Meet Walt Miguel, hip-hop from J-town to Berlin

Ever met a rapper who flows in many languages? Let me introduce Walt Miguel who reflects his presence in strong words, introducing his own brand of hip-hop. He is from a small town called Jakobstad (J-town) or Pietarsaari in Finnish. He is performing actively in local events and festivals and has now started a new adventure in Berlin!

Wanna know more? Read further and discover the person who is also behind the football team FF Jaro's anthem!

Photo: Ian Johannes Granström

I love the vibes in your music. Where do you find the inspiration to your songs?
Thank you so much, I appreciate it!
Inspiration is an interesting thing, because it can hit you at any time, anywhere. For example, I remember working on a school assignment at home one evening while my roommate was playing Crash Bandicoot - this was when I was still living in Turku -and I probably wasn’t all too focused on my work, cause I started listening intensely to the game’s soundtracks. The music in Crash games is genius and I just had to try to recreate the sound of the lead in one of the songs. I gotta admit, I’m not the best sound engineer, but after tweaking all the knobs on my computer for a good hour, I had a decent sounding lead and that same night I made a killer beat!
Unfortunately I recently lost all my unreleased tracks and beats due to my own stupidity, so the world will never get to hear that beat. I’ll tell you more about that later.
Anyway, like I said, inspiration can hit you whenever. Sometimes when I hear a cool saxophone lick or a groovy bass line it gives me ideas to work on. And that’s what I love about composing music, cause the simplest idea can turn into something great.

Your rap music differs from the usual Finnish rap music. What are your biggest musical influences?

To be honest I don’t really listen to all that much Finnish rap, so that might be a reason why my music is different. I actually din’t grow up listening to rap or hip hop. I was more into glam rock in my teenage years. I used to blast Kiss, Thin Lizzy and Aerosmith in my room till my mom went nuts. My dad is also a musician and a composer but he plays latin music, which I believe also influenced me at a young age. And if you’d take a look at my private spotify playlist you’d notice that I’m not biased towards any genre. I enjoy soul, jazz, rock, pop, indie, house etc. equally. I simply love music and good tunes are good tunes!

Photo: Anton Backman

If you could collaborate with any artist of your choice, who would it be? (why?)
Woah, that’s a tough one! I wanna say J. Cole but I don’t think I could do him justice (yet! ;) . I’m gonna go with the Umeå rap-duo Trainspotters. They’re the ones that got me into writing lyrics in English. Trainspotters and their crew Random Bastards have done an admirable job promoting rap music in English in Sweden and I would like to do the same in Finland.

Your rap flows in many languages (English, Swedish, Finnish and Spanish), how come?
I speak all of the languages listed above fluently, so I kinda wanted to prove to myself that I can flow in each of them. I feel most comfortable rapping in English though. I’m fairly sure it’s because most of the rap I listen to is either American or British.
I wrote my song Vapisen to show the people of Finland that even though my first language is Swedish, I can produce better lyrical content in Finnish than many of the biggest rappers in Finland today. But other than that, I just think it’s fun to rap in different languages because depending on the language you have to rely on different rhyme schemes.

Photo: Rasmus Norrbygård

Can you tell us more about your newest single “GRINGO”?
I actually made the song GRINGO a couple of years back and my intention was to re-record the verses before I release it. But at some point I just figured that the song is good enough, because instead of polishing all the old turds I wanna make new music, and make every new track better than the last one.

GRINGO is the first song in which I tried to introduce disco elements and I’m pretty happy with the result. The bass line is hella groovy and the drums bounce real good. Those who listen to rap and are familiar with Joey Bada$$ might have noticed that I kinda ripped off one of his hooks in this song. But I only did it out of appreciation for his music and also, I start the first verse with: ’Yo I’m sorry Joey, but the hook made an impression on me. See, you the man, yo for real you the truth homie.’ ;)

GRINGO, as a whole, is a song about respecting the origins of hip hop and MC’ing. Finnish rapper and producer Haamu made headlines in Finnish music magazines a couple of years back when he exposed and discussed corruption in the Finnish music industry. Today’s music industry is a wear and tear culture and that is exactly what my song GRINGO is about. The hook goes: ’Who the fuck passed you the mic and said that you could flow, point ’em out, bitch I wanna know’. The mic should be passed to those who have something to contribute to the industry.

You have recently moved to Berlin. How is the music scene in Berlin? In what way does it differ from the Finnish music scene?
Berlin is all about techno. Which kinda sucks if you are like me and actually like to dance with other people when you go clubbing. But the cool thing about Berlin is that the city is full of musicians and producers. So I’m bound to run into people to work with at some point. I love that there are concerts to go to any day of the week, ranging from jazz to black metal. That’s probably the biggest difference between the Fin and Ger. I’ve only been here for about 4 months so I must admit, I really don’t know that much about the music scene in Berlin yet. But I hear amateur musicians getter bigger money for small club gigs in Finland than here in Berlin, which is somewhat surprising, but nice to know.
I’m super excited to be here though! My goal is to build a bigger network and to develop both as an artist and a producer. I’m pretty sure I’m not gonna stay in Berlin forever. J-town fo’ life baby!

Any new music coming out soon?
I mentioned above that I managed to lose a whole bunch of unreleased material a while back. I was trying to make my windows hard drive compatible with my mac computer and I simply wasn’t careful enough… I erased everything. I had been working on my second album for a couple of years and now all those tracks are gone forever. I tried to recover the lost files but it seems quite impossible to put all the pieces back together. I’ve come to terms with it now and I feel more motivated than ever to make new music.
I’m experimenting with new styles and elements from differents genres and I’m constantly working on both my vocal technique and lyrics. It’s just a matter of time till I get that ’Fuck You’-money, and when I get it I’ll buy a house for me and my boys somewhere nice. Because ’Love My Boys, Hate bastards’

What a dude! Such resilience. If I'd lose all my tracks I think I'd go nuts. I remember losing an entire project for an engineering course because my old computer decided to erase it all. I almost threw my computer against the wall, but then I realised that I still needed it haha.

I'm looking forward to seeing what is coming up! Let's hope that Walt Miguel will bring some new to the Finnish and German hip-hop scene! Make sure you follow him on Facebook and Instagram!

Wanna know who’s the next artist/band in the spotlight? Stay tuned!