In Conversation With: AYLØ
Generating buzz and anticipation is half the battle for artists today, but there is a pool of creators that essentially ‘drop and go’, letting their projects and art speak the volumes that fans truly desire. Enter AYLØ: the self-proclaimed alternative soul fusionist hailing from Benin City. After making waves throughout 2019 into 2020 with his Clairsentience EP, and acclaimed dnt’dlt mixtape, the rapper-producer is back with For Good Reasons, a 10-track album that adds a storytelling element to his already refined and trialled sound.
The Floor sat down with the rising star to get more insight into his album and fill in the gaps since his last full project release:
THE FLOOR: Congratulations on the new album, For Good Reasons! The title implies that a tough decision has been made or you’re faced with an ultimatum. What is the meaning behind the name?
AYLØ: For me, this project and the sounds I chose to cater to over others is very different from my last body of work, and i guess I’m just praying that I didn’t make any mistakes, and if I did it’ll all end up being for good reasons, everything in my life attached to the music.
What was your biggest inspiration(s) behind For Good Reasons? What were you aiming to achieve with this project?
Surviving Lagos. I felt like I wanted to really show how living in Lagos and going through life experiences here has affected me. So all the stories stem from me wanting to intentionally create from that realm.
I want to introduce someone to your music based on this project. Which song do you suggest I play and why?
Honestly, till this day I'd still play them Gardens. It might not be in their genre taste, but I believe it embodies most of my personas and like my holistic identity. The soulfulness, the audacity to try some things out.
Often when artists are curating a project, there is a longlist of tracks that eventually becomes the finished product. Was there a song that nearly didn’t make the cut? Which one and why?
All the songs here were meant to be here. If anything the original version of this was a bit longer.
I really appreciate that all features are up and coming Nigerian artists, especially at a time where people are collaborating internationally. Did this fit into your vision of the project or was it coincidence?
Purely coincidental. I usually just work with my friends and people I’m around. So for most of the songs, that’s what happened. A few I had to reach out and send emails and create WhatsApp groups [laughs] but mostly it was just the blessing of authentic human relationships.
You produced 4 tracks on For Good Reasons. Do you find it easier to produce for yourself or for others?
Definitely for myself. I'm very slow and I can't play any instruments so it takes forever to get to where I want. God bless my ears. I have to listen to the same thing 3 times more than most other producers.
How has your creative process changed from project to project? For example, how has it changed since creating dnt’dlt? Is it more about your specific plans to change creatively, or where you personally are in a moment?
Most of the process is pretty much the same. Be present, have fun, tunnel vision in my room. block out the world. Periodically accept emails and recommendations. Block out again. Repeat repeat. But what’s new each time is obviously where I’m at in life. That usually dictates the purpose and the message. Process stays the same, and when I get bored I try to learn a new DAW.
Your music has been affiliated with alté but it's a genre that’s arguably still evolving. How would you classify the genre and how do you see your music contributing/fitting into it?
I don’t know what to say about alté again. I’m glad it gives me a community in a way, but I don’t think about it much. I don't like being boxed in. It ends up feeling like a box sometimes, the idea that someone is something and just that. The end. I don’t really like it.
On Gardens, you say: “On ma mama nigga never fault the process, I ain't doing singles I just ghost and drop the project” and BNXN not so long ago tweeted “AYLØ is the Nigerian Frank Ocean. Drop Gems and dip!” - In this age of social media and artists being able to build a ‘cult of personality’, what made you let the music speak for itself?
It’s just the most authentic version of myself. I get it and I’m not against social media and single campaigns. I love every form of expression and every tool that’s there for the independent artist to grow. I’m thankful. Once again, it's just about being yourself. Live your life and make it work. try new things, go back to the old you. Repeat, repeat, enjoy your existence.
On a final note – I know I’m not the only person who is dying for a London show! Do you have plans to tour with For Good Reasons?
My birthday is in September, I should be around by then. Something special.