If you watched the BRIT Awards this week, you might have seen that Inflo was named ‘Producer of the Year’, although his award presentation wasn’t part of the televised ceremony. Furthermore, he was also name-checked by Adele in her acceptance speech, but who actually is Inflo?
33-year-old producer Dean Josiah Cover has been climbing up the rings of the musical ladder over the last decade, and The Kooks frontman Luke Pritchard is the person we have to thank for surprisingly unearthing his talent after stumbling upon his work on SoundCloud. Speaking to the Sound Of Boston in 2014, Pritchard commented: “Inflo? Yeah, he’s quite mysterious. I had written ‘Around Town’ and I thought maybe for the beat I might want to bring in someone from hip hop”.
Pritchard added: “It’s not really what I wanted to do, but the sound of it was so impressive…more than me, he thought it wouldn’t work because he’d never worked with a band before, he’s kind of like a young Quincy Jones. He’s very conceptual with production, very brave”.
Inflo’s work on that album revitalised The Kooks’ career, alerting others in the industry in the process. The producer then began a fruitful creative partnership with Michael Kiwanuka, who brought him into his camp to co-produce his second album, Love & Hate, with Danger Mouse and Paul Butler. Together, the two revived their partnership on the follow-up Kiwanuka, a project which ultimately won the Mercury Prize, and it was around 2019 when people truly began to wake up to his genius.
Riding the wave of success but still remaining under the radar, Inflo also began working with Little Simz that same year and was at the helm for her critically acclaimed third album, Grey Area. The two grew up together and first started working with one another when they were teenagers, but a full album didn’t materialise until years later.
Inflo was ahead of his time back in 2008 when they originally started bouncing ideas off each other, as Simz conceded: “All the music he was sending me then sounds like my album now – obviously, this is a more evolved version,” she said about her 2021 album Sometimes I Might Be Introvert.
In a world where artists and producers are constantly chasing clout on social media, Inflo is an anomaly. He’s never given an interview, and only a couple of pictures of him can be found online, which has established a modern-day enigma.
“I just think some people don’t like to be in the eye,” Simz told NME. “Some people just want to make their art in quiet and don’t want interviews or shoots, and that’s cool. Music means something different for everyone, so you just have to respect it. He still gives you [the chance] to hear his art and his name rings in that he’s been part of amazing projects”.
In 2010, the pseudonyms collective SAULT emerged with the albums 5 and 7, which they followed up the next year with Untitled (Black Is) and Untitled (Rise) to much critical acclaim. However, despite a Mercury nomination, nobody really knew who was behind the project, and to this day, it’s still unknown who makes up their full line-up.
Inflo is listed as the producer behind their projects and, seemingly, is the mastermind behind SAULT. Meanwhile, Laurette Josiah and Michael Kiwanuka are the only credited vocalists. Additionally, Cleo Sol and Kid Sister are named writers, but the significance of their role remains unknown.
Undoubtedly, the mystery surrounding SAULT has only made the group more alluring. Inflo’s reclusive image is refreshing in the social media age where we can’t breathe without seeing the latest update from our favourite artists. However, whether he’ll be able to stay private following his work on Adele’s 30 is another matter, and the album’s success is likely to parachute him into a new league of fame where there’s a microscope placed on everything he does.
Of course, it would be a crying shame if Inflo was to lose his anonymity, unearthing the true identity of SAULT in the process. Similarly to Banksy, there’s something bewitching about the mystery surrounding his art, and it sells itself without the producer needing to remove his mask of secrecy.