Q&A: Nico Chiobi of Cheap Clout

Cheap Clout are Nico Chiobi’s experimental Afropunk music project and they’ve been working on a lot of music this year: releasing seven EPs this year. The Cleveland based musician’s most recent release is Africans in America, a political EP that mixes African rhythms with rebellious distorted punk rock sounds. In my opinion, the highlights on it are “Hope You Don’t Mind That I’m Here”, “Cease To Be”, and “Nothing’s Wrong”. There’s a grungy, rebellious, unique, free spirited quality to the music – lots of different sounds mixed together. You can stream it now on Spotify.

Today, we have Nico with us on the blog to talk about their music. If you want to learn more about them, keep on reading!

Angie: How would you describe your music to new listeners?

Nico: A musical contraption. Built by me in order to convey thoughts, feelings, and emotions in a constructive way.

Angie: How did you get started making music?

Nico: I’ve been making music ever since I was young. Piano and saxophone, then eventually guitar and bass. I started making hip-hop with my friends in high school. After I got more into the producing and recording side of things I turned my attention more towards the sounds I grew up on.

Angie: Who are your biggest influences?

Nico: The Wonder Years, Pierce The Veil, Joyce Manor, Black Flag, Bad Brains, Fela Kuti, Tony Allen, Travis Scott.

Angie: How would you describe Afro-Punk?

Nico: Loud, fast, punk distortion; infused with African rhythms and percussion. Can be very trance-like.

Angie: What makes it different from other kinds of punk music?

Nico: Only afro-punk centres the black perspective and experience. You don’t see this often within the scene. If you’ve ever been the only black kid at a punk show you know what I’m talking about… We forget that we would not be where we are without artists of colour such as Bad Brains and Death.

Angie: What inspires your songwriting?

Nico: My daily external life, but more so my daily internal emotional landscape.

Angie: What have you been listening to lately?

Nico: At this exact moment, I am listening to Moodymann’s album, Forevernevermore. Other than that I’m a fan of local groups. Mah Holos, Owney the Postal Dog, and Mourning [A] BLKstar. The local Cleveland scene has so much talent.

Angie: What is your local music scene like?

Nico: Very talented, and very kind. I can’t think of a more supportive community to grow up being a content creator in.

Angie: What keeps you motivated?

Nico: One day I’m gonna die. Everything else is just preparation for that.

Angie: What is your ultimate goal with your music?

Nico: As long as I am creating music, I am living the ultimate goal I’ve set. When you’re creating sound and playing music, there’s nothing more rewarding than existing entirely and wholly within that moment.

Shoutout to my friend Patrick for supporting the blog!

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