Image via Red Bull Music Academy Radio
With the July 1 release date of the next Blood Orange album approaching, Dev Hynes sat down for an in-depth conversation with friend and collaborator Kindness on Red Bull Music Academy Radio.
Explaining the meaning behind the project’s title, Freetown Sound, he explained it’s based on “Freetown, Sierra Leone. A town founded… it was basically a town where freed slaves were sent to live a comfy, Christian life. That’s where my dad is from. Born there 1939.”
Hynes revealed that an episode of Aziz Ansari’s Master of None show about being raised by immigrant parents resonated with him and said, “I really try to have a lot of references on this album, to try and capture myself, my childhood, and both my parents’ childhoods and where they are now in their lives. There’s a song on the album where the underbelly of it is audio of a woman in Freetown, speaking in Krio, discussing when the rebels came in and destroyed her village. The music over the top is interpretation of an Eddy Grant song, who grew up in Guyana in Georgetown, where my mother is from.”
Digging in to the structure of the album, he said that “the whole thing is continuous, and there’s a lot of interludes.” He mentioned that he’ll wait awhile before jumping on Genius to explain every little line on the album because “there’s a lot of very deep references” and he’d rather let things breathe.
“I was trying to do like a Paul’s Boutique, Dust Brothers, Donuts, Dilla type of feel, where it’s like this tape that has all these different elements in it, just kind of continuing.”
Comparing the work to the last Blood Orange album, Cupid Deluxe, this project looks to take a little step back from the microscope of his own life and comment on the volatile social/political landscape around him.
“The last album was more, ‘This is me and the type of person I am amongst this certain corner of the world,'” he says. “This album is taking a step out and being like, ‘Oh, I am a black man living in America,”
Finally, he explained the reason why he rarely performs live: expectations.
“The only times in my life where I think about the idea of expectations is playing live,” Hynes said. “And that’s part of my issue with why I don’t play live Blood Orange performances that often. I’m aware that in a live setting that people really want to be entertained… I don’t hate that idea. I like it actually, the idea that a live thing is a separate entity. But it just means more work for me, and I try to make that live experience something that works for people that come to see it. I’m never gonna be the kind of person who you come to see me and I’m playing, like, 10 ambient drone songs I wrote the day before. Why would I?”
Read the transcript of the interview here and check out a trailer for Freetown Sound below.