Jordan Rakei Wanted To Challenge Fans With His New Album

19 June 2019 | 3:07 pm | Daniel Cribb

"It keeps it interesting for me."

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London-based, Brisbane-raised artist Jordan Rakei was “off the grid”, immersed in the world of touring when his third LP Origin dropped last week; a fitting situation, given the album’s themes.

“The rise of really powerful technology is inevitable, and it’s going to become an intrinsic part of the new human life,” Rakei says.

“But if we constantly remind ourselves of our past and our history and remember where we come from, then that might help us cope in some way.”

It’s a topic he discusses throughout Origin, but there’s some irony in using modern recording techniques and distribution methods to convey and deliver it.

“It’s funny because basically, my career was born from technology, so I have to understand that it’s made me who I am - SoundCloud, Spotify and Apple Music playlists have really got me fanbases around the world that I never would have gotten without technology.”

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Rakei explored new musical territory while writing Origin, which made him “nervous”.

“Some songs on there are slightly different to my usual songs, so I thought, ‘Oh no, will this alienate people?’” he says.

“But then I’m seeing a lot of [fans] talking about those songs that I thought weren’t going to be as well-liked, and it’s really comforting to know that people are listening to the music that I didn’t expect. I think that means my fans are good fans – they’re in it to be challenged, not just to listen to one certain style of music.

“Each [Jordan Rakei] album is always going to sound different, because it keeps it interesting for me and I always love challenging listeners with a new sound.”

Origin not only presents a different sound, but a different songwriter.

“The writing experience was the least judgemental I’ve ever been on my own work,” he reveals.

“In the past, I used to overthink everything. I love [2016’s Cloak, 2017’s Wallflower], but I was very much in my head and worried about what people thought.

“With Origin, I was much more free and open with it, and if something funky came out and I started singing really catchy, poppy melody, I would just go with it and not judge the process; whatever comes out is my intrinsic subconscious sound and I just trusted that.”

It was his collaboration with rapper Loyle Carner that helped him establish that mindset.

“He helped me solidify that idea of not judging and if something is simple, not to overthink it,” he tells.

“If it sounds good, it sounds good, you don’t need 50 layers or even hundreds of tracks to make it sound epic. You don’t need to overcomplicate the sound to get an emotional message across.”

In trusting his instincts, Rakei has produced a record that’s more “bright, colourful, fun, funky and soulful”, which is an interesting blend when considering its themes.

“I wanted the music to be positive and uplifting so a casual listener could still enjoy the process, but if you listen to it more and more you’d discover that there’s more of a deep-rooted, underlying thing beneath.”

Jordan Rakei will return to Australia this August for a run of headline shows in support of Origin. Check out theGuide for all the details.