In this edition of ON REPEAT, we keep up with the world of Phoebe Bridgers, chat to Becky Hill about her vision and introduce a completely new section, ARTIST OF THE WEEK. Fleur Colson found out about Adrian Ström and how he discovers the world through his music.
1) Phoebe Bridgers announces new record label Saddest Factory Records
Bridgers announced her new record label in partnership with her current label Dead Oceans. Musician Claud has been signed as the very first act. The label is set to showcase artists across the music spectrum, "the vision of the label is simple: good songs, regardless of genre," she said in a statement.
2) David Byrne and Spike Lee's American Utopia is available on BFI Player and HBO
David Byrne's show American Utopia, filmed by Spike Lee, is available to screen on the London Film Festival's virtual platform and HBO. Byrne performs his album by the same name with 11 musicians and narrates a few anecdotes while playing the numbers theatrically.
3) London’s Lexington receives only 40% of funding they applied for
The Cultural Recovery Fund announced on the 12th of October let down many local music venues including The Lexington. In a Facebook post, the venue revealed they only received 40% of the total funding they applied for. They wrote, “from our perspective the recovery of the venue and the long-term survival of our staff and freelancers are still in serious peril."
ARTIST OF THE WEEK - Adrian Ström
Adrian Ström’s laid-back and uplifting style is exactly what we all need right now, to escape from our everyday life of Zoom calls and isolation. A passionate world traveller, his melodies are inspired by his innumerable trips and capture the atmosphere of each place he goes to in a beautiful and truly authentic way. His music videos are filmed while he backpacks around the globe, in incredible locations including Laos, Sweden or even Iceland. Adventurous even when it comes to the actual making of his songs, he isn’t afraid to experiment with a variety of different musical techniques, like putting famous movie lines or historical speeches over his melodies, for example. If you listen to “Pensée sur l’amour”, you should be able to recognise Noah and Allie from the Notebook fighting, and in “Blue and Yellow” Martin Luther Kings Jr’s voice saying his “I have a dream speech”. Even though each song seems to be inspired by different experiences, there still seems to be a certain coherence in all of them- it is music that makes you feel like you are travelling along with him, living, moving, wandering, discovering. So go give him a listen!
Personal favourites: Pensée sur l'amour, Change the world, Freedom in the middle of nowhere instrumental, Somewhere inside
For this IN DEPTH feature, Emma Short spoke to Becky Hill about her vision for the future. Afterglow with Wilkinson, Piece of Me with MK, Nothing Really Matters with Tiësto, Lose Control with Meduza and several tracks with Sigala… Becky has featured on the seminal dance tracks of the decade. But the release of her new single Space marks a new direction. By breaking free of collaborations, Becky is finally showcasing her unique style to the world.
How have your many collaborations shaped you as an artist?
I’ve always loved dance music, but never saw it being part of my career. It wasn’t until I was offered these collaborations that I turned around and thought, I love dance music and I should be doing this for my own artistry. What is great about Space is the way it bridges dance music and pop music, which I always saw myself going into. I’m venturing into a new genre and it shows a different aside to me, especially ahead of the new album.
With nightclubs closed and festivals postponed, do you think dance music has a future?
I’m aware of the limitations of all music – it’s not just dance music. People will always love dance music. If drum and bass isn’t big, it’s house music. If it’s not house, it’s dubstep, and if it’s not dubstep it’s always something else. It wasn’t a lucrative or financial decision on my part to venture into pop music. All music has an uncertain future.
How has Covid affected the production and promotion of your album?
I had two tours planned this year. One was sold out, the other would have been the biggest tour I’ve ever done and was supposed to be happening right now. Now it’s been moved to next year. But it’s still uncertain whether that will even go ahead.
How do you cope with uncertainty? Has it impacted your creativity as an artist?
Lockdown reminded me that I can write music on my own. I’d become so reliant on others and being in the studio when, actually, I used to write alone in my bedroom. I can still do that. I wrote a lot during lockdown and rediscovered my love for it.
What do you aim to achieve going forward?
Complete world domination. I want to release eight albums, tour the world, have a successful career and sell millions of records. That’s the plan. Whether I achieve it is another question… but I’ll do everything I can to be as successful as possible.
Is it important to dream big?
It’s certainly important to believe in yourself and not to give up on something you love. I always knew that, if I gave up at any point, I would regret it for the rest of my life. So, I’ve no other option but to keep going. I’m excited to see how far I can take my career.
Can you give me any musical hints about your album?
It’s definitely more synth-pop. Some of my influences have been La Roux, Robyn and Passion Pit. It’s given me an opportunity to nod to my influences and showcase my own musical taste. It’s also a chance to say things from my point and view. I’m so proud to finally create my own body of work.
What inspires your music?
Generally, it’s been love. I find my relationship so inspiring, whether it’s going well or badly. I love my partner and I love being in love with him. But I also love being angry with him, feeling sad and then feeling happy again. He makes me feel so many different things. I love writing about it and that’s what keeps us strong.
Interview by Emma Short, Music Editor. Becky Hill’s new single Space was released on 2 October and her upcoming album is due in March 2021.
Free your mind -- The Silhouettes Project
Out of my Head -- Mac Demarco
Lost in translation -- The Neighbourhood
Fuck the racist agenda -- Dilly-Yo!
The Pink Phantom (feat Elton John and 6LACK) -- Gorillaz
Playlist by Fleur Colson
All graphics by Ella-Mae Earnshaw