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The FADER Interview

The FADER Interview

Author: The FADER

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The FADER Interview is a new podcast series in which the world’s most exciting musicians talk with the staff of The FADER about their latest projects. We’ll hear from emerging pop artists on the verge of mainstream breakthroughs, underground rappers pushing boundaries, and icons from across the world who laid the foundations for today’s thriving scenes. Keep an eye out for new episodes every week.

12 Episodes
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Holly Herndon

Holly Herndon

2021-07-2128:08

Holly Herndon is an experimental composer based in Berlin, and her latest project isn’t an album, but something that has much deeper implications for music as a whole. It’s called Holly+, and it’s Herndon’s deepfake A.I. “digital twin.” Holly+ separates itself from other A.I. models in the complexity of sounds it’s able to work with and produce, as well as on a conceptual level. Holly+ will be overseen by a Decentralised Autonomous Organization, otherwise known as a DAO. It's a group of people selected by Herndon and Dryhurst that will officially license out Holly+ to approved artists, giving Herndon more control over her deepfaked likeness and what it's used to create. Herndon believes that technology like Holly+, if managed properly, can empower artists and give them control over their likeness in an era when frauds are only getting harder to spot.  One day after Holly+ went live, The FADER’s Jordan Darville spoke with Herndon about her intentions in creating the tool, the controversy surrounding NFTs, and who she hopes will give Holly+ a spin.
Charlotte Day Wilson

Charlotte Day Wilson

2021-07-1430:53

In her hometown of Toronto, a place with no shortage of game-changing R&B talents, Charlotte Day Wilson has been a singular creative force. A singer-songwriter who records and produces her own work with a tenacious yet flexible vision, Day Wilson’s solo career exploded in 2016 behind her moody debut EP CDW and its centerpiece single “Work,” a plaintive gospel-tinged ballad that became an unofficial anthem of the Women’s March. The Stone Woman EP followed in 2018, and saw Day Wilson take stock of herself, her relationships, and her place in the world with both range and unimpeachable, traditional soul vocals. Wilson’s debut album Alpha, released last week, is her most varied statement to date. Like Stone Woman, Alpha is inspired by a breakup, but the project reveals more about Day Wilson — as a person and a songwriter — than ever before. With collaborations with Daniel Caesar, BADBADNOTGOOD, and Syd of The Internet, Alpha is not so much an announcement of a prodigious new talent as a confirmation of one. Days after Alpha’s release, The FADER’s Jordan Darville spoke with Day Wilson about learning new skills, navigating the music industry on her own terms, and two very key, very different influences.
Shygirl

Shygirl

2021-07-0735:31

If anyone could make the case for releasing club music at a time in history when all the clubs are closed, it’s Shygirl. Back in November, the London artist dropped her biggest work to date, ALIAS, an EP that funneled her signature vulgarities through barreling beats and Bratz Doll-like avatars. Now, she’s emerging from lockdown as a cult icon, her lascivicious swagger dripping out of the rave and into the mainstream. Between the bloodcurdling scream from “UCKERS” going viral on TikTok, troves of memes parodying the stretched skin of the ALIAS cover art, a Burberry campaign, and a forthcoming Lady Gaga remix, it feels like Shygirl’s moment. On the heels of her new single with Slowthai, “BDE,” The FADER’s Salvatore Maicki caught up with Shy to discuss the aftermath of ALIAS, the challenges of filming her new short film BLU, and her many current textural fascinations.
Lucy Dacus

Lucy Dacus

2021-06-3030:50

Three years ago Lucy Dacus started playing a song called Thumbs at her concerts. It was spare  but weighty, a violent fantasy backed up by little more than a thin synth line. In the song Dacus fantasized about physically hurting a friend’s mostly absent father as revenge for the mental anguish he’d caused his daughter, singing: “I would kill him / If you let me.” Dacus’s devoted fans fell for the song, but she insisted that they leave their phones in their pockets while she played it, to keep the experience special and intimate. And remarkably, through two years of touring, they agreed. A Twitter page that asked every day whether or not Dacus had officially released the by-then almost mythical song was finally given cause for celebration this March, when the track appeared on streaming services. “Thumbs” is now the centerpiece of Home Video, a striking third album on which the Richmond, Virginia-raised singer-songwriter throws herself back into her past, reliving often uncomfortable moments from adolescence through college, telling personal stories with impressive clarity and compassion. And while the songs are as emotionally resonant as they were on her previous albums — 2016’s No Burden, 2018’s Historian, and the same year’s self-titled EP as boygenius with Phoebe Bridgers and Julien Baker — there’s also wit and levity on Home Video. Shortly before the album’s release, The FADER’s Alex Robert Ross called Dacus at home in Philadelphia, where she moved shortly before lockdowns swept across the States, to talk about the way her relationship to a song changes before it’s released, the challenges of writing autobiography, and her unlikely spiritual journey to Tarot.
Faye Webster

Faye Webster

2021-06-2327:43

In the two years since Faye Webster released her breakthrough third album Atlanta Millionaires Club on Secretly Canadian, the Atlanta musician, photographer, and yo-yo enthusiast fell in love, wrote a new album, and — with her chic, witty combinations of Americana, pop, and 70s R&B — became emblematic of a new kind of Gen Z hybrid music. This month, she releases I know I’m funny haha, a wittily-titled record that trades its predecessor’s tales of loneliness and heartbreak for songs about the trials and tribulations of long-term domesticity. Earlier this month, The FADER’s Shaad D’Souza called Webster to talk about finding inspiration in happiness, releasing a record on her birthday, and her favourite games.
Juan Wauters

Juan Wauters

2021-06-1628:22

Juan Wauters’s creative approach changed almost completely about four years ago. Until then he’d been a somewhat solitary artist, recording sweet-sounding, Beatles-indebted, mostly English-language pop music — first as a member of the New York City-based rock band The Beets, and then under his own name. But in 2017, seeking fresh inspiration, he packed his studio equipment into suitcases, left his home in Queens, New York, and went on a journey around Latin America. He recorded with local musicians as he snaked across Mexico, Peru, Chile, Argentina, and Uruguay, where he was born and had been brought up until his family left for Queens in 2002, when Wauters was 17. The resulting albums, La Onda de Juan Pablo and Introducing Juan Pablo, were brilliant departures: kaleidoscopic records that introduced a curious singer-songwriter finally ready to leap into the unknown. His new album, Real Life Situations, is another exercise in collaboration — Mac DeMarco, Peter Homeshake, Nick Hakim, Cola Boyy, and El David Aguilar all contribute — and it’s more diverse than anything he’s released before. Recorded either side of lockdown, the album reflects Wauters’s love for the radio, which he listens to almost constantly. Hip-hop, folk, R&B, and indie rock drift in and out of the mix, but Wauters remains present — sometimes so much so that he’ll directly address the listener in a spoken-word interlude. Around the album’s release The FADER's Alex Robert Ross called Wauters at his apartment in Montevideo, where he was working on another one of the jigsaw puzzles that have kept him going through quarantine, to talk about the importance of radio, the need for collaboration in lockdown, and the unconventional process behind Real Life Situations.
Over the past decade, Angel Olsen has built a career as a titan of indie rock, ascending from Chicago’s DIY scene to headliner status off the back of her spectral, increasingly rich folk songs. All throughout, her music has stayed true to a mantra she espoused in one of her earliest songs: “Know your own heart well / You could be surprised at what you find.” That mantra could just as easily be applied to the music of Sharon Van Etten, who, over the past decade, has risen from the Brooklyn DIY community to become one of her generation’s most respected songwriters and performers, as well as an actor in acclaimed projects like The OA and Never Rarely Sometimes Always. In 2019, both artists hit new creative and experimental peaks, Olsen with her cinematic All Mirrors and Van Etten with the post-punk influenced Remind Me Tomorrow, both produced by John Congleton and released on Jagjaguwar. This year, after leading seemingly twinned careers that never overlapped, they collaborated on “Like I Used To,” a Springsteen-style epic that, like their earliest music, espouses the value of knowing your own heart well. Earlier this week, The FADER’s Shaad D’Souza caught up with Olsen and Van Etten to discuss how they first connected, the fast-intersecting worlds of pop and indie, and the heartland rock power of “Like I Used To.”
Rostam

Rostam

2021-06-0228:14

Change has done Rostam Batmanglij plenty of good. Five years ago, while Vampire Weekend were working on what would become their fourth album, Father of the Bride, he left the group to pursue his own career. He traded east coast for west, building a home studio in Los Angeles, accumulating production credits for alt-pop titans like HAIM, Clairo, and Lykke Li, and releasing an album of his own, Half-Light, in 2017. In the process, he gradually untethered his own sound from the baroque rigidity of his classical training and drifted toward janglier pop. His second album, Changephobia, isn’t so much an arrival as it is an assertion of perpetual motion, a collection of road-bound vignettes that attest to the kind of world we can build if we embrace what we often fear the most. Last month, Batmanglij sat down with The FADER’s Salvatore Maicki to talk about the the techniques and conversations that shaped the album into his loosest and liveliest yet.
Flying Lotus

Flying Lotus

2021-05-2628:17

For the past 15 years Flying Lotus, a.k.a. Steven Ellison, has been at the forefront of groundbreaking electronic music. Blending beat tape atmospherics with cosmic jazz flourishes and experimental textures, his maximalist sound has strong connections to his home in Los Angeles, but always with a futuristic vibe. Across six studio albums he has pushed his distinctive style into new musical territories, bringing collaborators including Kendrick Lamar, Earl Sweatshirt, Mac Miller, Radiohead’s Thom Yorke, and the late MF Doom into his orbit. His independent mindset extends to his label, Brainfeeder, established in 2008, which has released albums by trailblazers like Thundercat, George Clinton, Hiatus Kaiyote, and Kamasi Washington, among many others. And in recent years FlyLo has moved further into visual arts, directing the blood-soaked 2017 horror movie Kuso and providing the score for the anime short Blade Runner Black Out 2022. He’s also behind the new Netflix anime series Yasuke, a medieval story about the first Black samurai in history, featuring the voice of Oscar-nominee LaKeith Stanfield. FlyLo scored the show, as well as writing the story alongside showrunner LeSean Thomas and working as an Executive Producer on the project. Just before Yasuke’s launch, The FADER’s David Renshaw spoke with FlyLo about adapting his sound to the screen, his deep love of anime, and how Stanfield came to be an honorary member of the Brainfeeder crew.
girl in red

girl in red

2021-05-1925:431

Marie Ulven, the 22-year-old singer-songwriter from Norway better known as girl in red, writes music that sounds as volatile, passionate, and dramatic as the final scene from a great romance film. Her early songs about queer identity — singles like 2017’s “we fell in love in october” and 2018’s “i wanna be your girlfriend” — amassed hundreds of millions of streams, and they turned  Ulven into a Gen-Z it-girl, with the phrase “do you listen to girl in red?” becoming code for young queer girls to ask other girls if they like girls. In April, girl in red released her debut album if i could make it go quiet. Ulven retains her diaristic lyricism on the album, refusing to sand down the rough edges of heartbreak or mental health struggles. At the same time, girl in red pushes into the future, maximizing each element of her sound, whether it’s blinding guitar pop bombast or tender, aching balladry. A few days before the release of the album, The FADER’s Jordan Darville caught up with Ulven to talk about how working on her mental health makes her a better songwriter, what she learned about love from creating if i could make it go quiet, and the music she’s been working on since.
Kero Kero Bonito

Kero Kero Bonito

2021-05-1228:17

It’s been almost a decade since Kero Kero Bonito — the trio of Sarah Midori Perry, Gus Lobban and Jamie Bulled — released their first single on Soundcloud. They picked up a cult following online in their early years, with fans locking into the band’s incisive and almost cartoonish proto-hyperpop vision. And since then they’ve built a large and committed fanbase while imagining new musical and thematic parameters — without veering from their core principles. Their latest EP Civilisation II (the sequel to 2019’s Civilisation I) pulls together ambitious dream pop, analog mythology, and urgent observations on humanity into three of their sharpest songs yet. Ahead of its release, The FADER’s Salvatore Maicki caught up with the band remotely to discuss how the project came together, the thrill of revisiting that early aesthetic to soundtrack the video game Bugsnax, and the challenges of realizing pop potential.
Porter Robinson

Porter Robinson

2021-05-0328:03

When Porter Robinson released his debut EP Spitfire on Skrillex’s label Owsla in 2011, he was heralded as a dubstep artist looking beyond the high-intensity trappings of the genre with a compositional skill that matched his ambitions. His debut album Worlds , released in 2014, fulfilled that promise. There was a strong sense of sci-fi fantasy lore to each of the songs, as if they were movie themes made in the furthest reaches of our solar system. It seemed like Porter Robinson knew exactly what he was doing and how to do it, which is why what came next was so surprising: he got stuck. Nearly seven years after releasing Worlds, Porter Robinson is back with his sophomore project Nurture. It’s a beautiful album, filled with little moments of joy and wonder, and it serves as an introduction to Porter Robinson the pop artist. Just before the album’s release, The FADER’s Jordan Darville spoke with Robinson about how he got himself on the road to Nurture by meeting his heroes in Japan, making the writing process a key part of the album’s sound, and how the global pandemic affected the record. Remember to like and subscribe to The FADER Interview wherever you listen to podcasts, and keep an eye on TheFADER.com for essential music news, interviews, and essays.
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