Refusing to let their derailed tour schedule get them down, Belgium-based hip-hop duo Blackwave — aka rapper Jay Atohoun and singer-producer Willem Ardui — have instead decided to focus their energy on their music. Working in isolation from each other shouldn't be a problem for them, though. After all, the pair managed to record an entire EP before they'd even met face-to-face, so this is all par for the course.
While we wait to see what they've been cooking up, they've recently revisited their debut album Are We Still Dreaming? to give us some visuals for project highlight "Arp299", directed by Heleen Declerq and Yaqine Hamzaoui. It's a storming piece of hip-hop with all the key ingredients for a future classic: a roaring soul sample, punchy drums, bluesy guitars and whipcrack rhymes. It's also a much-needed piece of escapism, taking us on a voyage to a parallel universe where the world hasn't been ravaged by a virus and we're all free to cut loose and party in safety. If only it were real.
Speaking on the visuals, they explain: "'Arp299' is essentially about running away from everyday life. The title of the song references a galaxy 134 million light-years away, a place so far away from everything you can't even start to imagine it. We felt like this was the right metaphor to use in this track. In the process of writing our debut album (which is space themed all the way through) we had some thoughts of wanting to leave everything behind, to run and not look back. The pressure that comes with writing an album while also trying to figure out your own personal life was weighing hard on us. In the video we made for 'Arp299' we land in an otherworldly place during our journey of leaving everything behind.
"The video for 'Arp299' is the last part of a two chapter visual story written by Heleen Declerq and Yaqine Hamzaoui. It follows the video for 'Bittersweet Baby' we released some weeks ago. The first chapter ends with the lyrics 'I know somewhere we can go, far away from everything', this video picks it up from there and shows a more dream-like world in our imagination. This contrasts with the very real and grounded visual aesthetic and storytelling of the first chapter. It's also a contrast we try to explore often, the contrast between big dreams and the harsh reality of everyday life."