Halfway by means of our telephone name final week, the musician Oklou abruptly stopped speaking. We had been discussing the making of her critically-acclaimed EP Galore, which dropped final yr, when she abruptly went silent, solely to return a couple of minutes later, laughing. It seems she stepped away to gaze on the night sky from her Paris condo. It will need to have been a reasonably spectacular sundown.
That form of romantic whimsy doesn’t come as a shock, given the sonic landscapes the 28-year-old singer and producer tends to craft together with her music. Oklou’s lush and entrancing sound makes for an virtually dream-like expertise. Final September’s Galore is directly devastating and enchanting — a mirrored image on the difficult and typically complicated gradient of human connection. On the standout observe “Fall,” plucky and muffled strings play within the background as Oklou sings about permitting herself to fall in love, regardless of its inherent dangers. “It’s not a blessing and it’s not a curse/However a whisper saying that I simply/ Must fall,” she croons.
Oklou sees the album as a doc, a “solution to hold a hint of what occurred in my coronary heart,” she explains. “It was intense and it was lovely, even when it’s a bit unhappy. I had one thing lovely in my fingers and I felt like I needed to immortalize it.”
The vulnerability and openness she embeds in her music partially clarify the choice to jot down lyrics in English, versus her native French. Launched from the pressures of articulation utilizing her native tongue, Oklou says it’s simpler to navigate her music’s emotion in English. “I’m an individual who overthinks so much, in the case of phrases, I’ve a tough time,” she says. “It was simpler for me to let go in English.”
And when you may say that her sound — softly enchanting vocals meticulously doused in reverb and heat synths — has change into the dominant motif in right now’s pop music, Oklou finds a solution to infuse acquainted terrain with a singular imaginative and prescient.
“I like romantic and nostalgic stuff. I do know that in some unspecified time in the future just a few years in the past, I attempted to detach myself from it as a result of I assumed it was too straightforward. You possibly can simply add reverb to one thing and bam, it really works,” she says. “However what’s essential for me [is] what it will probably make you are feeling. So I don’t actually care if it’s straightforward. It’s [all in] the stability and precision. You could be very exact, even with this lush stuff. You even have a lot management.”
Now, as she prepares for a North American tour opening for Caroline Polachek, Oklou says she’s enthusiastic about her artistic imaginative and prescient. “I really feel a lot extra assured concerning the story I’m telling and with the music itself. I’m really excited, for the primary time, to try this many exhibits. As a result of I do know what my function is onstage. I do know the story I’m gonna inform,” she says.
Born Marylou Mayniel, Oklou grew up within the French countryside outdoors town of Poitiers. Early on, she started coaching in classical composition, attending music faculty the place she studied cello and piano. In her late teenagers, she felt a pull in the direction of experimental music, discovering Soundcloud and changing into infatuated with underground heavyweights like Yung Lean, Arca, and FKA Twigs.
After attending college for 2 months, she dropped out to journey round Europe. She’d ultimately meet the producer Casey MQ. They shortly found a artistic twin flame in each other and co-produced the 2017 mixtape For the Beasts collectively. The 4-song undertaking is darkish and sensual, a sonic experiment that makes use of distorted samples of Miley Cyrus and Carly Rae Jepsen and lands someplace between a nightmare and a celestial dream.
The duo stored making music collectively, ultimately bringing Galore to fruition. To work on the undertaking, they rented a house for 2 months within the secluded mountains of Serra Calderona, outdoors of Valencia, Spain. Along with helping with preparations and music constructions, Oklou says MQ helped her work by means of the pangs of an existential heartbreak. “He helped me as a buddy to make clear the story I wished to inform. I at all times say that he made me understand that I had an attractive one,” she explains.
It is smart that Oklou finds herself so interested by telling tales. Her musical resume contains a variety of side-quests, all involved with exploring the connection between sound and narrative. In 2018, she and the French artist Krampf launched an experimental online game, “Diggin in the Carts” for Crimson Bull Music Academy. Impressed by the visuals of Murderer’s Creed, Oklou composed the rating to the sport and conceived of the storyline — an journey story a few younger boy looking for his misplaced sister. She’s presently engaged on one other online game undertaking, this time scoring an immersive set up by the artist and shut buddy Saradibiza, which will likely be exhibited in Arles, France this winter.
Ultimately, Oklou says, she’d like to attain movies. “It’s my dream, really. I’ve discovered a means in my profession to at all times do various things which might be typically off the radar,” she explains. “It’s tremendous essential for me to have areas the place I can categorical myself in different kinds.”
For now, as she travels the world sharing scenes from the depths of her coronary heart, she’s content material simply soaking within the view.
https://www.rollingstone.com/music/music-features/oklou-interview-caroline-polachek-tour-1241794/ | Oklou Interview: Acclaimed Mixtape, Touring With Caroline Polachek