Earlier this year we highlighted the label PLZ Make It Ruins which is run by Vegyn, a frequent Frank Ocean collaborator, Blonded RADIO cohost, and boundary pushing producer in his own right. Today we're sharing the next release on PLZ, an EP from a young artist called Arthur. Although the EP is as creative and experimental as all the label's other releases, it explores somewhat different sonic territory—this is a skewed, psychedelic take on pop music, especially the gorgeous, understated "AB."
In what might be the best description of his work, Arthur says, "I always set out to write songs like The Beach Boys or Gram Parsons but they end up sounding like Daniel Johnston if he was a cyborg. A lot of the time my friends call it lo-fi, but I hate when people say that because it's almost become directly proportional with laziness and poor song writing. I took a lot of acid when I was 18."
"I was introduced to Arthur through a close friend and engineer, Caleb Laven," Vegyn explains. "I was immediately enveloped by the creativity and experimental nature of his music. I think what I like so much about Arthur’s music is it’s fluidity. One day he’ll send me a hyper digitally-degraded synth pop track about being invisible (or at least ignored), and the next it’ll be a haunting lap steel ballad to working on a farm. I can never truly pin down what he’ll send next, but I’m always incredibly excited to hear it."
Can you introduce yourself?
I'm from outside Philadelphia, in Delaware County. My mom and dad's house where I do most of my work is at the end of the street surrounded by the woods so there's a lot of deer and ticks. I started playing music eight or nine years ago and tried to start writing immediately even though I had no idea what I was doing. I was lucky enough to have a computer to start recording on to, with a shitty interface my dad got me that I still use now. The ticks gave me Lymes disease and it's blessed me with a languid type of energy that allows me to sit still on my computer for eight hours at a time working on tracks.
Who or what is inspiring you creatively at the moment?
Recently I've been watching a lot of videos about vaguely intelligent robots or listening to music from the soundtracks of SNES or N64 video games because I love the limitations the composers had to work with to make the music fit on a cartridge and the hyper-pop sensibility they developed. We're spoiled now in the digital age, you can make anything sound good if you know how to.
How did you connect with Vegyn for this release?
Vegyn I met through a very close friend and collaborator of mine Caleb. Caleb knew that I'm really interested in production, and Vegyn has been assembling a network of really amazing producers on PLZ. I was lucky enough that Joe dug the music and wanted to work with me and put me out on the label. Caleb plugged us on email and since then we've been carefully putting together releases that make sense for the PLZ format.
What's the ideal place to listen to this EP?
The best place to listen is in your own room with your favorite anime playing at double speed with no sound and only subtitles. Or maybe on the top floor of a very tall building in a big city so you can look down upon all the cars and people on the street from a safe distance and wonder where they're headed and what they did today. Warm or cold light both work, and if you can somehow get them to alternate as you listen that is even better. We're putting out a tape that is so short and loops forever so you can spend hours sitting in one position or constantly moving about without worrying about having to flip the tape over. It's good for a busy subway ride, or in your friend's car at night on a long winding road.