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BOTW Interview: Blood Orange

It was another across the pond phone call for us when we decided to catch up with BOTW, Blood Orange man, Dev Hynes. As we chatted away about name changes, schedules, and the difference between New York and London, I could hear the bustling activity of New York coupled with the always vibrate east London street noise. See what we were still able to hear from each other in the interview below!

Planet Notion: Why did you decide on the name change now?
Blood Orange: Mainly to avoid connotations , now a-days people can’t really enjoy music. Under the Lightspeed name people would say things like, ‘the new album is weird’, which is kind silly.

PN: How has working on the production side of music influenced your own?
BO: I never used to really care about that stuff. I’ve never been put in charge by other people. Now I have taken on some importance. It has defiantly influenced how I write in some ways.

PN: You seem to constantly be doing about 15 different things at one time, Do you thrive best when you’re very busy?
BO: It’s really just like, it’s just an average kind of day. I just work on music when I can and do other stuff when I’m not doing music. I definitely have zero schedule.

PN: I read Blood Orange was the original name for Lightspeed, what about this album made you finally decide to use the name?
BO: I have so many names that I’m ready to use. I just wait til I need one and I randomly pull them out. It had no name for a long time. It wasn’t going to be released, it was for myself and to give my friends and I got coaxed to putting it out. The album has existed since early 2009. Then in early in 2010, no I guess just after Christmas 2009. I was working on other stuff, at the same time I was re-doing stuff for the album. I’m not into putting things out that are lo-fi just for the sake of it.

PN: The album has a very 80s R&B esque feel, was that the music that you were listening to at the time? Is it a genre you’ve wanted to explore for awhile?
BO: It really just kind of happened, I’m kind mainly just into in hip-hop. There are albums that are my favourite, I’ve always kind of listened to. I’m more just working my way through stuff. I have plenty different types of music that I want to create. But you can’t really do all these things at the exact same time. That’s usually what I’m doing, but you can’t really present that to a label. When I was doing this album I was working on the Solgene album. I can see how it could come across, I think people who don’t know me , think one day I’ll be working on this, and the next day…

PN: I’ve noticed that Lightspeed which was more Americana it was more tortured love, while the R&B which has always been a more abrasive genre the song are stronger. Did the lyrics come first or the genre you were working with?
BO: I think it’s more just kind of where in my head ended up going. I got very insular and kind of, me against the world in some ways. It kind of just happened really.

PN: The album was influenced by you walking around late at night- NYC has a very specific landscape, how different do you think the album would have sound had you stayed in London?
BO: Yeah it probably would. I was really writing to match the environment. It was intentional because it was just for my ears. I was really just writing to please myself. I’d think about different cinematic views of New York. I think if I did it in London I wouldn’t have released it. I went back to London a couple months ago and I guess people had heard about Blood Orange and every single person I met was like, so what are you doing with this Blood Orange? In New York no one asked that.

PN: Do you feel more pressure when you’re in London to make music than when you’re in New York?
BO: If you do put out music people judge and scrutinize it so much. It’s like a sport. I’m sure there are some people who are like that here[New York]. I think a good part of why it doesn’t happen is that it’s[USA] a much bigger country. Major labels are still kind of segregated, but like a band that is probably really popular in England over here they’ll be the same level of popularity, but over here their going up against Lady Gaga, so they’re levelled. There’s no sense of the English press- ‘This band is here this
week-so by default they’re the biggest band in the world.’

PN: What’s next for Blood Orange?
BO: I think I’m gonna do some dates in October in America, but I just started working on another album. I want to put out another album really soon. The album will be Blood Orange, I’m pretty sure. At the moment I can’t say for sure, but I think it’ll be Blood Orange.

For more on Blood Orange you can look here.

-Stevie Pearce

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