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Miles from Kinshasa on James Blake, rumba, and his latest track ‘Golden’

08 Aug 2018

The sun has flashed its guns and doesn’t seem to want to put them away, so naturally, we all need the perfect summer tune to complement the long hot days and crystal-clear nights. Look no further than Vivien Kongolo, aka Miles from Kinshasa, who will provide you with a dose of synth-drenched escapism that’ll fit real nice into your current musical rotation.

Born in the Democratic Republic of Congo, Miles now resides in the melting pot of south London, a restless yet inspiring corner of the world that cradles its creativity so well. In fact, his collaborator on this track, Kadiata, a rising artist in his own right, lives only a few streets away. As the sun turns a glorious shade of yellow, I drop Miles a call. It is precisely 26 degrees outside.

IVRY’ was my first foray into Miles from Kinshasa, a gem I discovered in 2016. This shit belongs on the soundtrack of the film Drive. It is punchy and deep, yet exquisitely dry at the same time. If Stanley Kubrick and Frank Ocean had an ideas meeting on a floating Tesla, ‘IVRY’ would be playing.

Golden’ is his latest offering, laced with high-rising vocals and searing summer ambience. It’s an instant bop. Add this cut into your BBQ set before some SZA, after a bit of Kali Uchis, and prepare for edges to be snatched. The track is airy while also being tropical and a little dirty. We like a bit of dirt. Kadiata’s feature gives it that extra flavour and both artists’ vocals melt well. “It’s very natural,” he tells me over the phone. “I know if I want a quality rap verse, I can go to Kadiata and he is going to deliver.” The boys are on the up, with both having featured on the cult Youtube channel COLORS with combined views of over 600,000 and counting.

“ I like music that is very escapist, that takes you to different places”

Miles is also talented behind the mic. “‘Golden’ is produced by me, with a bit of addition from Kadiata.” As we chat about plugins, drum loops and presets, I begin to understand his musicality more, what he’s into and what influences his creative workflow in the studio. “I am inspired by rumba… It’s in my bloodline.” The colourful, upbeat dance music he refers to became popular in the Democratic Republic of Congo in the 1940s and spread across Africa.

He also cites Kanye West’s 2008 melancholic masterpiece 808s and Heartbreak as having the biggest impact on him. “I owe a lot of my textures and my sound to that.’’ It is clear that Miles at the core is a fan of music. “I listen to a lot of Tame Impala … I like music that is very escapist, that takes you to different places. I suggest a collab with James Blake (as if I could magically make that happen). “He is the G.O.A.T man!” But most importantly, will there be any upcoming shows? “The live stuff is definitely in the works.”

Miles from Kinshasa dabbles in a broad pond of reference points to come up with a sound that reflects the new age of genreless music-making. Cheers to that.

Golden is out now