Speed: Can you tell me a bit more about the thought process behind your latest release, The Sun in Scorpio? It’s been a few months since the album dropped and it’s been in one of my long-ass playlists since its release.
Apollo: Well, It’d just dropped Tresvant in the summer of 2018. It was a collection of music left in the vault from previous sessions that I wanted to get out [there]. I thought to myself, “I need to get the juices flowing again and do new music that focuses on where I am mentally.” So, we started working at a new studio and got the mojo going again.
Quick backstory: I had just gotten out of a four-year-long relationship at the beginning of 2018 and found new love shortly after that. Most importantly, I was expecting my first child, so there were lots of emotions in me. As a father yourself, you know what I mean.
Speed: Oh, yeah. Definitely.
Apollo: Through 2018, I was also dealing with having turned 30. So, I had to commemorate that as well. Plus, Drake and I have the same birthday and he stole my Scorpion idea. So, I had to have something with “Scorpio” in the title. Shallow, I know.
Speed: Fair enough. The album is a mix of various sounds. Did you ever worry about losing focus on the project by blending so much?
Apollo: No, not really. I get bored musically and I’m always looking for different sounds to match my mood, whether that be trap, soul, emo, celestial rap, or otherwise. I love hitting people with different sounds. It’s challenging.
Speed: Now, True mentioned that HS is doing more R&B-sounding songs on the upcoming Less Is More project. That’s along with the Future/Gunna/Young Thug-type shit. Are we seeing the beginning of the long-discussed, oft-joked-about DAR&B?
Apollo: Yeah, man. We’ve got some smooth stuff, R&B stuff, on the new HS album. We’re branching out with more contemporary stuff on this one. Songs about love and sex–songs for women and whatnot–have always been a strength of the DAR catalog. We know what they want. And, yeah, the DAR&B project is in its infancy stages. “R U Up” is a nice introduction to that sound.
Speed: When I first heard that, I was like “alright, bet. This is slightly uncharted waters for HS and DAR as a whole.” Not really, though. We’ve always played around with melodies–plus, we all used to sing at some point in our lives.
Apollo: Yes, exactly. We have loads of music knowledge and tastes, so it’s only right. We’re naturals, bro. Everyone has a song in their heart.
Speed: So, are we getting more singing on the new Apollo album?
Apollo: Well, it’ll be about the same as I always do. On the new LP, called Baptism, I’m exploring cleansing myself from all that happened to me in 2018 and starting anew. I’m taking a real minimalistic approach this go-round. Not too glossy. A lot of memorable, strong, and solid melodies. Groovy basslines. All that. I’ve got a song called “Medicine Man,” where you can really hear and feel the vulnerability sung on the hook. I definitely have some things up my sleeve.
I’m in more of an alternative rap phase. There will be more envelope-pushing–within reason. I want to push myself, but not get unfocused musically. I find myself driven to melodies more than ever, so expect more of that moving forward.
Speed: So, what would cause “unfocus?”
Speed: How do you avoid making the same music, then? Like I discussed with True, as artists, we have a specific well of knowledge we can draw from. However, it’s somewhat finite in terms of what we can talk about without sounding like a complete jackass.
Apollovelli was an ambitious debut. It was my most “commercial” project, honestly. Full of singles and chart-topping sounds. Survive the Horror, my favorite project–one I call my magnum opus–it’s very dark, forlorn psychedelic trap. Mythos is dark, mythological soul music. Presence is airy, religious, and mellow. Tresvant is mature music with sultry overtones and showcases a lot more of the team. I love collaborations and that was where a lot came to be. The Sun in Scorpio is more, like, spacey, astrological stream of consciousness music.
All of these albums have different themes. But, they all have that, as True’d call it, “Apollo Funk.” Varying styles but still focused and cohesive. That’s a common DAR theme. All the while, we’re drawing inspiration from everyday life.
Speed: Everyday life is critical in making good music.
Speed: And it’s from that normalcy, combined with the uniqueness of your personal experiences, that we get beautiful music.
Speed: I’ve simmered down a lot over the years, so it may be more Old Man Logan and less X-Men.
Speed: Fair enough. Do you ever think you’re going to retire from making music?
Speed: Definitely agree there. So, something that people may not know about you–and something I didn’t know until recently–is that you’re a huge One Piece fan. How’d that even come about?
Speed: Speaking of Bebop, what do you think of the Netflix announcement of their live-action series?
Apollo: I didn’t even hear about that, but I’m excited to see what they do with it.
Speed: Same, as long as it’s not another U.S. Death Note.
Apollo: This is true. That was…off.
Speed: Lakeith Stanfield was dope in it, though. But, he’s usually on point in anything he’s in. He’s underrated as fuck, even with Sorry To Bother You being a thing. I just hope he stays away from the mic. I mean, he’s decent with his technique and all, but I don’t need another Atlanta actor/rapper in my playlsits.
Apollo: Especially with Gambino.