An acoustic guitar and pangs of nostalgia are all Hak Baker needs for a street anthem. Not the kind he once made, though. Something new. The East London poet has traded in his title of grime emcee and accompanying 140 BPM production for the raw vocals and soulful folk-laden melodies that assist in telling his stories of the ends and the memories made alongside his band of anti-protagonist misfits.

His hymns of an outcast vividly recall blurry beer-drenched benders and police chases though Hak's authentic blend of English folk. But while distinctly steeped in the sonics of East London rebel culture, his unwavering wayward voice has grasped the ears of fans across borders. Without anticipating the climb, Hak has been tapped as one of the most promising rising songwriters and his latest Misfits EP has only furthered that.

What constitutes a misfit and what makes you one?

Someone that doesn’t fit into a specific criteria, really. Someone that’s not in a box and doesn’t want to be in a box. We’re just lads that never really cared what other people thought and just did what we wanted really and that’s what we’re going to keep doing.

The project is super conceptual but each story seems to be coming from its own place. Where and how did you begin to write these stories?

You know what, when I write a song, I just write about what I’m thinking about that day, to be fair. I think that for me and a few of the boys, we’re a bit obsessed with how much fun we were having back in the day and how lawless it was. I think we’re obsessed with getting that feeling back. We talk about it, we drink beers about it, we get upset about it, we fall out about it. So, I think that it’s something that is so subconsciously in my brain. So, whenever I sit down and create a guitar riff, I think about how it makes me feel. Does it make me feel like that or sad or mad or rebellious. I automatically just start writing about it and that’s how it happens. I write about this reminiscent thing in the back of my mind and I think that’s just what it comes down to. All the time.

Thinking back on those glory times, and using it to create the music you’re putting out now, have you been able to recreate and relive it through the music's success?

You know what, I’m thinking that by you just saying that, maybe that’s what is going on. Some of my mates have been down with me the whole time. Some of us, we’re still really close and we just don’t get to see each other as much. But some of the ones that I’m still closest to from back in the day to now, we feel like things are getting out of control again. Like, things are getting wild again. I’m catching memories and new people and old friends. For better or worse, it’s gotten a bit wild again so I think it ignited some old school religion. It’s a dangerous time. But it’s fun.

That definitely comes with success. And it’s obvious your stories come from such a personal place in terms of content and sonically. What place do you feel like you’re occupying right now, especially in the UK that has made your music so relatable that's lead to this success?

I think it’s an unspoken story. I call it lad religion or Ladism, because these young lads like to smash back beer and go crazy. But, those stories are never told. It’s usually the generic stories about love or ballads. And because it’s honest, I think that’s what people are picking up on. And it might allow them to be more honest with themselves. They invoke huge feelings and not just in England but worldwide. I wrote them tunes like in therapy for myself. Naturally. I didn’t know that other people were going to feel them other than my mates. But they’ll always tell you you’re doing alright, but then again, my mates wouldn’t let me waste my time. But they were all giving me a lot of power, telling me that I need to do this. So I thought, you know what, at least for them, I’m going to give it a go. It’s kind of cool that other people enjoy it also.

What’s been the most fulfilling part of putting this out with your gang?

For me, it’s just knowing that I can do this. We knew you could do what you want but out of all of my friends, I’m the first one to really put it in action. Slowly but surely, I feel like it’s going to be a domino effect with my friends and whoever else we can pass it along to. Hopefully, that can happen. But for myself, just realizing that it’s even possible has given me the confidence boost that I’ve been missing for a long time. But there’s so much more.

What is your definition of a perfect song?

One that definitely invokes some sort of emotion. Instrumentation for me is a big thing. You have to be able to feel it beyond words, as well. And then, obviously wordplay. The most important thing is invoking a feeling.

Another thing you’re great with invoking feeling through is your videos. Tell me about your vision of turning these songs into movies.

The key is to not overthink them, for me. The initial ideas don’t just come from nowhere. Take a hold of it man and give people you. What’s the point of singing tunes and not telling truths. You have to give people you. My mates are always telling me I need to be in the videos. Like, you’re telling these stories about you and people want to know who you are. So I don’t overthink it and just try and give true insight.

I guess the most important and on brand question for you is, how will you be celebrating the release of the new EP?

We’re gonna go smash some cans somewhere. These pals that I do it with, we’ll do it large and we’ll drink to it for an extended period time. We’ll do what we usually do – drink beers and laugh.

Hak Baker is going on tour in UK & Northern Ireland in early 2018. Find tickets here. Misfts EP is available to stream here.