‘Music’s in my veins. If you cut me open, notes will fly out’: An interview with July 7
Interview by Karan Teli
When July 7 moved from Manchester to Los Angeles, he put his future in his own hands. The 20 year olds eclectic music taste growing up, ranging from Soul to Jazz to Hip-Hop influenced the music he makes and helped him create the soundtrack to his life. ‘Prince, Jimi Hendrix, James Hetfield from Metallica. I could go on for days…’
14HQ: What was the moment in your life where you realised music was a real career you could pursue?
July 7: Music’s in my veins. If you cut me open, notes will fly out. One day, when I was about 15, I made this grime beat, I was so gassed. I was telling my friends ‘I could sell this you know. Someone would buy this.’
Did you ever have another career just in case music didn’t pan out?
I always wanted to design games actually. I’m quite computer savvy. Then I did IT in college and I failed. It’s like a blessing in disguise.
From working alone in his room, doing everything from producing to singing to mixing and mastering, July has always been trying to create perfection. ‘Seven is the number of perfection. It’s something that is true to me. When I was thinking of a name, it’s the first thing that came to me.’ It was his self-described ‘tunnel vision’ which led him to the other side of the world to pursue his dream. While in Los Angeles (and also Atlanta), July made sure that he took advantage of every opportunity that was available to him. It was here when social media helped him take it to another level.
I read that you said “social media helped you bridge the gap between the U.K and U.S.” What did you mean by this?
The internet is so powerful. 20 years ago, if you wanted to send music to someone, you’d have to do some crazy stuff. Now, you can send them a Direct Message. They might ignore it or they might read it and reply. You can comment on a photo and get a significant persons attention. There’s so many tools available, you make the most of the opportunity.
You bridged the gap, and then you moved to Los Angeles and have worked with Travis Scott and Young Thug. How did that come about?
I was part of a duo at the time and we said to ourselves; “if we want to be living this life, we’ve got to do this.” Then like I said, the internet is a powerful thing. I was sending music everywhere, exploring every avenue there was. Then I got to work with Travis during Days Before Rodeo. I’d say that’s his best work, I’m blessed to be a part of it.
As an only child, who was left to his own devices to discover everything, July prefers to work alone. This is unless a collaboration comes, as he describes it; ‘naturally. When it comes naturally, it’s always good.’ This is exactly what happened when Sango reached out to him to collaborate on the track ‘Out My Way / Around You’ from Sango’s latest album ‘In the Comfort Of’. ‘Sango is somebody I respect a lot.‘ The song was played on the 58th episode of OVO Sound Radio, hosted by July’s idol Pharrell Williams.
Did they tell you before that it was going to be on there?
Literally, I woke up and people were tagging me and I was like “Woah.” Like, here’s Drake, here’s Pharrell and here’s me. I plan to be here for a very long time, but the fact that I’m getting noticed, it is nice.
I want to talk about your biggest inspiration; Pharrell. What is it about Pharrell that you find so inspiring?
It’s the fact that he’s a true pioneer. Him and Chad Hugo. The longevity and the impact they’ve had on music as a whole. Changing the way people create and hear music. Personally, when I realised that he had produced so many songs that I grew up listening to that I loved. It left me mind blown.
In March 2018, July released his debut solo project. A 5 song EP entitled ‘Sweets.’ Fans were waiting a long time between the release of the first single ‘Pronto’, a hip-hop inspired track with Latin vocals, in July 2017 and the release of the entire EP. ‘I’m always tweaking and making changes, putting on the finishing touches. I wanted to make something I was proud of. I’m getting so much love. It’s got me excited to drop more music.’
Most importantly, you’re born and raised in Manchester. United or City?
United. Man, I’ve stopped watching games right now. It’s not doing anything for me. I’ve got faith in them though, maybe next season.
July 7’s Sweets EP is out now – https://awal.lnk.to/15p9j