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Artist Features

Interview: Blood Orange

Blood Orange, Dev Hynes, has done basically everything anyone would ever dream of doing, boasting an impressive resume of musician, songwriter, writer, photographer, and a whole lot more! You’ve probably heard him in Lightspeed Champion, but his current project sounds totally different, albeit just as rad. Dev took some time out to answer a few questions about the future of Lightspeed Champion, the origins of Blood Orange, and his new title of fashion consultant.

Have you totally nailed the coffin on Lightspeed Champion or do you think you’ll ever return to that project?

It’ll probably be back, there’s a whole album written and demoed, I just don’t know when i’ll record it and/or if I’ll ever release it, I don’t know if anyone wants to hear it. But yeah, it exists.

I have (creepily) followed your Flickr for the past few years because you have some great photos and illustrations, and I vaguely recall a Blood Orange drawing. I’ve heard that Lightspeed Champion was born out of a comic you drew– was there a visual component in the creation of Blood Orange?

Oh, thank you! There was a Blood Orange comic – thing is, I have a pool of names that I pull out of whenever I need a name. Blood Orange really started about two years ago, and has been my main musical focus. It’s interesting though, because the last Lightspeed album came out last year, so it seems like it’s a new thing, but it started directly after the last Lightspeed was written.

To me, Blood Orange sounds like a sexy, coked up tranny love child of Cocteau Twins and Jermaine Stewart. Is that what you were going for? What drove you to this new sound?

Exactly what I was going for pretty much, ha. I’m not sure what, or if anything, drove me towards it, or if it did, it wasn’t anything I was aware of, but the original goal was just to make music I would listen to. I would record songs and make mixes and just walk around the city listening to it.

You use a lot of great 80s footage from movies in your videos — lots of images of gay men or transvestites, most notably from the Paris Is Burning documentary (which is amazing, btw). The images definitely compliment the tracks, how did you get involved in video editing?

Thank you. I’ve always been editing footage, and I’m huge movie fan. I watch movies all day, while I’m making music, and that’s how some of those videos came about. I’d watch a movie then write a song to fit the movie. That’s how Sutphin Boulevard came about. I wrote the music and edited the video at the same time.

I heard that you’ve gotten into fashion consulting recently for Rocawear and Jay-Z. What got you involved in fashion?

I know nothing about fashion. Seriously. But I do like it from a weird completely detached fanboy point of view. I still have the mentality of when I’m obsessed with an artist, I’m obsessed with the whole package.

You’ve written a book of short stories entitled Bad Era Of Me and also contributed some to anthologies. How did you stumble down the literary path?

Just from making comics. Eventually I started just writing the stories for comics, which then eventually whittled down to just writing stories for a few collections and journals.

Blood Orange is playing Pianos Friday, February 18th as part of the Headless Horseman residency!

Get yr tickets HERE

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