Theophilus London, the New York rapper known for his progressive mix of rap, pop and electronic music, has always had an affinity for Europe. He recorded part of his 2011 debut album, 'Timez Are Weird These Days,' in Stockholm. The remix of his 'Wine & Chocolates' single is currently number one on Germany's club charts. For his next album -- and an EP with the PARIS 96 supergroup he's formed with Jesse Boykins III -- London has posted in Paris, where he recently spoke to RedBullUSA.com about his love for his current home city, getting outside of his comfort zone and working with new producers.
RedBullUSA.com: How and why did you end up relocating to Paris and working on your upcoming album there?
Theophilus London: When I make a new body of work, I have to be in a new mind state. I lived in New York for 24 years. I'm very comfortable in New York. I know tons of beautiful people there and everything is so accessible to me. When I'm making records, I don't want to be home every day. I want to be away. If I could make an album in every different country, one after the next, that would be great.
Paris is very inspiring to me. Every time I land in Paris at Charles de Gaulle [International Airport], my mind is just racing with ideas. A lot of my lifestyle stuff with LVRS came from being in Paris. The people are welcoming. Once you get in the city, you're in the epicenter of all of the cool kids, the music, the fashion, the food. It gets very inspiring.
My biggest fan base is in Paris right now, too. My record was number three there when it came out. I'm learning French, too. French people are just great. I'm not in my comfort zone. That's the reason.
RedBullUSA.com: What do you think is different about Paris' energy than that of New York or Los Angeles?
Theophilus London: It's an epicenter of everything. I've met a lot of the coolest people there. I've met a lot of my idols there. No one feels bigger or has a crazy ego. Not everyone is trying to be a star. People there are genuinely fans. If you do something that's memorable and stick in people's minds, they will remember you and love you forever.
In America, it's kind of different. There are a million new things coming out every five seconds. Paris is just great. Even Kanye has moved out there. So many artists and poets have moved out here and never came back. I'm not trying to be the mayor or the prime minister of the city or anything, but I just like the vibe there.
RedBullUSA.com: Are you working with on the album that people in the United States might not be familiar with? If so, who are they?
Theophilus London: Of course. I always like breaking new producers. I never want to go with a guy because he's got a hit on the radio. That's dope, but before people knew that kid, not everybody was trying to work with him. Now that everybody's trying to work with him, why would I want to be lined up to work with him as well? I want to be a part of that new kid that's a part of that new sound when it breaks. I want people to hire us for what we did. That's my approach. I don't really care about talking about who's going to be on the album right now, though.
"I want to visit every single mountaintop. That's my goal. I want to do this the rest of my life until I'm bored and want to stay home all day." -- Theophilus London
RedBullUSA.com: Given that you travel often, what do you find out about yourself when you're on the road and outside of your comfort zone?
Theophilus London: I learn how to be patient. I learned that New York City has turned me into this, “I can get anything I want any time I want” type of mindset. Going to other countries, I'm very patient. I'm very vigilant in at looking at everything in my surroundings. We don't speak the same language, so I'm always trying to pick up body language, body heat, humor. I like being out of the country because my New York chicks have missed me when I come back.
RedBullUSA.com: Since most Americans are xenophobic, what made you willing to embrace being overseas and being around people from different countries?
Theophilus London: I'd seen people get too stuck in their ways, too comfortable in their environment. I never just wanted to chill on the block. I always had dreams and would watch TV and be like, “Whoa, that beach looks nice. Look at that city. That's where the world's tallest building is?” Now my music takes me to these amazing places where I don't even see rappers or people I know. A lot of people I know, they hang around [New York] city and get locked up. They just hang around their corner like, “This is my territory.” Well, my territory is the universe, the world. I want to see this world that God put out here for us. I want to visit every single mountaintop. That's my goal. I want to do this the rest of my life until I'm bored and want to stay home all day. Right now, I have no intentions of wanting to stay home.