Rex Orange County on his new album WHO CARES?
Perched on a stool in his London kitchen, Rex Orange County delves into the challenges of preserving resilience, placing trust in his lyrics, and navigating the uncertainties of our unpredictable world.
Rachel Weinberg: How are you?
Rex Orange Country: I'm feeling pretty peaceful today. Not too up or down. Thank you for asking!
RW: Where are you at the moment?
ROC: Currently sitting on a stool in the kitchen at my house in London.
RW: When were you first introduced to music?
ROC: I’ve always loved music. I’ve been playing drums and piano since the age of 6 and had some great music teachers who encouraged me to pursue it. My parents were also very supportive and introduced me to a lot of amazing music growing up. I’m very grateful for them!
RW: How would you describe your current sound?
ROC: It's honestly quite varied. Some of it sounds like I’m reading from a diary. A lot of it's been created with chords first, which was truly my first musical love. Parts of it are expansive, and other parts are very minimal. It's kind of difficult to define or label! All I know is that I’m excited to share it with the world.
RW: Is there something you hope to learn when you're creating a new album?
ROC: I feel like I learn a lot every time. I’m always trying to practise patience and discipline, as well as being authentic and listening to my instincts as much as I can.
RW: WHO CARES? delves into experiences of claustrophobia, love, self-doubt, and anxiety. Was the writing process cathartic at all?
ROC: I definitely found it therapeutic. I really tried not to overthink the writing process and just trusted the lyrics. I also think being away in Amsterdam and working on the music for a set number of days helped.
RW: Benny Sings co-produced the album. What was it like to work with a friend?
ROC: It was great! I’ve been a fan of Benny since I was like 16, and he was really one of my biggest inspirations for becoming an artist at the beginning. He's definitely one of my favourite people to work with. He's super quick and decisive and knows exactly what he likes and doesn't like. Plus, we're cut from the same cloth harmonically and love a lot of the same music, so it really works. The last time I saw him was at his show in London; he did a cover of ‘Loving Is Easy, and it was so epic!
RW: You've been touring for a few months now. How has it been so far?
ROC: It's truly been amazing. It's honestly my favourite part of being an artist, and I feel so lucky to have people come sing along as loud as they do!
RW: How do you prepare for a live show? And what do you hope fans take away from your performance?
ROC: There's only so much you can do to prep for a show. I mostly just rehearse and try to prepare mentally. I honestly just want people who come to the show to have an hour and a half where they don't worry about anything else in their lives. I hope people feel joy and relief and get to make some memories!
RW: In this specific album cycle, what’s been the biggest challenge for you?
ROC: The biggest challenge has been learning to be resilient and accepting in a world that is so unpredictable.
RW: How do you get past feelings of uncertainty or doubt? And when do you feel other people’s care?
ROC: Honestly, the feelings of uncertainty and doubt are always there; I just have therapy to help manage them. I try to stay in the present as much as possible, and I’m very fortunate to have great people around me who care for me as much as I care for them.
RW: What do you do or where do you go to find motivation?
ROC: Motivation comes and goes, but I do my best to keep it moving. I’ve been cooking at home more. I love travelling, I think it's good to expand awareness and get some outside perspective. I’ve been swimming and exercising more than I ever have. I love the theatre and try to go see live performances as often as I can. I learned how to play chess. I learned how to drive. So many things!
RW: Do you feel like your stage name ever protects or fuels you?
ROC: I’m definitely grateful to have come up with a stage name and not used my real name. It allows me to have a degree of separation between the artist persona and my real life, which I didn't really think about at the start, but in hindsight, I’m grateful for it.
Rex Orange County returns to Australia in September, playing shows across in Adelaide, Brisbane, Sydney, Melbourne and Perth. Purchase tickets at secretsounds.com.
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