In Depth: Pupils Of The Clock
South-West rap duo Lazy Eyez and Tok, aka Pupils Of The Clock, have recently seen their recognition reach new heights across the UK after releasing their debut album, Timeless back in January. The project set ripples throughout the underground, capturing the attention of hip-hop aficionados alike. To paint pictures with words is a tired cliché, however nothing describes the lyrical ability demonstrated by this release more apt.
Having honed their emceeing skills for many years prior to the 12 track release, it is a riveting culmination of both their experiences and encounters. With picturesque storytelling finesse they depict their journeys; exploring commonplace concepts to thoughts of a deeper consciousness, altogether defining what drives their motivation. Backed by an array of acclaimed beatmakers including Benaddict, Wundrop and Chillman, the beats and bars co-exist with a mellow, contemplative vibe throughout.
Since smashing their live album launch, they have solidified what should prove to be a lasting legacy. With eyes (including ours) on the pair, we caught up with them to see how they were planning to build on their new-found momentum.
Let’s start with the basics. How did you meet?
Tok: That’s a you story.
Lazy: We went to the same college and I started making music with my mates Jasim and Matt, shout out to Ryan Roberts too, under the name Coal Rhymers. It was our mates birthday, so we went out into Truro.
Tok: But we didn’t know each other.
Lazy: We didn’t know each other yet. It was like a mutual friends’ birthday. So we both went out and Tok came up to me like, “You’re that guy from that rap group yeah?” It was the first time anyone’s said, “You’re that rapper guy!” and I was like, “yeah I am!” so excited about it. We ended up going to his yard and boiled a pepper.
Tok: B3. The best flat in history.
Lazy: We realised that we both made music and kind of like carried on with our own things but Tok brought us through to our first couple of hip hop gigs, he introduced us to the scene which I’m appreciative of still. Then we started making music together and it built from there really.
So what about the name - where did Pupils of the Clock come from?
Tok: That’s an even better one! OK, so I had this idea when I was leaving college – like I said I had this flat, B3 and it was like a hub for everyone. If people didn’t have anywhere to stay they’d stay there, lots of parties and whatever. For the last week when I didn’t have college I thought, what better way to have a final blow out than to try and make and record an album in 24 hours with all of my friends. So we weren’t in a group yet. I had a bunch of people I knew who made beats and I had a bunch of my friends I was rapping with all year in this flat, just sitting around and freestyling. Annoyingly all the producers bailed and I had just started making beats so I had to try and learn how to make beats in 24 hours, so the project never saw the light of day. Then, I was shaving his head in the bath- no water in the bath. Just in the bath so the hair didn’t get everywhere. I was the flat barber. So I’m shaving his head, and I’m pretty sure he just turned and looked at me and just went, “Pupils of the Clock.” And I was like “Yeah, yeah I like that.” So, it comes from the fact that he’s Lazy Eyes - the pupils, and I’m Tok - like tick-tock. I’m obsessed with time. So Pupils of the Clock, that’s us. And also the fact that everyone is a pupil of a clock. Everyone is a slave to time. We’re all in that bracket, so it’s not just us based on those meanings, it’s everyone.
You’ve recently released your debut album, Timeless. During the launch I noticed some names in the audience; Res One, Bill Next, Dr Syntax and DJ Fingerfood were some of them. How does it feel to have so many eyes on you at the moment?
Tok: It’s definitely an honour.
Lazy: Its crazy man, it’s crazy.
Tok: There were a couple of times during the show were I had to stop and turn around for a breather. On all levels it was a heart-warming response. You had those guys there which makes you feel like your pipe dream – as a person coming from Cornwall and saying "I’m gonna rap" very much feels like a pipe dream - and then when you’re stood there and someone that you listen to with all your boys back in Cornwall is at your gig, is one of those moments where it’s like, “ah OK, this is a real thing for us now.” Everyone in that room I knew apart from a couple of guys, so it was a heart-warming response.
Lazy: It was like a birthday or summin’, like a hip hop birthday.
It was a good gig, really successful - the crowd loved it. I’ve got the track list here, are there any tracks you want to talk about?
Lazy: Complexly lethargic is us again. Lethargic is me. Because I’m Lazy Eyes, I’m the lethargic pupil and he’s the complex pupil.
Tok: I’m messed up.
Lazy: I put them together and I was like complexly lethargic kind of makes sense and that’s also the kind of vibe that we got from smoking weed and that’s why we stopped. It gave us a lot of complex issues in our head and made us lazy which is something that we didn’t want. So we made a song about the fact that we don’t smoke weed, but it wasn’t just about like, hating on weed or that smoking weed is bad in general. We just wanted to make the statement that if something’s not working for you, you don’t have to carry on doing it.
Tok: Its fine not to do you know what I mean? It's fine to not smoke weed and it doesn’t mean you’re not cool, or not hip hop. Like, we played the song at the album launch and some guy came up and literally thanked us.
Lazy: Yeah. He said, “I’ve just stopped smoking weed after like 5 years. I did it because I was in a circle of people who smoke weed and just accepted the fact that we did it. We are a group of friends, we hang out, and we smoke weed.” It’s easy to get caught up in that. Either it’s an image or just a habit in general. He said that song helped him get over it.
I think it’s a message that’s unsaid and I think that it’s one that has been rightly brought up. I’m a fan of the track myself and it’s one of my personal favourites on the album. Do you want to talk about DMT?
Tok: I would love to talk about DMT. So, as you know it isn’t about the drug.
It’s not dimethyltryptamine?
Tok: No, it’s an anagram of Dead Men Tomorrow which was originally Lazy’s idea. I did a track with Richy Spitz on my first album and I’ve always thought Richy Spitz is one of the best producers in the UK. He’s crazy, big ups to the mad guy. He sent me a beat and I instantly got this deep vibe off it and thought, “If we’re gonna do a track that’s going to go- you know, become more popular in a more commercial sense, that would be the beat that would do it.” But if we’re gonna do it I wanna do it in a way where the message’s not one of a commercial sense. The track is about the fact that you could be dead tomorrow so live your life today and we both did our own takes on that, as we always do. My verse is poking fun at the commercial world on the most commercial track that we have. “I love music but I hate the fact that they abuse it and use it to make us buy into their fake solutions.” I go on to talk about that if I am going to die tomorrow, I wanna make sure my message is left in this track and in my music, so that if I die tomorrow someone is going to learn something from what I’ve said. There’s one message there that matters. Also the fact that DMT is the spirit molecule. It is the thing that connects all living things but also, the thing that connects all living things is our mortality. It is the fact that we could die tomorrow, so it’s like a play on that. The thing that connects all of us is the fact that we are gonna die, so make the most of your life today.
Yeah I like the album and personally, I’m excited to hear more. Is there anything in the works at the moment?
Lazy: Well obviously we’re both solo artists as well. In terms of Pupils of the Clock, we’re working on an international EP. We got a couple of American artists, a couple of Austrian artists, a couple of Greek artists, and we’re doing a tune with all of them. And then we got a Bristol based track on it as well with Dr Syntax, Res One, and Illinformed.
It’s all sizzling then?
Lazy: Yeah it’s starting to come man. We’ve both got solo music to come along as well. I’ve got a project with Res One that we’re working on and have started filming videos for recently which should be good and a few other things I’m not allowed to talk about yet.
Tok: We’ll be sure that when the time is right we’ll do it, even if there’s a bit of a wait. We’re not going to force anything out. We can’t have an album and call it Timeless and then go out and make some crap. I’d rather wait.
Lazy: We’ve still got videos coming out. Proof is filmed with a guy called Trav and that’s out now. Videos are all on the Pupils of the Clock YouTube channel, one on SektionRed, and all our music is Pupils of the Clock, Spotify, iTunes, Bandcamp, everywhere.
Tok: If you Google Pupils of the Clock, the whole first page is us. It’s that simple. Facebook is probably the best place though. Gigs, updates, videos, everything.
Bangin’. I’m looking forwards to the future of Pupils of the Clock. And finally, are there any shout-outs you would like to make?
Tok: My parents because they made me alive. They birthed me. Shout-outs to my mum for putting up with me.
Lazy: Yeah shout-out my parents too. Too many people to shout-out all at once init?
Tok: Same thing that went on the front of our album, anyone who supported us from the start and stopped it from being a pipe dream. Coz we’re both pretty anxious in our own ways at times, I know from my personal experience I would have quit a million times if it wasn’t for the pats on the back and support and genuine desire for us to do well. The fact that the people around us want to see us do well, that has been our biggest driving factor.
If you wanna see if you’ve been bigged up, then check out the inside cover of Timeless! Thank you very much Pupils of the Clock for the interview and yeah, good luck!
Interview by Trippy Picture
Intro by Evo
Photography by Jess Daly