prince of the lagos alté scene, santi talks us through his debut album
This is ‘Mandy & The Jungle’ – track-by-track.
Something has been stirring in Lagos. For a few years now, the young alté scene has been celebrating individuality through lo-fi mediums, and 26-year-old Santi has been a central character. Eagle-eyed readers might remember that we introduced you to the musician and director last year with his guide to the exorcisms, witches and cults of Nollywood horror, before sticking him in our Homegrown Issue this spring. “The creative scene in Nigeria is filled with people who can change the world with their minds,” the genre-bending artist told us at the time. “The ultimate goal is for all of us to show the world what we can do.”
Mission complete. You see, he just released his debut album, Mandy & The Jungle, and people overseas are starting up to pay attention. “I decided to create a universe combining everything that has ever influenced or inspired me,” Santi says. “It’s the story of Mandy, a girl who has no idea the power that lies inside her.” Out on his own Monster Boy Records, the record – complete with awesome self-directed videos below – is inspired by cult movie The Craft and the mythical homelands of powerful women like DC Comics character Themyscira. It samples angsty chat from Daria, references LEN’s Steal My Sunshine and boasts features from the likes of GoldLink, DRAM and Kida Kidz.
Sounds perfect, right? With his musical influences spanning everything from Afrobeat to 90s pop punk, this is an ode to what inspires him to create. Dive into the story behind the record according to the man himself, track-by-track.
1. Raining Outside
“This is the first song on my album and was recorded in 2017. It’s the introduction to Mandy & The Jungle and an ode to women – every female I have encountered, learnt from or shared memories with. The singing style was inspired by various Owl City songs and LEN’s Steal My Sunshine. Raining outside is produced by Higo."
2. Demon Hearts ft. DRAM
“One of my eternal moods and one of the latest additions to the album. It was recorded in January and produced by Genio Bambino, my fellow monster boy and executive producer of Mandy & The Jungle. We were in the studio together when he made this gem. The melodies made me feel the same way as when I heard Rich Boy’s Throw some D’s and I just let the spirit guide me on the song. The song features DRAM with one of my favourite verses on the album. He set the mood further and gave it an edge.”
3. Monte Claire
“Produced by Genio, Monte Claire is a love song filled with calm rage and a lot of feels.”
“Sparky is a mixture of a lot of my music personalities, it describes me a lot in terms of singing style and feel. It was produced by Odunsi (The Engine), who also executively produced the album.”
5. RX-64 (The Jungle) feat KrisIrie
“A very special number and one of the foundations of Mandy & The Jungle. While I was recording, each time I closed my eyes I saw a jungle. It felt very unsafe but still very wild and beautiful. The song was also inspired by anime and Mike, Lu and Og, a cartoon I watched growing up where a kid is stranded on an island and learns to adapt. The song features KrisIrie, who took the song to another level. It was produced by Odunsi (The Engine).”
“DSM is a fusion of funk, indie and hip-hop, produced by Genio Bambino.”
7. Freaky feat Bridge & Nonso Amadi
“This is the oldest song on the album. It was recorded back in 2016 and was produced by Genio Bambino. We sampled a Nigerian song named Shobedobedoo, and what Bridge gave this song was legendary. It also features Nonso Amadi who gave the song another edge.”
“One of the foundations of Mandy & The Jungle, this was produced by another fellow monster boy, GMK, with co-production by Higo. It’s about a man who stumbles upon a land filled with women who appear to have mysterious powers.”
“This is an ode to feels. A huge part of my music is feeling and I’m only fully confident in a song when I know that I’ve transmitted my feelings properly. This song combines happiness, sadness and peace. It features Tay Iwar and is produced by Le Mav of 8OSounds.”
10. Rapid Fire
“On Rapid Fire a lot of worlds come together to produce magic. It is produced by Genio Bambino and features Shane Eagle, Tomi Agape and Aamarae. Every person brings their own essence to the record, which is what makes it so special.”
11. Raw Dinner
“Another one of my eternal moods. The song is produced by Higo and features Kida Kudz. I love Kida and he gave one of the best verses on the album. I write based off feel and what I see in my head when I close my eyes. The beat reminded me of the movie The Craft so I’m singing about exorcising demons, running the world and at the same time speaking to my love interest.”
12. Maria ft. Goldlink
“One of the foundations of Mandy, we started working on this in 2017 but only finished it a week ago. The song is produced by GMK with additional production by Odunsi (The Engine). We always liked the song but when GoldLink came on it, it was like God’s plan. Then the additional guitars by Kingsley Okorie took it to another level.”
13. Dime In The Winter
“This was produced by GMK and co-produced by Odunsi (The Engine). I’m heavily influenced by Ezra Koenig and developed my writing style by listening to him. In this song I reference all my favourite things; anime, The Sopranos etc. I tell the story of a man who warns a woman not to take a specific stash of something but she doesn’t listen and takes it anyway and now the owner of the product has come back to life.”
14. Turn Down Mami
“I wanted to make a song that reminded me of parties growing up; a time where we cared about nothing and just felt good dancing. It was produced by DOZ of 8Osounds.”
15. Diamonds/Where You Been ft. Seki
“Diamonds is a personal favourite of mine. I speak about pain and love, about accepting people and understanding that love can be painful. But instead of sobbing over the pain, this is about appreciating the fact that at least you have love. It was produced by 1takeNandos and Barst. Seki gave life to Where You Been. I just followed him and had fun with it. Genio Bambino produced it.”
16. Settle down ft. Tay Iwar and Aamarae
“The album ends with rage, happiness, pain, love and freedom all on one song. Odunsi (The Engine), Tay Iwar and Aamarae feature throughout the project and all come together here for a special number.”
This article originally appeared on i-D UK.