Last Friday, October 2nd via Sophomore Slump in partnership with Kartel Music Group, the musician Speelburg released his debut studio album, “Porshe.” The opening track from this collection is called “Everything I Know” and it features Cautious Clay (Josh Karpeh) on sax. The carefree and upbeat pop song, which came together serendipitously with his friend in New York City, sets the tone for “Porsche.”
“A couple years ago, I went to New York for the first time,” shares Speelburg (Noah Sacré). “Cautious Clay and I had been messaging through SoundCloud for a little while, so we decided to meet in real life and work on some music. I went over to his place and since I already had this idea on a hard drive, it made sense to expand on it. I remember we worked on some percussion stuff and he laid down that beautiful sax part, which has a real South African township music vibe to it. That’s what I love about this album. So many parts were recorded in different locations, but I can remember each one, and all those unique experiences come together to form a really colorful record. I had been trying to write a song about the idea of having threesomes in Paris for a while. The idealized escapism of an experience like that, that would likely just happen out of the blue and develop into something awkward and fun, where you’re out of your comfort zone and just winging it was a great backdrop for bigger themes in the track and album. Hopefully, we’ll get to dance and play it together live sometime soon!”
Written and produced by Speelburg, with Laurie James Ross on select tracks, the 11 songs on “Porsche” range from love, happiness and grief as a result of his mom’s death a few years ago, with samples from childhood tapes woven throughout the album. Conceptually, the self-proclaimed movie buff, as evidenced by his stage name, also questions celebrity, without judgement, and touches upon pop culture and his huge love of cinema throughout the album.
Since his debut in 2014, Speelburg has amassed over 11 million total streams from previous releases, including his 2019 single “Say Hello,” which was prominently featured in commercials for Samsung and Google Pixel earlier this year. The Belgian-American singer, songwriter and producer, who splits his time between Los Angeles and England, has received accolades and support from Noisey, Ones To Watch, The Line of Best Fit, Pigeons & Planes, Clash Magazine, SPIN, BBC Radio and KCRW, among many others, throughout his growing career. Speelburg is as much a compelling and exciting visual artist as he is an innovative musician, as best represented by his previous videos for “Screener Season,” his ode to Sofia Coppola films, and the animated “Headlights” video.
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Learn more about Speelburg in the following All Access interview:
Thank you for your time. Given these unusual Covid-19 times, what does a typical day look like for you? How have you adjusted to these times? What has changed about your life?
I’m in a unique position where I work from home anyway, so my work life hasn’t changed all that much. That said, because I have a record coming out, I’ve been directing way more in the lead-up to the album release but I would have had to do that anyway. But yeah, it still really sucks. I was supposed to go spend some time in the States, including SXSW, and that all fell through 6 days before my flight. The absence of shows has been hard. It’s the thing I want to do the most and have next to no way of scratching that itch.
What has been the hardest/most challenging part about being quarantined? Is your city starting to open up more now? What has that been like for you watching that unfold?
Besides the no shows thing, being stuck inside waiting to find out if I had COVID was a long two weeks. My partner got it and every tiny little headache had me certain I caught it. Turns out I did not, and the panic, though justifiable, was all in my head.
It’s a hard thing. You both want the world to stay closed and stay safe but you also want everything back to normal. I’m playing my first show with my band next week. It’s so freaking exciting. It’s live streamed, but apparently we’ll get to see people’s faces and interact with them. We are in the future now.
How have you been able to use social media during these unprecedented times? Are you finding that you use it even more now to stay connected to fans and other musicians? Have you changed the way that you utilize it these days?
I’ve been DMing Gwyneth Paltrow hoping she answers me. So far I haven’t heard back.
What has it been like having to reschedule your shows for this year? Are there shows getting scheduled for 2021 that you already looking forward to or you waiting to start making future tour plans?
It absolutely sucks having all your shows cancelled. As I said, I was supposed to play SXSW and then was going to spend a month in LA and that all got cancelled. We had a bunch of touring things planned for 2020. Some have moved, some were cancelled. There’s a bunch of exciting stuff in the works for next year, but we’ll be announcing that shortly.
Since we are all really missing live music, can you recall a favorite show of yours from the past? What do you think ultimately makes for a great show for you? What has been a favorite show of yours by another artist?
I saw Pond like 2 years ago. It was psychedelic and wild. It was a mid-week show and I was sober, but it was so loud and colorful, it felt like a festival. Watching that show was like being inches from the surface of the sun and happily watching your skin melt off your body. The crowd reached true oneness.
How did you first come up with your artist name? Why not just go by your own real name?
Jerry Seinfeld seems to have enjoyed true success by naming his show ‘Seinfeld’. Naming the project after myself would have guaranteed that same level of fame. I wanted a challenge.
Let’s talk about your debut album, “Porsche.” What was it like making this collection? How long did it take to make? Did anything surprise you about the overall process? Were there any unexpected challenges?
The album took about 2 years to complete. For sure I’m a different writer now than I was going in.
I think the challenge was making something I would want to keep listening to and playing live, as well as putting so much importance early on writing singles. People around me at the time were telling me to get those out of the way and then I can have fun. The whole thing about writing a record is that it should be fun. Doing it that way, you put too much pressure on yourself and you end up sounding like someone else. I don’t think Porsche is the greatest record out there, but I do think this is the best I will ever make it, and there’s nothing else left to do to it.
How do you think your already released singles like “Everything I Know” prepares listeners for more of your first album?
I think the combination of samples, upbeat music and weird-ass lyrics is a pretty good harbinger for the rest of the record, but there’s so many different styles on here, I wouldn’t say it necessarily takes it where you expect.
Generally, how do you go about writing your music? Do you follow a process each time you go to write a song?
For a little while, sure. Until I feel like I’m writing the same song over and over. Then it’s time to pick up a new instrument, go on a hike or visit another city or whatever. Anything to stimulate your mind. Modern art museums are great for that. And listening to new music until something inspires you is a great way to keep your songwriting muscles in shape. I’d also suggest having a good Logic / Ableton / ProTools template ready every time you open a new session. It’ll mean you get to make music so much quicker.
How do you think future music is going to be influenced by this incredible and absolutely necessary Black Lives Matter movement that the US has been going through? How exactly is it inspiring you and your music?
I don’t think I do all that well at writing straight-up Bob Dylan style guitar and vocals protest songs.
I for sure add some of those themes in my work, but they’re not always all that obvious. I wish I could, but it always comes out sounding like a rip off.
That said, the world needs it now more than ever. Art and music are going to help contextualize a lot of what we’re seeing around us and look at it from new perspectives and hopefully write history in a more nuanced way. People aren’t rioting because everything is alright, we need change.
I imagine the music being written right now is going to be pretty radical and I can’t wait for it.
If you could get into the studio with any artist today and collaborate on a new song for you, who would it be and why?
I really like Sheer Mag. I’d love to make a record with them. I know my album sounds nothing like them, but I don’t expect my next record to sound anything like Porsche.
What would your dream music video look like right now?
It would be directed by Sofia Coppola and be jointly produced by A24 and Canada.
It would be very arty, with a couple celebrity cameos, including Gwyneth. It would be one old school Hollywood dance sequence, all filmed in technicolor. Kind of like my version of “West Side Story.” And I know Steven Spielberg is directing his own version, but mine would be a different Speelburg.
If you could go back in time and tell your younger musician self something about this industry or how your career was going to progress, what would you say?
I would probably say ‘be less precious and release more music.’ I’m better at finishing music now, but I think if something is sitting on your hard drive for 3 years at 80% completion, either accept you’re never going to get that 20% done and just get it out or sit down and actually do it instead of talking about it. And direct your own stuff because YouTube’s where it’s at and making movies is super fun.