Rex Orange County
Fresh from the release of his second album, Apricot Princess and contributions on Tyler the Creator’s new album, Rex Orange County is back with his new song, the vulnerable and honest Edition.
Edition is reminiscent of his previous two albums, with perhaps more focus on emotional depth. Singing over simple chords, in this 2-minute song, Rex speaks of a collapsing relationship, with the repetition of ‘’I’m only ever trying to help you, It’s only ever love in a hotel room’’. He proves that you don’t need complicated production or polished vocals to produce timeless authenticity. With this sweet melody and smooth runs Edition reminds the listener of intense first love, which is perhaps fitting considering he takes his name from early-2000s high school drama, ‘The OC’.
Rex Orange County, the 19-year-old London-based singer, real name Alex O’Connor, has been compared to Frank Ocean in the past, due to the often simple but intelligent nature of his songs, particularly with the Blonde vibes that Edition exudes. Rex even has Ocean’s seal of approval, after appearing in his live band at shows in Sweden and Finland this year.One interesting aspect of Rex’s music is his ability to combine pop, hip-hop, jazz, indie and spoken word, which give him his unique sound that has been successful so far. Listening to his music it’s hard not to be impressed by his real and often sombre lyrics. The grouping of these two talents is what makes Rex special, with Edition being no exception to this.
With two highly praised albums, sold out gigs and a brilliant and sobering new single just released, Rex Orange County is destined for great things.
ROOKLEY – Melatonin Interview
Rookley, a mysterious producer and urban street artist released his debut single ‘Melatonin’ on the 25th August which will be shortly followed by his upcoming EP ‘Weak or Absent Signals’ released in October. Rookley likes to keep his personal life separate from his music. Similar to Banksy, a fellow street artist, he feels like that would only distract people away from the art and prefers to remain fairly anonymous to allow his audience to dig a little deeper and find the true hidden meaning of his psychedelic house.
The track melatonin is a minimalistic, kaleidoscopic trance. It is a split between anxiety and celebration. Contrasting between calmness and chaos. It is the pleasure of being alone but also uniform deep in a rave on a dancefloor. The rhythm begins fairly tame and gradually increases in crescendo until its exacerbated into a burst of different colours, emotions and senses. Rookley describes himself as a “night kinda guy”; his creative process kicks off after midnight where everything is calmer and his focus is better. Melatonin is the result of these long nights staying up late writing.
His music is similar to that of Jamie XX, like the London born producer, Rookley creates sounds from a steel drums in his melody. He also finds he is inspired by the Italian stream of soundtracks from the sixties and seventies like Nino Roto. He told me that the common thread of this music was the “organic taste of the music and afro music” to which he grew up with and of course paired with his own creative twist spun on electronic music
I was lucky enough to have a chat with the man himself. Here’s what went down.
Q. How did you start making music?
Rookley: I started studying music pretty late when I was around 16, but I remember I discovered my true passion for music when I was about 6-7 years old. I used to watch movies-cartoons and everything that was in the house or TV just to record my favorite themes, using my father’s old portable recorder. Listening to it over and over and over again. After many years of guitar Academy, I moved to Bed-Stuy, Brooklyn and together with my background I started developing the interest in Electronic music, also thanks to my roommate which is a techno producer.
Q. What are you inspired by when it comes to music?
Rookley: I believe that behind a good story, there is a strong process even if sometimes it’s unconscious and I’m always looking for that. Talking about street art, if you think about Banksy, what I personally think is the best story, is the battle between him and King Robbo, which lasted for 10 years and it took place mostly under a bridge in Regent’s Canal, away from spotlights or museums. A fertile inspiration is the ordinary urban day life and it can be anything as long as it has catches me. I remember the feeling I had in those days was something about anxiety and the desire of writing something that could be listened and the way back from the Manhattan bridge but also on a dance floor.
Q. Tell me about your recording process, from original demo material to finished productions?
I work only with Ableton because it is fast and very creative. The sounds I choose mostly comes from my head it can be a guitar, synth, a cooking pan, a sample I download or an analog gear (when I’m lucky enough to borrow it) to some shitty rec I do with my phone and of course vinyls. I produce and mix everything on my Mac plugged in with a pair of headphones, running through an Apogee audio interface. Once I’m done, I book a studio (No Shoes Studio near Venice,Italy)and pack everything you hear together with the resident and owner of the studio, which besides being a great man, everybody calls him ‘Master’.. I’ll let you guess why.
Q.What are your plans for the future?
Rookley: My plans for the future are uncertain, I would like this to become my full-time occupation and so to maintain the promise I made to you. Maybe moving to Berlin could be a clever choice unless I go ahead with my American Visa and get allowed to stay for a longer period of time. One of the dreams of the little kid playing with the recorder was to write a score for a big movie and that hasn’t changed yet.
Q. Are you planning on doing any live shows this year?
Rookley: Yes, definitely I would love to do so but I guess it just depends on how this release will go but “Cada dìa cantaremos mejor lo que cantamos cada dia” so I guess if not now, it will be soon.
Gus Dapperton: Yellow and Such
Gus Dapperton, a 20-year-old from New York, is the new kid on the block having released a four track EP titled ‘Yellow and Such’. This dreamy pop masterpiece is rich with layered production and retro sounds and is definitely worth checking out.
My favourite track, and the most popular one from the EP is curiously named ‘I’m Just Snacking’. Dapperton told Vogue that it is his deep passion for film and world class cinema that inspires him when making music. This is most apparent in the music video ‘I’m just Snacking’ directed by Matthew Dillon Cohen; it’s a faultlessly composed and accurate visual portrayal of Dapperton’s music. The song to me feels like two lonely souls trying to make their relationship whole but instead resort to ‘snacking’. “I’m just a whore, boy, its only natural, Well I bet we’d look pretty outside.” he repeats in the chorus. In a world where so many relationships conclude as meaningless hook ups, its a naive admission from Dapperton. The ending is ambiguous; in the video Dapperton leaves alone, ironically ‘snacking’. Dapperton has confessed that he writes his lyrics to be vague and confusing so his audience can interpret them in any way they choose. Although the lyrics are specific to him they are metaphorical enough to allow room for imagination.
Dapperton; a quirky individual represents a new generation of welcoming individualism. His music compliments his attire, sporting a classic bowl cut, pearl earrings, a pink jumper and painted nails; he certainly doesn’t adhere to gendered fashion. His music is modern and captivating, its Daft Punk and Ariel Pink with melodies reminiscent of Stuart Murdoch.
Listen to the full EP below.
Princess Nokia: G.O.A.T
After releasing mixtape 1992 last year, Destiny Frasqueri more commonly known as Princess Nokia has released G.O.AT with Rough Trade records. This tracks adopts a completely new vocal style matching up to a more similarly with the likes of Nikki Minaj.
Nokia certainly doesn’t lack confidence as she proudly raps to a slightly ominous, unbroken trap beat. Not ashamed of her body Nokia confidently spits “I got no ass and I got no titties, but all of your dudes, they hit me to hit me”. In many of her songs feminist Nokia raps about body stereotypes and how its controlling the minds of women and girls to try achieve the unachievable which is ‘The perfect body’. At a Trans-Pecos gig she shouted to the audience “So like I say to all these patriarchal male dominated events all the motherfucking girls to fucking front”.
You see Nokia’s ever evolving style in each video, this time she pairs a simple white triangle bikini with blue denim ripped boyfriend jeans and a red letterman jacket with a McDonalds logo imprint. The visuals nicely show off her new style as she rides in a red three wheeled polaris slingshot around New York.
Give it a listen…