Rex Orange County – aka 19-year-old Alex O’Connor – is a bit of a talent. The multi-talented instrumentalist has a songwriting ability beyond his years – as demonstrated by his jazzy debut album ‘Apricot Princess’ and his stunning guest spot on Tyler, The Creator’s ‘Flower Boy‘. We caught up with him as he dropped new song ‘Edition’, and prepares for his biggest show to date at London’s Village Underground.
Tell us a bit about ‘Edition’ which came out yesterday…
It’s sort of a small look into the certain image of how things are going right now. I’m still in the ‘Apricot Princess’ mindset, but it’s quite a sombre song in comparison.
How has the process changed since you released ‘Apricot Princess’ earlier this year?
Knowing I don’t have to have an album in mind and finish it means I’m writing a lot of songs and being able to cut down from there
The new song definitely feels a bit darker…
Yes and no. I feel like it feels very much like that. The ending lyrics are ‘I’m only ever trying to help you and it’s only ever love’ and that is still my thoughts. But I’m still super positive and still happy so that’s still the vibe in a way.
You’re only 19 now but you have released so much – two sizable projects and lots of singles – have you found anyone has underestimated you because of your age?
Not really. I think it works to my advantage when people realise you’re young and putting music out at that age – that’s definitely impressive to older people. I’m just lucky to figure out quicker than I could have.
You worked on Tyler the Creator’s album earlier this year. Could you talk a bit about how that collaboration came about?
He just picked me up on email like everyone else and it came like any other collaboration would. I was pretty convinced it wasn’t him at first, then it became clear that it was really. The song ‘Boredom’ [which Rex features on] is actually something that he wrote and I came into. He wanted to hear my voice on it anyway, so that song is pretty much entirely him and it’s just my voice that he wanted to try out for the start.
Boredom, a song by Tyler, The Creator, Rex Orange County, Anna Of The North on Spotify
You’ve got a big show tonight – Village Underground. Are you nervous about it at all?
I’m not really nervous now, but you catch me 30 minutes before I have to go on, oh boy, I am a stress freak. I’ll be walking around back stage trying to not talk to anyone for 30 minutes. They’ll be like ‘you good?’ and I’ll say ‘yeah, yeah I’m ok’, for half an hour. But other than that I’m usually really good until it comes to it – but that 30 minutes is kind of painful.
Rex Orange County plays London Village Underground tonight (September 13)