The Estonian rap provocateur talks new EP 'Moneysutra', NFTs and why hyperpop is his "sidekick".
Rapper, visual artist, designer, long shoe connoisseur, there’s no telling what Tommy Cash will do next, nor where he will flex his tremendous creative vision. First breaking through in 2016 with the bizarre video for “Winaloto” which saw his face superimposed onto someone’s vulva, in his home-country of Estonia he was already a noted freestyle dancer and mainstay of the alternative creative scene. Since then, he’s brought his singular sound to a global audience, as well as releasing album ¥€$ — giving the world the happy hardcore revival anthem “X Ray” — and teaming up with Rick Owens. Now with over 850,000 Instagram followers and friends in Charli XCX and AG Cook, he’s at the top of his game.
To celebrate a fresh batch of fashion collabs — the world’s longest shoe with Adidas and a range of bread-patterned loafers and luxury ramen with Margiela — and Tommy’s latest EP, Moneysutra, we caught up with the rapper over Zoom in Tallin to talk hyperpop, NFTs and the perils of crowd-surfing.
Good to meet you! So what have you been listening to recently?
I have everything. I have Nico, I have some Solange, some Lana Del Rey. The range is so wide. Of course, Daft Punk, I was so sad that they broke up. It can be Lil B, it can be Soulja Boy. It depends on the day.
I think we need a Soulja Boy come back. Do you have any thoughts on NFTs?
Google keeps fucking throwing all the NFT news at me. It’s a big thing and it’s an exciting thing. It’s giving opportunities to artists that maybe haven’t gotten their shine or their piece of the pie in a normal, physical world. This NFT thing just feels a little bit rushed [right now] or like there’s too much.
Like NFTs, hyperpop is something which really seems to have taken over since the beginning of the pandemic. You’re a name that’s become associated with the genre — what are your thoughts on that?
Hyperpop is kind of my sidekick. I love a lot of people who are in it, like Charli [XCX] is my dear friend. [And so is] AG Cook, who’s probably one of the dads of the hyperpop scene. I’ve worked with those people but I feel more from another universe.
Let’s talk about how long have you been working on the EP?
Funny story, it should have come out like a year ago but because of all the pandemic stuff and having so many superstars on it, my lawyers’ had a field day with chasing all the contracts down and finishing up everything. But I mean everything happens for a reason.
That’s a good way of looking at it. Have you been able to keep creative during the pandemic?
Of course, I just released my long shoe with Adidas and came out with my Margiela collaboration, we have some luxury ramen noodles and bread loafers. I’ve been very creative, since there’s not been many gigs around the world recently it’s actually been a great chance for me to concentrate on big, hard ideas.
You’ve got a lot of amazing collaborators on the new EP like Diplo and $uicideboy$. What drew you to this collaborative approach?
I love to collide worlds, like a crossover episode of a tv show. I think it makes that thing so much wider and deeper. It’s beautiful, I love to play with it. As a fan of stuff in general [I’m] amazed by people doing collaborations that I didn’t know could be possible.
As a fan of stuff, what’s the weirdest thing you own?
Some guy, a gallery owner, gifted me a safe for my birthday. I have the safe in my dressing room, on the floor. That’s pretty weird.
You mentioned your collaborations with Margiela and Adidas, and you’ve also worked with Rick Owens. How do you feel about being so embraced by the fashion world?
It’s weird actually. As a celebration [of the Margiela collab] I went to McDonald’s and was eating my cheeseburger and my friend Bella that works with me said; “You know, I don’t know anyone else who’s worked with [both] Rick [Owens] and Margiela.”
I can’t think go anyone else either, it’s a big achievement. What’s your McDonald’s order?
A triple cheeseburger. I just ask them to take the double cheeseburger and the normal one and put them together. It’s a cheeseburger but on steroids, right?
So world’s longest Adidas shoe, world’s tallest cheeseburger?
Yes. I love the classics but I love for them to be a little bit weird.
I love that! So what’s your lockdown style been like?
Right now, I’m wearing Adidas tracksuits but you know the old ones from the 80s and big Margiela shirts, so it’s been kind of loosey goosey. But I have a lot of new clothes sent to me from brands like Telfar. I have a very nice car and if you have a very nice car, it kind of makes you dress [up] a little bit. Even if you’re kind of in sweatpants mode. I also wear this big lumberjack Balenciaga jacket.
When you can tour again, where are you most excited to go?
Everywhere. We have a world tour at the beginning of 2022 so I can’t wait to go everywhere and to finally have my first real USA tour, because that shit was cancelled and postponed [due to the pandemic] like a week before we had to go. Can you imagine? We had tickets and everything booked, all the hotels, everything and a week before it all went down, the borders were closed. I can’t wait to visit all my fans.
Have you ever crowd-surfed before?
Of course. It’s risky. I’ve had some very, very painful nut grabs from girls. Now I’m afraid of losing my pants or something like that. I’ve done some crazy shit and I still do it but I just need to be really in the mood to go in.
How do you get that energy to be crazy on stage?
I think it’s adrenaline. I think it’s passion. I have this Slavic blood inside of me, we’re very passionate people. That’s where all the rage comes from on the stage. Touring is a hell of a lot of work. You’re moving from City A to City B, you’re dead from the after party. You’re fucked up but as the game starts, you know you get your energy back and there’s all this adrenaline from the thousands of people.
‘Moneysutra’ is out now, listen here.
8 April 2021