There are many artists that inspire my creativity but I would say my biggest influences at the moment are Mitski and Julien Baker. I resonate most with artists who write more poetically so those lovely women have been on repeat! I am also influenced by various books and poems but the one that stands out most is Dirty Pretty Things by Michael Faudet. The way he writes about life and love so casually yet still full of passion is how I aspire to be.
What genre would you describe your music as being?
I would describe my music genre as somewhere in between indie-alternative and bedroom pop.
What makes your music different from everyone else?
I wouldn’t necessarily say my music is different than everything out there currently but I do think all artists have their own perspective that can’t exactly be replicated. Everyone has their own voice when they create so rather than being different, per se, I just hope my music gives people a new perspective on something they might have related to!
What’s your songwriting process like?
My songwriting process is messy to say the least. I tend to always write down absolutely everything that comes to mind. I’m a Taurus so I avoid expressing all emotions until they’ve built up so much internally that I need to write as some sort of therapy. Once the word vomit is scribbled on the pages, I form it into a poem and go from there. My writing is very stream of consciousness so I will also spit out any lyrics that come to mind while playing some guitar chords and if it fits I’ll write it down and add it!
What impact or influences -if any- do you hope your music will have on others?
I want my music to make people feel, point-blank. There are so many artists who have had a massive impact on my life and all I could ever want is to be that for others.
What are your rehearsals generally like?
Rehearsals are generally me fingerpicking on guitar and yelling lyrics from my journals and iPhone notes to make new songs, doing covers and practicing what’s already complete. I am constantly making music so rehearsals are a part of my daily routine!
Photography by: Marisa Jones
Trying to put my thoughts into a picture is close to impossible. In fact, it is scary. Most of the time, it is hard to simply be aware of what is happening in my head, and visualize and creating pictures out of it. I trust in a piece of paper, because it carries, and it can ease my shoulders. But it’s black and white. It’s always black and white.
That’s why I admire painters. I mean look at Monet’s sunsets and Van Gogh’s nights. Or Gustav Klimt’s Kiss painting and Edvard Munch’s Scream. A painting is a poem without words. I always wonder what made them choose the exact colours. How long did Van Gogh spend on mixing the right shade for his stars?
It’s the same with classical music. The only time I visualize things is while listening to instruments. Chopin and Mozart preferably, but I never turn down to Bach or Beethoven. Each song is it’s own significantly portrayed scenery. It is it’s own artwork.
The intensity and depth of Mozart’s symphonies make you experience dazzling waves of extraordinary feelings you have never felt before. It’s like a touch of a hand except it touches your heart and it lingers. It lingers till when the song is over and you open your eyes.
Everybody has an instrument that evokes that special feeling. For me, it is a piano and it will never change. That’s why I feel like Chopin is my 209 year old talented friend. Sometimes I wish I could call him after listening to his sonatas. His tender, sometimes heavy piano melodies create a whole range of color shadings that no one before him had imagined were there. I mean, how could they? Have you ever heard so many shades of blue? It’s sort of a melancholy, but not quite. Chopin said it himself. It should give the impression of gazing tenderly at a place which brings to the mind a thousand of dear memories. It is a very personal feeling, but you should not feel sad. Just captured in the right moment with the right instrument.
They did not need words to describe. And that’s the beauty in that.
Find some art and admire it. Cry upon hearing beautiful music. Stare at a painting for hours. I do. It is time worth spending. And just like Maya Angelou said - what makes it worth is realizing that it was created by human beings just like you, no more human, no less.
On “FABRIC”, the final track off of Iridescence, Kevin Abstract raps “What about three CD’s in one year with no label? / Then we signed and our story turned into a fucking fable”. The latter half of 2017 saw “America’s Favorite Boyband” BROCKHAMPTON release the Saturation trilogy, a group of albums that demonstrated what the boyband is really capable of, as well as the fact that they were an act that won’t be gone anytime soon. The genres that they explore widely range and they execute them well, while still staying true to their hip-hop form. Each member of the collective has a unique and different contribution that all harmoniously works together. After the release of the triumphant Saturation trilogy, BROCKHAMPTON scored a fifteen-million-dollar label deal with RCA Records. Although things were looking up for the collective, controversy struck the group when Ameer Vann, a key figure in the group, was accused of sexual misconduct. This ultimately led to him being kicked out and their follow-up album Puppy being delayed. After a set of singles and an appearance on the Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon, BROCKHAMPTON finally released “iridescence”, the first album off their new trilogy.
The album kicks off with the track “NEW ORLEANS”, an eclectic introduction that showcases the experimental nature of the production on the album. Throughout Iridescence, the sounds that the collective creates sound mechanical and industrial. The aforementioned track has a synth lead that buzzes throughout the whole song with moments of a distorted bass that punches through the mix. “J’OUVERT”, a song that BROCKHAMPTON hasn’t made that’s this aggressive since “HEAT”, sounds like it was made in a robotic hell that fills the listener with a sense of paranoia. “WHERE THE CASH AT” has Merlyn Wood and Matt Champion rapping over a warped instrumental that is greeted throughout with high pitched ringing and at some points, a camera shutter. These three tracks are all successful experiments done by the band, but that isn’t the case for all the songs. “DISTRICT” assaults the listeners with a lead that makes it difficult to understand the vocals due to the hectic mixing. Although there are some downsides to the experimentation, the majority of it still succeeds. There are still tracks that appear on the album that don’t play around with these elements of industrial sounds as much but are still experimental in nature. “SOMETHING ABOUT HIM” has Kevin Abstract singing with pitched shifted vocals, a production technique that BROCKHAMPTON uses quite a bit throughout their albums with different members, over a guitar that’s drenched in chorus. “SAN MARCOS” has the use of both electric and acoustic guitar but towards end of the track, the song erupts into a moving ballad with acoustic drums and a choir also in the mix. The opening track transitions into “THUG LIFE”, with the drum track of “NEW ORLEANS” continuing on. It contrasts to the opener heavily, as the continuation leads from the intense beat of “NEW ORLEANS” to a beautiful piano melody with Bearface harmonizing over the same choir that appears throughout the album.
Iridescence also displays BROCKHAMPTON at their most introspective and mature. Unlike their previous albums, they’ve dropped the more “pop-y” tracks that the Saturation trilogy homed in for more of an introspective and mature sound. Sure, some songs on “iridescence”, like “HONEY” or “BERLIN”, are fun songs to listen to with friends in the car and have its “pop-y” elements, but the idea of the album is much more serious than their previous efforts. The album’s lyrical content displays the band’s struggles after their massive growth in the last year, how they’ve handled their success and the aftermath of kicking out one of their founding members. Although not really mentioning the removal of Ameer Vann, the group’s sound after the Saturation trilogy has changed drastically, displaying a shift in moods between the different projects. “WEIGHT” has Kevin rapping about his struggles with family and friends, as well as coming to terms with his sexuality at a younger age. The song is a heartbreaking testament that demonstrates how not only as a musician he has grown but also as a person. This growth can be seen in the previously mentioned track “SOMETHING ABOUT HIM”, where Kevin sings about his boyfriend Jaden Walker and uses his music as a platform to profess his love to him. It seems as though the music is a way for Kevin to release his true self. Joba takes the spotlight on a lot of the tracks in Iridescence and utilizes different flows to evoke various emotions in many of his verse. His verse in “J’OUVERT” is the most memorable moment on the album due to its sheer ferocity. This displays Joba in a raw and vicious state as he describes the amount of doubt that he receives from not only others but to himself and the fakeness of the people around him. As the song progresses, his aggression increases until his verse ends with an amazingly placed sample cut. The very introspective “TONYA” has the group remembering moments before their fame and acclaim, as well as their thoughts after achieving these. Merlyn raps about his parents’ lack of support for his aspirations of rapping and Kevin longs to “trade fame any day / For a quiet Texas place and a barbecue plate”. The group has a feeling of uncertainty and it seems that they are unsure of what this fame truly has changed for them.
Although there are some downsides to the experimentation on the album, Iridescence is a fresh sound for BROCKHAMPTON. They aren’t going too far out of their boundaries and they’re perfectly balancing what was great about previous releases, as well as trying out some new ideas. This is the most introspective and serious project they’ve done and one of their bests for sure. Iridescence is a very promising start to the new trilogy from “America’s Favorite Boyband”.
Memorable Tracks: SOMETHING ABOUT HIM, WHERE THE CASH AT, J’OUVERT, TONYA