Interview with Arnold Oceng – aka Snakeyman
With his track Making Moves causing serious airwaves and several new film ventures on the way, Arnold Oceng, aka Snakeyman is one to watch for 2011. You may have caught Arnold in the innovative British blockbusters Adulthood and 18.104.22.168, not to mention the classic teenage show, Grange Hill. I chat to the young star about his many ventures, his advice to up and coming artists and what we should expect from him next…
Hey Arnold, or should I say Snakeyman. How are you?
Sup Homie! I’m all good, thanks. I am having a wicked day, the video for my new track Making Moves has just been showcased exclusively on MTV. It has a great buzz about it and there are lots of familiar faces that you should recognise in the video.
The track is banging, I will definitely check out the video.
Thanks. Yeah make sure you check it out! My first release of 2011, it is the start of many great tracks to come, you know.
You must get this a lot, but I have to ask – what do you prefer, acting or music?
I get this one a lot, yes! Acting and rapping are so different; it’s hard to put them up for comparison. I guess ultimately, acting is what I’ve been on since I was a kid, so it was the first dream that I fulfilled.
What was your first big break?
Well, I had a few small gigs before I even hit secondary school. But my first real dream job was my role on Grange Hill when I got the high school. It was weird, because Grange Hill was so big back in the day; I wasn’t used to people recognising me! It was a great gig and it really helped me with my career. Things really blew up for me when I got my role in Adulthood though.
What is next for you in terms of acting?
There is a lot going on this year. You will see me in a few films this year, one of them being Suicide Kids. Watch out for me and check my updates on Twitter. This is my art and it means so much to me. I wanna show my diversity and I want my name to stand for more than one character. Why can’t I play a serious character, such as a lawyer or a doctor, or even Superman if I want? Most roles I get are sort of ‘gangster’ or I get the ‘joker’ role. I can’t wait to get my hands on some more diverse roles.
We hear you have your own clothing store.
Yes, the store is in Chichester, where I went to university. In Chichester, there are no urban clothing stores, so we got some money together and got a lease for the store. We do not stock our own clothing yet, but as I am sponsored by a lot of brands, such as New Era and Boxfresh, so we stock a lot of their stuff. We also give a platform for other UK brands to sell their clothes. The store has an amazing location; it is something I am really proud of.
You also are a partner in the talent management company, ARG. It seems you are quite the multitasker…
Yeah, you could say that! ARG isn’t just music based; we have a sports player and DJ’s, as well as rappers. I really believe in fresh UK talent and I want to give people a platform to showcase all kinds of talents. It’s a good feeling man. I am doing a lot at the moment, but that is because in the music game, longevity is rare. You are only the ‘in thing’ for a certain amount of time. So I want to secure my legacy.
As a rapper, what is your advice for people trying to break the scene?
Musically, things have massively changed. Most people are independent now, you can do it all yourself, you know. The internet really is amazing. You can upload a video and start to build your own fan base. Even making a music video is so much easier these days. I would definitely recommend setting up a Twitter and a YouTube page. You can create your OWN buzz; you don’t need to wait for someone to do it for you. You can even release your own music independently on i tunes. Keep dropping your music, keep persisting and keep interacting with people to get your fan base growing. Trust me, you will start to gain a following.
What about any wannabe actors?
Acting is totally different! The difference with music and acting is that you cannot really do anything independently as an actor. You know, my friends tell me they wanna hop on the acting game, but it is not that easy! Some people I know have gone to drama school for years, but when they come out they can’t get an agent and they don’t work. It can depend on luck. There is no direct avenue for acting, but what I will say is you need A LOT of drive. You have to be prepared for doors to shut in your face, as that is what auditions are all about. You are not going to get every role, and you will hear the word ‘NO’ a lot. But you have to keep pushing doors and eventually a door will open and someone will say yes. If you can, go to drama school and keep working on perfecting your art.
You will get people saying stuff about your acting or your music. The bottom line is you just have to deal with it. That is life and not everyone is going to like you. But keep persisting and you will get to where you want to be, in the end.