the vice interview

The VICE Interview: Naughty Boy

The Beyonce and Popcaan producer on being born in the wrong decade and a caviar-eating cat called Barry.

by Natalie Hughes
02 January 2017, 9:52pm

Ben Parks

This is the VICE Interview. Each week we ask a different famous and/or interesting person the same set of questions in a bid to peek deep into his or her psyche.

Naughty Boy's West London studio is one of the most hospitable places I've ever visited. I'm greeted with a hug, not only from the producer, but also his exotic shorthair cat, Barry, and presented with a chocolate cake in a box.

Naughty—real name, Shahid Khan—is in a great mood, having recently released "Should've Been Me" featuring Kyla and Popcaan, the latest single from his debut album, Hotel Cabana, which also stars Beyonce and Wiz Khalifa. Once we've got the introductions out of the way we sit down to talk about last meals about numerology.

VICE: When was the last time you said no to something relating to your career?

Naughty Boy: I said no to I'm a Celebrity, Get Me Out of Here.

What is the nicest thing you own?
Barry. Barry's my cat, and I can't even say I own him – he probably owns me. He's from Latvia. He shouldn't have made it to West Ealing, but he did, and he's gone against all odds. Barry doesn't know about the outside world because he's an indoor cat. He's been shielded from a cruel world. He has caviar for breakfast. He goes to Chelsea Pet Spa for a blueberry facial every month. Maybe he doesn't see life like other cats.

Would you rather change one day from your past or see one day from your future?
I'd rather see one day from my future. I'm pretty at zen with my past.

What would your specialist subject on Mastermind be?
Numerology. That's one thing that people don't assume I'm into, but I'm very into numbers, and spiritual numbers.

Would you like to experience death if it could be guaranteed you could be brought back to life?
No. I'd only want to experience that once, and hopefully the afterlife is something to be anticipated, not to be afraid of.

If you could live in any time, which one would you pick?
The 70s. Always. I think I would have just thrived in the 70s. Because firstly, there'd be no internet and you'd have to actually get to know people. I think the music business would have been sick in the 70s. It would have been all free-thinking. Weed was coming in, there were no hard drugs about. It was all chill.

What was your first email address?
It was menoteazy@hotmail.com. Come on, that's a sick one, isn't it? No one knows this; I was actually going to call myself Me Not Eazy before Naughty Boy.

What would your parents prefer you to have chosen as a career?
Probably something more stable than the music business. I don't know—I think they always knew I was a bit imaginative, so they knew I was going to have to use my imagination. Now, obviously they wouldn't change a thing. I think if I was a postman I'd be quite respected in my community. The postman is always respected.

What conspiracy theory do you believe?
I feel like some of the news we watch on TV is conspiracy theories. What if Fox News is a conspiracy theory? What if what we are actually being told in the news is the conspiracy. There's so much out there that we're being fed that we just believe, so why are we so afraid to believe in a conspiracy theory? You have to question everything. Look at the back of this jacket [points to the jacket on the back of his chair, emblazoned with the phrase "Question Everything"].

Do drugs make you happy?
No. I don't think drugs should make anyone happy. I think weed makes me happy. I think there's a reason why they call it a high. No one's ever killed anyone off weed. I just think it's only a matter of time before it's legalised. I think we're getting to that place. There's some really good weed right now, and everyone needs to know about it.

If you were a wrestler, what song would you come into the ring to?
"Last Christmas" by George Michael, 'cause it'd put off the opponent. It wouldn't be Christmas, firstly. Then he'd think, 'What is this guy doing?' I'd start to put the fear in him through that.

What's the latest you've stayed up?
Three days. That was a combination of work and play. It wasn't just, like, straight play.

What memory from school stands out to you stronger than any other?
Behind the shops where all the cool kids used to smoke. I went from being a spectator to being in there, and it's not actually worth it—it just looks good from the outside.

What would be your last meal?
I think if it was going to be my last meal I'd want it to be good for my body because I'd want to…feel a bit purer going to the next place. Maybe like some hummus and falafel. And tabbouleh. I wouldn't have meat as my last meal—no way. A murder before I'm going, no.

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