SALUTE MUSIC MAKERS IS A TRUELY UK WIDE MOVEMENT. OVER THE NEXT FEW MONTHS WE’LL BE SHOWCASING SOME OF THE DIVERSITY AND TALENT OF MUSIC MAKERS WHO HAVE ENTERED OUR ORIGINAL MUSIC COMPETITION. A FEW DAYS AGO WE SAT DOWN WITH TISTIK TO TALK ABOUT RAPPING, MENTAL HEALTH, AND THE CATHARTIC POWER OF MUSIC.
- SALUTE: Tell me about where you’re from and how you got into music in the first place. Did you have much of a local music scene or did you find bits through the internet?
There wasn’t a lot going on where I am from. I live in Inverness. No one really rapped or that, so I was more into punk rock, like ‘My Chemical Romance’ and that. But then my mate, one of my best friends, showed me ‘Stan’ by Eminem. I didn’t really like it at first but down the line I just got into it and started like making music. I started taking beats off the internet, writing and rapping to them for like 2 years. Then after that I started making music on FL Studios.
- SALUTE: What programs and equipment do you use?
I use Fruity Loops to make beats and then I use PreSonus Studio One to record my vocals. I have an audio midi box, a microphone, all in my bedroom.
- SALUTE: Ok, cool, so you do bedroom and DIY production?
- SALUTE: Who are some of your favourite producers?
Production wise I’ve always taken inspiration from myself. I haven’t really been inspired by anyone on production, it’s more on the rapping that I am inspired by people.
- SALUTE: Which rappers have inspired you?
I was heavily inspired by Eminem to start off with about 5 years ago? Near enough, but then I started to branch out to other great rappers like Tech N9ne and Yelawolf, Busta Rhymes and D12 but nowadays I’m more into trap music such as Lil Uzi Vert or Desiigner, Lil yachty and so on, but I still go back and listen to Yelawolf and that.
- SALUTE: Did you study music at school or at college?
Well at school I got kicked out of music in the first year and I wasn’t allowed to return until I went to college. I’ve just finished my first year doing Sound Production at North Highland College.
- SALUTE: What do you think about the current state of rap music in the UK? Do you listen to much UK rap?
I don’t tend to listen to much UK rap, more grime, and I do like a little bit of Stormzy and JME from time to time. Grime is different but still great to listen too.
- SALUTE: What did your family think about your choice to focus on music?
They support me, like 100%! Like, my mum is my number 1 fan.
- SALUTE: How is it for you being an independent musician and balancing working on your music with studying?
Independence has been a part of my whole life. Being an independent rapper, like, I do everything myself and I’ve been like that for a while in my life. Rapping is my whole life and I don’t really know exactly how to put that into words.
- SALUTE: Do you get to collaborate with other musicians much in Inverness?
Well I’m doing this thing called Music Plus, have you heard of that?
- SALUTE: No I haven’t pal…
Well Music Plus is basically where you get shown how to make music and you can ask them to help you out on your project. You get 5 sessions. So I’ve been doing that – I went to my first session the other day and basically you can meet other people other people, including other rappers, so next session I’m working with Butterz, yeah I’ll be meeting up with him on the next session.
- SALUTE: Do you want to break down your name Tistik to folks?
(laughs) Yeah, because I’m autistic I just basically halved the name and put a K on the end. I was diagnosed with autism when I was 11, so just before high school.
Autism is a huge part of my life. Like I don’t, some people forget that I have autism but for me it’s every single day so that’s why the name TisTik sticks with me.
Basically I went through my life not knowing that I had autism. There were issues along the way that people didn’t know what was happening but like, the whole time I had autism. I struggled a lot, but as soon as I got diagnosed I didn’t really understand, and then everyone was different to me, but I’ve only just recently come to understand what autism is and how it affects me and I’m here now.
- SALUTE: Do you feel that there’s much stigma and ignorance about the condition?
Yeah, I mean sometimes people argue with me and forget that I can be like a brick wall. Either way it doesn’t always end well.
- SALUTE: Has music helped you understand autism more?
Rapping hasn’t really helped me understand autism more, it’s kinda like it was a ventilation for me. Rapping was a huge part of my life because speaking to people, I can find it hard to speak to people, but when I’m writing down I can speak freely. When I’m rhyming I can speak freely.
- SALUTE: Was it difficult getting into rapping?
Ahh no man, I’m like one of the most confident people you’ll meet probably. I did get bullied for like a huge part of my life, with people calling me Eminem because I rapped and I am white, so yeah, people photoshopped images and did social media shit. I used to have food thrown at me and crap. Children are mean, but like you forget about it eventually. And I’ve grown up to be more mature than they’ll ever probably be now so…
- SALUTE: What motivated you to get involved with SALUTE?
Well I just got tagged in Facebook because people know that I make music and that, and I was like ‘why not’? I love what you guys are doing. I read the blog and I felt like we need more things like this for independent people that are making music so I signed up for it.
Check out Tistik’s new album dropping on the 28th of July. Check it out at Bandcamp
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