"It should come together next year. I’m hoping to build slowly."
R.E.M. are one of those bands that will probably never reunite. Not because of conflicts within the band, but because they toured incessantly for over three decades and probably still feel burnt out.
In a new interview with Departures and transcribed by NME, the band's frontman, Michael Stipe, confirmed that he's working on his debut solo album. "I’m working on a solo album, my first. I’m collaborating with a bunch of different musicians, and each of those songs, if I get my way, which I think I will because I’m paying for it, will be very different," he told the publication.
He added, "I have no management. I have no label. For the first time in my adult life, I don’t have a contract with anyone except myself. So I get to do whatever I want. Anyway, there will be a visual representation for each of the songs, and it should come together next year. I’m hoping to build slowly."
The Losing My Religion singer was quiet for years following the group's amicable disbandment in 2011. In October 2019, he quietly returned with his first glitchy solo single, Your Capricious Soul. He followed the song with another single, Drive To The Ocean, which was released on his 60th birthday on 4 January 2020. He released another track that year, No Time For Love Like Now, recorded with Big Red Machine (aka Bon Iver and The National's Aaron Dessner).
Earlier this year, Stipe released the world's first ever commercially available bioplastic vinyl.
The indie icon's new, Brian Eno-produced solo single Future If Future is featured on a split 12" release with fellow visionary musician Beatie Wolfe. Limited to 500 copies, the 12" is pressed to sustainable bioplastic, differentiating it from the traditional method of pressing to the less environmentally friendly polyvinyl chloride.
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The release is a world first and was made available for purchase via Bandcamp, thanks to the Brian Eno co-founded enviro charity EarthPercent and Evolution Music. All proceeds from the 12" sales will go toward EarthPercent’s five core areas of work: greening music, energy transition, climate justice, legal and policy change, and protecting nature.
Stipe shared his enthusiasm for the project, sharing his thoughts on the release in a statement.
“I’m thrilled to be working with EarthPercent and Evolution Music on this release, imagining positive innovation through action. Simply showing that this type of solution-based project is possible opens pathways to a brighter future.”