If you haven’t had the chance to listen to Social Repose yet, chances are, you have likely come across at least one of his videos on Facebook or YouTube recently. With over 3 million views on his cover of Drake’s “Hotline Bling” performed in ten different musical styles, and the raw and powerful music video for his song, “Island of Yours” out now, Social Repose is not only the master of social media, he is also incredible at captivating an audience. Dropping today (11/20) his new EP, Yalta is an exploration or genre and identity that shouldn’t be missed.
Read the entire interview below, and pick up Yalta today!
Interview by Dom Vigil
You’re just releasing your new EP, Yalta. What does this EP mean to you?
The record means a complete shift in direction for me. It’s the first collection I put out since I completely revamped Social Repose about a year ago. It’s incredibly important to me.
Is there anything that you were really excited to explore or experiment with on Yalta?
The entire album is one big experiment for me. I produced the thing myself so I have complete control over all the sounds. I really pushed myself as a producer and a songwriter to create a mood throughout the tracklist.
Were there any themes you wanted to touch on with these songs?
Identity was a big one. When I decided to change everything about the project I didn’t really know who I was or what I was doing with it. I think that theme came off strongly in the Island Of Yours video and the overall destructive nature of the lyrics.
You just released a music video for “Island of Yours” where you burn your signature headdress and go as far as to shave your head. You’ve mentioned that it was less about the shock factor and more about the message behind it, so could you tell us a little bit about the video and the meaning behind it?
I mean, I knew there would be a bit of shock. My look is a signature thing and my fans fear the worst when I start messing with it. As I mentioned above, identity was the central theme. I thought to myself, what if I went from having this incredibly potent outfit to being naked with no distinguishable features. That’s where the burning and head shaving came into play. Now in the very end I walk off with a laptop tied to my foot. That means that regardless of my identity, the internet is still my ball and chain.
You’ve also done quite a few tutorial videos, covers and more recently, a video of you singing “Hotline Bling” in different styles. How have videos like these helped you connect with your fanbase more?
I think they enjoy my covers and nonmusical videos. I started doing more “youtuber” type videos just to avoid getting burnt out from producing original music all the time. It also helps newcomers get to know me and learn what exactly I’m doing with the project.
Are there any songs that you would really like to cover in the future?
I kinda just choose them as I go at this point. I’ve already covered all my personal favorites.
What artists or musicians are currently inspiring you?
For Yalta it was a mix of twenty one pilots and Imogen Heap. There were other influences but those are the two major ones.
You’ve also done a few videos where you respond to hateful comments. I’m sure some people would argue that it’s just fueling the hateful comments when you respond to them, but you do so in a very positive and playful way. Why is it important to you to respond to those kinds of comments?
Part of my online persona (and mostly in real life) is that I’m sarcastic. That’s the humor I thrive on. When I see people leaving mean comments (and they do) I don’t think I’m obligated to ignore all of them. If I can think of a funny comeback to the unsuspecting person, I’ll fire away. I think the key to responding to hate is never personally attack the culprit. I generally try to point out how absurd they’re being to someone they’ve never met.
On another note, folks have also called me a bully for calling out hate comments. Last time I checked if you write something terrible about someone else, regardless of who it is, you need to be able to handle the heat if the person insults you back.
What would you like for your listeners to be able to take away from your music, whether it’s Yalta as a whole, or even just a song or video that they happen to come across on Facebook or YouTube?
Most things in life are boring. Try not to be boring. That’s what I want them to consider.
If you could change anything about the music scene, what would it be and why?
Make it more about the art and less about the money? I guess thats a bit cliché. It’s just sad seeing so many artists bend over for a paycheck in order to please whatever fanbase they’ve got. I mean, I suppose the rent doesn’t pay itself.
After the release of Yalta, do you have any other big plans for the end of the year or the beginning of 2016?
I’m doing a brief visit to the US west coast to do a string of youtube collaborations. Real excited about that! Also putting together the Yalta tour for early 2016.
Thanks for taking the time to chat with us! Is there anything else you’d like to add?
Always get the bowl over the burrito at Chipotle. The bowl gives you 20-30% more food.