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Young Negrensé talks new EP ‘Aphelion’, musical beginnings, and more [Interview]

1. Where are you from and how did it influence you as an artist?

Young Negrensé: I grew up in the small town of Duncan, a kind of “in between” town on Vancouver Island. My Dad was classically trained in guitar and always played around me. By grade 4 I started taking lessons myself. Making music in the contemporary sense seemed to have a lot of judgement that came with it, so I kept to myself for years, making hundreds and hundreds of tracks in private. Given the judgement and quality of a lot of local music on the island, growing up here has made me very selective of who I work with.

2. Who were some artists that inspired you to start making music?

Young Negrensé: I would say Kanye, Travis Scott. To this day Rodeo still blows my mind. Also Kid Cudi and Lil Wayne plus so many more.

3. What kind of music did you make when you were first starting, and how has your style evolved since then?

Young Negrensé: When I started out, I was just a producer. Then I realized I didn’t want anyone on my beats. My Dad was the one who convinced me to get a mic and that’s when I started to slowly envision myself actually being an artist.  At first I made a lot of rap and I think that’s something everyone goes through but then I really started to use what I made as a medium to express everything I found difficult to say.  Production wise I’ve been incorporating more pop and synth elements with the help of my collaborator Tristan.

4. What was your creative process like making ‘Aphelion’?

Young Negrensé: Before I started working with Tristan Renaud back in 2020, who became my creative partner and best friend, I was producing and creating everything on my own. Tristan changed that by being the first person I could really trust creatively since our tastes were so similar. We are both movie buffs and super into fashion and design. Tristan introduced me to a few designers who were very influential to the aesthetic of Aphelion, such as, Spencer Badu out of Toronto, C2H4, and also Heliot Emil, among others. Spencer Badu was an important one since his designs fit perfectly into how Tristan and I imagined what would be worn in the Aphelion universe. Every time Spencer dropped a collection we’d geek out and try to secure a piece. We wanted to build a universe from the ground up that was exciting to us and encapsulated both our tastes. When it came to song creation Tristan would handle production and I would work on melodies and writing although we’d go back and forth on everything. We made it all from scratch. Two songs, Hyperspace and Euphoria started out with my production and Tristan revamped them to what you hear currently. We made an album worth of music and more, so lots of songs were cut from the project, some of them were really good too, but we really wanted each song to be a highlight on their own and fit into the overall tone and concept. We would sit for a while on each song and really see if it could hold its initial sparkle. Aphelion is a super condensed collection of our absolute favourites.

5. Where did you record it?

Young Negrensé: We recorded it at Tristan’s studio in Downtown Duncan and maybe a few sessions at his house too. Circe.exe started at his crib.

6. Which song on the record do you feel most connected to and why?

Young Negrensé: Each song on this project is a favourite so I definitely feel connected to all of them, but if I were to only pick one right now, I’d say Euphoria because that track is actually the base aesthetic of Aphelion and where our brand YUZZYNET grew from.

7. What do you hope listeners will take away from ‘Aphelion’?

Young Negrensé: I hope people first and foremost enjoy the journey that Aphelion takes the listener on, but also dig deeper into its themes. There’s a lot of layers both conceptually and sonically. But this is only the first chapter in this series we are creating. Negrensé 9000 will return.

8. What are some of your upcoming future plans in music?

Young Negrensé: We have a direct sequel to Aphelion called Digital Demon Slayin’. At the end of Aphelion on the final track Circe.exe, Negrensé 9000 finishes his journey at the lair of Circe, who ensnares his consciousness, and traps him in a matrix like cyber prison. So that’s the world the new project will take place in. It’s a commentary on the metaverse and how tech has been influencing the world and individuals. This project will be even more cinematic, have more rap influence and a lot more 808s and drum production. Aphelion in contrast only had one 808 which was at the very end of Circe.exe. An intentional detail.

9. Any dream collaborations?

Young Negrensé: I have so many, from Abel, (The Weeknd) Travis Scott is someone who I’ve always wanted to work with. Baby Keem is also a huge one, but there’s this artist called Laylow from France who has the most mind blowing aesthetics. Everything from his album concepts, to production textures – it is so meticulous it almost seems impossible. Even the trailer for a few shows he did in France are almost Scorsese level cinematic. He’s someone who’s level I aspire to be on artistically and someone I’d really love to work with if I ever got the chance.

Listen to ‘Aphelion’ now:

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