Parenthood, sobriety and music

By Dylan Robinson

Share: Share:

Having sailed his galleon through choppy waters to find gentler ones, Mylo Stone has dropped his fourth full-length album ‘Pirate King’; as he navigates parenthood and sobriety he realises how they and music may just have saved his life and transformed him from pillager to Pirate King. Growing up in Plymouth in the 80s wasn’t exactly inspiring; council estates, the beach and the odd royal opening didn’t offer much for a kid, but it did tie, or maybe anchor, Stone to the sea and form a love for what used to take place on them. “Anyone that knows me knows I’d always put on Pirate movies at people afters like I’m obsessed, I’ve done all the walks and that,” says Stone as he reflects on his early days and from where the album name stems. “I wasn’t always an old dad, and we were moving pretty pirate-y, you know, pillaging and plundering, so yeah, it’s a culmination of all those things, really. We were kids making up superhero names for ourselves, you know.”

That might seem a lifetime ago for our 40-something emcee, who not long after left Plymouth for the bustling Bristolian path of drug abuse, free raves and addiction. “I was active in the Bristol scene when the Split Prophet lads blew up, but I went raving for like ten years and rap just got less and less.” It’s well documented both online and in his bars Stones’ drug… affiliation. “I was in Bristol hip-hop, which is the Sin City of the UK; people come get waved, get a drug problem and have to move out of Bristol.”

It wasn’t till the birth of his daughter, Inca, that the routine started to change. As any new parent knows, all the time you once had perishes; in the initial years, it doesn’t matter who you are, it’s all hands on deck and life, or any other interests, take a comfy seat on the back burner. “I had a big five year period where it was just me and my daughter and I didn’t have music any more, it completely left my life”. Perhaps one led to another, but this resulted in Stone getting sober, which he has now been for two years, and this is when music returned. “Sobriety gave me everything, man. My creative side came back, and I wanted to be a rapper again. It’s funny cause I’ve come back to it at an older age but I’m hungrier than ever and I think I’m the goat again. It’s so important to me now, it’s kinda saved my life and given me that purpose.” So when Stone finally found himself some time to be creative, well, just check how many singles he’s dropped since 2022; the now self-proclaimed “technician of time”, Stone’s approach post sobriety completely changed. “When she started school I had all this time and I’m a technician of time, almost autistic with it. I’m militant with it, and where my attention goes cause it has to go to my daughter, I have to be present for her, and then, as a Care Worker, I have to be present there. So when it comes to music everything else disappears.” He nulls over life pre-Inca and how much his mindset has changed as a result of parenthood, sobriety and this newfound energy. “It used to be, before my daughter, I’d get up and I’d have to shoot a video and that’d be the only thing I do that day. Now I have a million hats, and my time is finite.” He chuckles, “It’s given me this superpower of dialling into stuff.”

Photo by Lola

As an old head in an increasingly youthful scene, Stone’s prowess comes from his experience which has ultimately formed a maturity and a gentleness, something he wants to come across in his new music. “Before recently it’d always been my tales of being a raggo lunatic. I want to tread the line between like obviously my old raggo-ness, but coming from an adult and in an uplifting way that promotes gentleness.” Whether it’s the responsibility of being a parent, the effects of DMT and mushrooms or just a softening in age, Stone has turned from ego to love. “This is another side I wanted to get across, you can listen to my bars and you know I’ve done some drugs and got into some fights, but I’m 45, a care worker and a dad.” UK hip-hop, especially underground rap, has a stigma of negativity and discontent towards things without offering many alternatives, whereas Stone is taking his music in a new direction. He believes it couldn’t have come at a better time as the scene in Bristol is also evolving. “It’s all changed with us growing up and my sobriety collided with a few others; we have a studio, go there early, have a coffee, get the job done- just a lot more professional. It’s been a beautiful experience the last couple of years.” Having the right people around you is always going to help and Stone is thankful for his friends who make up pretty much all the features on the album. From multiple legendary producers’ input, to getting rare praise from Bil Next, the Bristol crew keep the creativity tip-top. “They’re selective in their praise which means they fucking mean it when they say I’ve smashed it, but also will say if something is shit and that competitive edge is a good thing for us… I like to keep it in house cause why would I not, my house is the best”.

He takes keeping it in-house to the next level with the inclusion of his daughter Inca who herself has a verse on the project and not a bad one at that. “Her self-esteem was a bit low so we did a rap about being proud and all that which I helped her with and that’s one track that makes me cry.” Inca didn’t have much choice in her vast exposure to music and Bristol culture, but I am sure it’s something she will only appreciate later in life. “I think children should have these opportunities, like she might want to be a mathematician or something, but she should have the gift of music cause I love it and it saved my life you know.” Mylo’s childhood was a little different. “My peers were football hooligans and the rave scene was huge, but there was nothing there. So when I kinda infiltrated the Bristol scene and found my own niche, along with Inca’s Mum, we wanted her to have all this exposure to different cultures.” She’s certainly got the Bristol flow on the mic and it’s no surprise. At the age of seven, she has seen more live shows than some adults, from St Paul’s Carnival to Split Prophet shows and studio time with her Dad. Inca has had her fair share of music exposure. “She’s a bit of a monster now though like asking me how many streams she has and that, it’s kinda funny.” Such is the way with fame, get a taste and never look back… for life’s natural performers maybe.

It’s been a musical pilgrimage for our Pirate King. Whether he owes music his life or whether his life saved his music, Mylo Stone has never been in a better position to write, record and release, and boy, are we grateful. He can now look forward to playing this project live with a fair few tours and bits in the early stages of ‘the works’. “Show wise, me and a few guys are going to Prague at the start of June, then there’s a UK tour, but nothing is finalised yet. That’s going to be special for me as my first proper UK tour… Think we’ve got Balter Festival with all the crew next week, which should be fun, I might have to get in and out before I even think.” That’s no mean feat, but with an ever-growing hat collection, such is the priorities and sacrifices that must be made. It might’ve felt at one point he was walking the plank of addiction or sailing into an unavoidable iceberg, but this ship has been commandeered, not by looters, but by parenthood, sobriety and a shared desire to create.

Follow Mylo Stone

Cover photo by Chris Lucas