Frank Ocean has given a rare interview, in which he hints that his new music covers themes of “strength and vulnerability,” and that he’s being influenced by club music.
Despite saying he’s got no release dates in mind, the musician told W Magazine “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…”
As well as mentioning that he’s working with string arrangers, when asked about what themes and ideas he’s exploring in his new material Ocean said: “I believed for a very long time that there was strength in vulnerability, and I really don’t believe that any more. “Strength” and “vulnerability” sound opposite as words. And so to combine them sounds wise, but I don’t know if it is wise.
He continued: “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.”
Elsewhere in the interview, Ocean revealed that he’s become interested in “toying with format”. He explained: “In a lot of the contracts of today with the labels, there’s an expectation to turn in a set amount of albums. That’s really an arbitrary limitation. That’s not state-of-the-art.
“I hear rappers talk about their business savvy and their independence in songs. And I think the more of that, the better. The idea of being able to have a decent life living off just a thousand fans who are invested in you and will purchase what you make is only possible with ownership of the business.”
He also said that he’s working on a new photo series in collaboration with an unnamed visual artist. “I’m playing a character in this sequence about a particular music industry practice that’s been going on for a long time. It’s a narrative in photos.”