Frank Ocean has discussed his creative headspace and new music plans in a cover story for W Magazine. An album influenced by “Detroit, Chicago, techno, house, French electronic” and other “iterations of nightlife” is in the works, he tells W’s Diane Solway, though there’s no news on a release date. Asked whether the record would be released independently, he said, “I’ve been independent since 2016. So I plan on keeping it that way for a while. I’ve got amazing credit, so if I need a loan, I’ll go to a bank.”
He added, “I think for a while I’d like to get away from work that’s solitary by nature. I’ve never been in a band or had a songwriting partner or been with a group, so it’s always been a lot of time on my own writing and doing the work. I like the parts of the process where I work with session musicians or with other record producers or featured artists and guest vocalists…. in spaces where I’m not the expert.“
It’s Frank’s latest in a string of 2019 feature interviews but the first with a journalist, rather than friends or contemporaries, since the Blonde era. Frank has otherwise had a quiet year after a somewhat active late-2018. In November, he released three Midterm-themed episodes of his Beats 1 show “blonded RADIO,” as well as “Christmas blonded” on December 25.
Asked about his political responsibilities, he told W, “The stakes are high. I would replace the word ‘responsibility‘ with ‘opportunity’ when it comes to voting, because you have the right to do nothing, but you have an opportunity to do so much more. It’s simple to go vote; it’s complicated to galvanize votes. I’d like to have as many schemes as possible. There’s truth to this idea that every generation has something really big to be afraid of—at least one thing that affects their survival or their quality of life. I don’t think that we’ve reached a point where I no longer have a choice but to be pessimistic.”
He also discusses the role of strength, vulnerability, truth, and fantasy in his work: “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.” Read more about that—as well as his new hobby of swimming four laps underwater, until “you feel like you’re going to die”—in W.
Read “Frank Ocean Finally Played a U.S. Show. Was It Worth the Wait?” on the Pitch.