Undoubtedly one of music’s most influential yet elusive figures, Frank Ocean routinely avoids the traditional approaches to stardom, often forgoing any sort of press and rarely performing live. Instead opting to make statements in his own way, usually to hugely welcoming fans. Whether that be a heartfelt letter on tumblr, gifting merch to those who voted in swing states or releasing ‘Endless’ to then drop ‘Blonde’ independently in a massive up yours to Def Jam. Despite his lack of media presence, Frank always makes a splash when he does appear.
In a rare interview with Wmagazine the singer, formerly of Odd Future notoriety opened up on what is currently influencing his work, notably the imprints left by music associated with club scenes.
“I’ve been interested in club, and the many different iterations of nightlife for music and songs. And so the things I look at now have a lot to do with those scenes: Detroit, Chicago, techno, house, French electronic.”
The decision to delve into different approaches doesn’t end there seemingly. Admitting later he has been travelling back and forth to Rio to work with a string arranger and hinting at more collaborative efforts in the future Frank said “I like the parts of the process where I work with session musicians or with other record producers or featured artists and guest vocalists. I’ve been trying to make time to do more of that sort of thing, and be in spaces where I’m not the expert.”
Despite the aforementioned lack of interviews you only need to go to Frank’s discography to avail of the vivid accounts of definitive moments in his life. Often told from the backseat of a car, ‘Nostalgia Ultra’, ‘Channel Orange’ and ‘Blonde’ provided honest tales detailing intimate moments, lost days and considered ruminations.
It has almost become an expectation that he will bring personal outpourings on every project however now it appears in his next work Frank will be edging towards possibly a more conceptual approach. Favouring perhaps to leave his own personal memories untouched in the next instance or instead flesh them out with some of his wildest ideas and concepts.
He said, “If I start to tell a story and then I decide not to tell the story anymore, I can stop. It’s my story. The expectation for artists to be vulnerable and truthful is a lot, you know?—when it’s no longer a choice. Like, in order for me to satisfy expectations, there needs to be an outpouring of my heart or my experiences in a very truthful, vulnerable way. I’m more interested in lies than that. Like, give me a full motion-picture fantasy.”
From the recent interview a picture begins to form of a more collaborative effort, one sprinkled with elements of electronic and potentially imaginative imagery.
Despite these potential changes in approach one thing that is for certain is he will continue to release independently.
“I’ve been independent since 2016. So I plan on keeping it that way for a while. I’ve got amazing credit, so if I need a loan, I’ll go to a bank.”
Whatever happens, it’s becoming increasingly evident that the Frank Ocean hype train is well and truly in motion with multitudes of people hanging on his every word.
Catch the full interview here.
Photography: Collier Schorr Stylist: Jason Rider from Interview in GAYLETTER.