era is for you now, as in, you’re building that connection with fans.

The connection is a big thing. It makes people want to listen to your music more because they feel like they know you. Rather than me just rapping and their like, okay but if you understand me, you kind of know my personality and stuff. Your like “oh shit” you understand me more I feel you.

What’s a pet peeve of yours?

I actually don’t know. Like, I actually wouldn’t be too sure. I feel like for me it would be support for music videos. Like I remember that we used to have like bare people in music videos. Now it’s like, I don’t know if people are not arsed or stuff like that. It’s harder to get people out but to me that’s fine. It’s always a thing where like at the end of the day you’re doing it to support me. If you’re not turning up, you’re not supporting me so that that’s probably the only thing but that rarely happens to me. Everybody’s always there for me for for music videos and stuff.

In regards to support, there was an issue that I’ve heard in regards to the Irish scene about the lack of collaboration between artists. I know you collaborated quite a lot with a few but that support you were speaking about is it lacking in the Irish scene generally?

You mean like Irish artists making songs with Irish artists?

Yeah making songs, actually supporting each others thing.

My big thing is I will collaborate as long as I know, you’re not just trying to get – I wouldn’t say clout – but just trying to get out there. For me to do a song with you, or collaborate on anything like that, we’d have to have a good chat, you know really get to know each other. I’ve known Reggie before the music, Evans Jr. as well and Sello. So like, all the people I have done songs with I know them till today, like we’re still good and everything. I’m just the type, I don’t really trust everybody. You don’t know what people’s true intention are, Ireland is a small country as well. There’s a lot of fake, believe or not.

I love the way that you essentially came up with your boys. Would you say like family is kind of an important thing to you? You prefer to work with people you already have close connections to.

Yeah, I feel like it’s more of a working environment. Thats what I mean, you feel comfortable to try new stuff. Rather than if you’re in a room with people you don’t know, you’re maybe wary about what they think and stuff. You know, when you surround yourself with your family is like they’ll let you know. They’ll either laugh or say, oh, Yo, bro that’s different and that’s always good. Then again, I am really into knowing new people and networking and stuff like that. So I don’t know, it just depends on the mood as well and the vibe I get off whoever I like. Some of my studio sessions there’s always like bare people in it. There’s some days that I rather its just me instead of bare people. It just depends how I’m feeling and what I want to get done.

Lets pivot back to the album, I know you don’t want to give out anything but I am going still try. Any Naruto influences?

I wouldn’t say I’m a big Naruto fan. Like I’ve watched, or I’m very into it. Like the soundtracks and just the whole concept to do with the programme.

Okay, I’ll try something different. Okay, are we gonna hear more Afrobeats influences?

Yeah the Yoruba is there for life. You can take the boy out of Naija but you can’t take the Naija out of him.

The visibility of Black Irish people to the masses has increased over the years. We’ve gotten a bit of stick in regards to our accent in Drill. It’s either we’re forcing an English accent or sound American. They don’t understand that the Black Irish accent is unique due to its influences. What do you say to those who criticise our accent on when making like Irish drill or just music in general?

It’s so weird because I feel like everybody talks normally. Obviously if one of my boys you know was cracking jokes my strong Irish accent comes out. If one of my Nigerian brothers came now I will talk to him (speaks in Yoruba) you know what I mean. I don’t know it just like for Irish people like it’s just the vibe. I don’t even think people use UK accents like that. I think people sound normal.

I think some people are just harsh when it comes to Irish Drill artists.

Yeah, but that’s life and then people always have something to say it doesn’t really bother us. Ireland is a really judgmental place, it is the most judgmental place in the world.

Would you see yourself trying to break those Irish barriers? Or do you see yourself on a nah I’m going international – that’s the plan.

I always say I leave it to God. In my head, I always have somewhere I’d like to be but you have to enjoy it. Recently me and my manager had a chat and he was like I need to actually started enjoying it. I feel like, before I was really like I need to be here but then I need to be this this this. Till he said, yo bro, just you know, enjoy the process. I was just like damn thats actually true. Like, I actually haven’t been enjoying myself.

Are you a perfectionist?

Yeah, I would say I am. l don’t like forcing my stuff and when I do get like feedback in a certain way, I do try to pattern up like. Thats the thing about me, if I don’t like a song I won’t release it. I feel like that’s why I don’t release often because I’ll make that song and it’s okay. Let’s do this one, then I’ll change my mind like, nah, it’s not good enough to come out right now. You know, the world is always changing. There’s always new trends and new things to do. So it’s just like, [pause] before I convinced myself to drop that its just uhh that trend has passed. It’s time to move on to the next thing you now what I mean. I feel like that’s what I need to work on with myself. Back myself more.

Would I be right in saying you are someone who focuses more on quality rather than quantity?

Yeah, it’s true, but I’d like that to change. I feel like right now you have to be tactical with stuff. Waiting for that like breakthrough track and then it’s like, yeah, you have to be on people’s asses. I feel like when I get that song, that’s when you see me drop more consistently and stuff like that.

I see the perfectionist in you right now, because you’re saying you haven’t gotten that song yet, but we were literally having like a debate on your breakout hit.

[laughs} Yeah.

So you don’t consider Naruto Drillings or Plugged In as your breakout song?

Nah Plugged In was deffo a big breakout song. I do feel like I didn’t capitalise on it to the fullest. Now I’ve matured like I’m not the same artist I was at the time I made a song. I say this year is the year I properly understood how music works. The whole industry and like actually taking it in. All the other times I was just doing it but now I’ve studied it and I understand that now. I feel like you know, we were young. When the Plugged In came out all of us were still teenagers so I feel like we’ve all matured now and we understand.

What is the rest of 2022 looking like for you?

I won’t lie there is something I am keeping low key. I don’t know I’m such a low key person, I just feel like I need to be 100% sure. By God’s grace, you know we can have our next chat and I can tell you yeah this was what I was keeping a low key on. So fingers crossed.