Interview: [@xJuly7] is Creating Music That Will Endure The Ages

“If you're on board and you're on the seven frequency, welcome. I'm glad to have you here. And it's gonna be one hell of a journey.”
by SOPHIA HILL Jul 14, 2022

With musical feats across both the UK and the US, July 7 is building bridges of outstanding proportions. His ability to create consonance between genres is a utopian experience; as his notes usher us through darkness like the first ray of sunshine stretching across your room in the morning. 

“…When I sit down to make music, I like to reinvent the wheel each time.” Beaming in from his Manchester homestead, July 7 talks me through the flavours he adds to his musical recipe that make it so irresistible. In conversation, he is unafraid to let his philosophical and studious thoughts fly, “It can take people a while to really understand what you’re trying to do and what you’re creating; which is important because most of our greatest lessons today were very misunderstood for a long time”. 

His Mancunian cadence underpins his excitement as he gets into topics that he finds particularly stirring, whether that’s talking about his founding indoctrination into Heavy Metal via Guitar Hero or the compelling urge he has to ensure his music is heard worldwide. “I’m here to heighten everything. I’m here to heighten the musical landscape, I want to make sure that it’s something fresh and unique.”

July’s musical make-up draws from each of his lived experiences: The perspective of a good-hearted northerner; the family members who once provided his first taste of music; spitting grime at his local youth club; and of course, the unrelenting urge to create something that mirrors those early experiences of discovering music.

There’s no denying it, listening to July’s music elicits a little boogie no matter where you are. Whether you’re waiting for your train at the station platform or holed up in your make-shift WFH–office, he’s got you covered.

Read the full conversation below to see how July 7 is putting the Mancunian spirit into music across the globe.


GUAP: Your music makes people dance, there’s no question to it. It’s an incredible legacy to have. Do you think this ability to channel movement from your music is something that comes naturally?

July: Most definitely, I feel like pockets bounce and rhythm is the foundation of everything I create. I want to uplift people and I want to make you move in ways that you didn’t know you could move. I want to give you rhythms that you’ve never heard before. You just sense it – it hits you differently, and I’m happy to take the lead on that. I want everyone to move and I want everyone to feel good. And if it’s in the sun even better, you know.

You said in the past that you like to sit in between genres. And I’m a strong believer in not boxing an artist up into just one avenue...

I love that.

So what’s your take on this sort of conversation around the idea of being boxed up and being put into one genre – say r&b or rap. What’s your take on that whole debate?

I feel like it’s important, you know, and especially in 2022, conforming and trends, and, you know, like all of these things are so major at this time, that it can be hard to be yourself, it can be hard to actually get the inspiration, vision and perspective to actually create something entirely unique that has never been heard before. But I feel it also takes a lot of bravery to put it out there because a lot of people might not understand it initially. It can take a lot of people a while to really understand what you’re trying to do and what you’re actually creating; I feel like that’s important because most of our greatest lessons today were very misunderstood for a long time until they finally hit the limelight. I’m here to heighten everything I’m here to heighten the musical landscape, I want to make sure that it’s something fresh and unique. I remember being a kid, listening to music and not quite being able to put my finger on it because I’d never heard anything like it before. And that’s what I ended up leaning towards when I create. I’m always gonna push the boundaries.

“I remember being a kid, listening to music and not quite being able to put my finger on it because I’ve never heard anything like it before. And that’s what I ended up leaning towards when I create.”

100% I’m gonna come back to a couple of the points you made there. But firstly, growing up or being in Manchester, how do you feel that’s impacted your creative process and your musical career?

I would say coming from Manchester a lot of people don’t really know it exists. Being real. A lot of people only think that London is in the UK. You know, so being from Manchester. The perspective is completely different. It’s very multicultural. We’re all together. It’s a small city in a sense, but I feel like we are a lot warmer. We have a different perspective on the world and we want to see bigger things, we like to look up to London, we like to look up to other places. We don’t feel like we’re the shit we’re here just because. It’s made me humble, I guess you know, it’s made me understand every side of life, every angle and I feel like, that’s what I put into the music, you know the Mancunian spirit. I might not sound too Mancunian but I’m definitely a Manchester boy.

I can feel it in your music and it goes without saying really, people from up north are warm. There are good souls from those parts. 

Most definitely, and I’m glad that’s the narrative because that’s how it is, we love and respect each other. Whereas,  I’ve definitely felt hostility in London at some points.

Another thing that brings to mind is… in general across London and a lot of the UK, you have that neutral accent; but with a Mancunian accent, you have intonations, it’s more rhythmic. Do you think that plays to your sound as well?

Definitely. All of these things, I like to be very tonal, especially when I talk. A lot of people find it funny, but it just helps me explain how I feel and I guess I do that in the music too. When I write, I try to just complement the pockets, and just make everything sweet. I just bounce off it. And it’s an unusual way of writing. A lot of people don’t write that way. That’s why I prefer not to write because it feels a lot more natural. You know, I’d like to keep the flow and make everything feel like a conversation or as if I’m actually talking to somebody on the other side, you know, so that’s how I like to do things.

Talking about melodies. Talk to me about James Hetfield and what he means to you?

Man, I think he’s a legend. With my death metal background, you know, I have loads of covers on YouTube. I also used to play emo rock. I took a lot from that. It’s just the articulate melodies, the unique and dark and sinister vibes; it all takes you somewhere or creates a soundscape or zone that you can immerse yourself in and get lost. And that’s the sort of thing I try to create with my music, I like to create soundscapes that people can lose themselves into, and just immerse themselves in and just feel surrounded by melody and everything else. So I take a lot from that. It’s quite surprising to a lot of people.

I think the contrast of that must add to the captivating nature of your music. I think it’s a wonderful way to expand your musicality because it is a challenge to what you’re doing as well.

Sure, I love the way you put that.

And then with your heritage or background do you find that comes out naturally in your music? Or do you do your research?

Very much naturally. I always try to keep it real and organic. For example, on the last single of the EP, I worked with a producer from Mozambique, just because I want the original and authentic sounds. People who are living there who were actually in that zone, and in that rhythm or movement of life, I like to take from that and collaborate with the real ones the same way, you know, I can see myself travelling and work with musicians all over the world. I’m able to do that now and reach out to them and collaborate with them. So all of those things, I’m definitely not forcing anything; I do like to wear all my cultures on my sleeve for sure.

“I always try to keep it real and organic. For example, on the last single of the EP, I worked with a producer from Mozambique, just because I want the original and authentic sounds.”

And then also going on background as well. How do you feel like your family react to your music?

They love it, you know, they’re one of the main reasons I do make music and I’m so into music. Whether it’s from my uncle giving me HiFi systems when I was a kid or him teaching me how to get the auxiliary going, giving me his old iPad; those little things like that. They changed the trajectory. Obviously, some people might not like music as much so I’m glad that they appreciate my music.

 “…they’re one of the main reasons I make music and I’m so into music. Whether it’s from my uncle giving me hifi systems when I was a kid or him teaching me how to get the auxilary going, giving me his old iPad; those little things like that.”

When you get passed down music in that sense – say, from an uncle, or for example I got passed down my music libraries from my brothers – it’s always such a diverse catalogue as well. Things that you don’t discover from your generation always makes for a music head down the line.

Exactly. I like to touch on all areas, the throwback records are definitely where I get a lot of my inspiration from. I listen to a lot of old records mainly throughout the day, I don’t really listen to too much new stuff. But I like to listen to real records, real production and real quality songs.

I think that helps recenter your music listening and the music you produce as well. Perhaps to something that feels more fundamental to music, rather than with synths and remixes we’re hearing now.

Yeah. People are running out of ideas. And they are very quick to take shortcuts. And if something works they will literally run it down till the wheels fall off. And if that works for you, that’s amazing. But I definitely do feel like when I sit down to make music, I like to reinvent the wheel each time. And that might be a bit confusing to some people. But whenever I sit down, I come from a completely different place each time. Sometimes I work with someone and they’ll ask ‘what kind of music do you want to create today’ or ‘what kind of song are you feeling?’ And I answer, ‘I actually don’t even know’, you know,  ‘I don’t know. Let’s just see what happens.’ I just follow the vibe, really.

Is your process something you let happen organically?  How do things snowball into a song?

I just take inspiration from everything. Sometimes I’ll be on the train back from London, and I might have a beat that I really love. And I’ll actually just write the whole song in my head on the way back. But when it comes to actually laying it down, it’ll be so cemented because it’s like I already heard the song before. I feel like songs play in my head all the time. But my main process is mainly just making the music; seeing where that goes; words come out; I find a melody. I don’t really write much down, I just figure out what’s going on and what I’m trying to say in a moment; how to feel in this moment. And I just let it go. I just let it fly.

Do you ever fear you might forget a really good lyric or has your memory just got it on lock?

Yeah, if it really resonates, it stays there. Like I have a very selective memory. Some people take offence that I forget very simple things, but I’m like, I don’t need to remember that. It’s not important to me. So, yeah, if it resonates with me, I’ll never forget and it’ll always stay with me.

100%. I feel like this is a generation which experiences information overload too.

That’s facts. Everything is moving at lightspeed, it’s all so fast right now. You know, you feel like you could be getting left behind every second because there’s something new. You have to inform yourself and most times, it’s a lie. It’s all a lie [laughs].

Talking about memory. Do you remember the moment you realised that you could have a career or a career in music was something that you could make happen?

I do remember that moment. When I just made a grime beat one time. And it was okay, it wasn’t anything spectacular. I just made it and I was like, ‘Yo, I could, like sell these’… I don’t know what happened, but it just hit me in that moment. And I just let that inspiration. Just lead me and guide me since then.

Grime is legendary in itself… I’m not surprised at the instant connection it might have made you feel?

That’s what it was… we used to have the youth club. And every Friday, everyone would do Grine battles. And just do mic battles, stuff like that. And I knew the DJs, so I was always desperately trying to make the song that would get people going in the clashes. I was really just trying to make that dark grime, just really hit them… but I guess that was the initial fuel that led me to go into everything else, you know, like the American stuff. My stuff was a lot more aggressive back then. Maybe that’s from the death metal, who knows? But yeah, it was definitely a crucial moment for me.

With death metal. How did you kind of come across or discover that genre? Was it sort of delve into genres on your own accord? Or was that something you had on your uncle’s iPod for example? 

I said the initial seed was probably when I got Guitar Hero. I got Guitar Hero around ’05 or ’06. And I played the hell out of that, I absolutely bust that up, like, expert mode, everything was done. And the song selection was just so well picked. It was a nice introduction to everything. So I think it was a combination of that and one day, I’d be chillin, just randomly flick on Karang… I used to watch TV music channels all day long and I ended up landing on Scuzz [a rock metal show] or Karang. I don’t know if the channels are still around. So it was through those outlets and I’m not sure if you’re familiar with a band called Paramore?

“I used to watch TV music channels all day long and I ended up landing on Scuzz [a rock metal show] or Karang”

Of course. An iconic band, especially of that era.

An amazing band. And at that time, it just really resonated with me –   that was one band that I just loved listening to. And I started just finding music that made you feel good… but still made you want to headbang and rock out as well. I guess that’s the balance that I found.

Even dark music can still evoke positive emotions. For me, that can be with punk. If you really deep the lyrics, maybe it’s dark material, but for me, it helps channel and gets rid of anything negative inside of me. That headbanging thing, the movement is equally a positive sort of thing for me as much as Dancehall for example…

Definitely, you’re right with that. I go off textures and how I feel. You’re inspiring me right now you know… those eerie moments is something I really want to bring more of that through in my next project. Because it can be more of an outlet, where, some people don’t want to feel. I feel like I’ve done the box and I’ve done some of the essential stuff like that. I’m ready to take people a little deeper; the start of that is with the latest EP ‘Rendez-vous at Seven’. So the next one’s definitely going to be a lot crazier.

I’m really looking forward to that because you know there are people like Rico nasty and Grimes – maybe they’re on the commercial side of it, but they made that commercial.They’ve made rage music that can sit comfortably on the charts.

Me too. I love all of those artists as well. You’ll definitely be seeing hints of that stuff in the next releases to come.

And then these are the two points I wanted to go back to… there was this leap from making beats in your bedroom to producing tracks for artists like Travis Scott. I feel like your bedroom is a safe place. Do you think that safe space allowed your creativity and confidence to flourish?

Most definitely. I feel like that’s where the heart is. Home is where the heart is, everything is so within and so personal that it makes sense to be cooking up bangers with that fire… living in your mom’s house. I feel like it’s an important place in order to build towards everything else in life. It keeps everything locked in… I’m a fan of keeping energy close to you, it builds up and up. So it’s ready for release and that’s why I love working alone, that’s why sometimes I don’t like working with people. Imma keep it real, sometimes I don’t want to talk. sighs I don’t want no long business… everything I’ve seen you do in 10 minutes, I could do in two seconds. 

I get you. At times, the social battery needs to recharge in order to do your best work and be around people at your best as well.

Yeah, and I have to be honest with people – I have to say, ‘Listen, it’s not the day for it’. Social battery is important. And there are some days I wake up, and I’m just like, I don’t feel like talking to anybody today. You know, and that’s when the music comes in. I just love it. I laugh at the music, you know,

Maybe it’s the condition of being a creative person. Sometimes uncomfortable, is a good thing. That can go for albums you might not resonate with at first…

Definitely, you know, the best albums are usually ones you have to immerse yourself into, you have to allow yourself to take it in properly; it might not make sense at first on the first listen. I do feel like each album if you skip through and they don’t include a few immediate bangers… whether or not I’ve heard any of the other songs. Of course, it is always about the overall story, but there should be something that hooks you too.

100%. we have short attention spans these days and you have to play into that as an artist too… Talking about navigating hurdles in music. In an interview, you once talked about ‘not being where you wanted to be at’ career-wise. That was a few years ago now, but how do you perceive those same hurdles down the line?

Well, I’m not sure when I said that but I would say that’s probably the hustler ambition in me. There’s always a part of you that wants more, there’s always a part of you that feels like.. ‘you work hard, you should be this or that, achieving this…’ A lot of us can kind of agree with that. But for the most part, it’s natural. You don’t really have much choice over what happens, a lot of things are in your control. So I guess what I’ve learned from that is to always trust in my gut. That’s the same thing that’s got me here – when everyone is still listening, and the music is still growing. I want everyone to hear my music, everywhere.  As soon as I drop it. So that’s what I’m working towards. I’m very grateful and blessed that I have fans from all over the world, from countries I didn’t even know existed! So, for me, it’s about building on that. 

Anything you want to add? Anything coming up you want to talk on before we finish?
Yeah, be ready. Be ready for the trip. If you’re on board and you’re on the seven frequency, welcome. I’m glad to have you here. And it’s gonna be one hell of a journey. So big love every single time.