Published Mar 05, 2013Speaking with Arthur Ashin (otherwise known as Autre Ne Veut), one quickly surmises that Anxiety is more than a title for his second full length album — it's a concept that the 30-year old Brooklynite seems intimately familiar with. Since his self-titled 2010 avant-pop/electronic/R&B debut, he's progressed from the relative comfort of online anonymity to legitimate indie R&B curio. Ashin has gone on record that he himself struggles with an anxiety disorder but remarks that this doesn't really factor into a project such as Anxiety; rather it was a trope that he simply wished to explore this time out.
How has your approach to creating music changed with this latest record?
My first record was a compilation of doing music at home from 2005 to 2008. It was a hodgepodge mix of stuff. This record was all songs written in advance and produced in a studio at the same time. So sonically, it's like an upgrade. But also I was trying a different approach to what sort of content I was repurposing. The first record was a lot more '80s: I was thinking about stuff like [Jamaican reggae producer Lee "Scratch" Perry's] the Upsetters and weird harmonies like that, where with this one I was referencing stuff like Katy Perry.
What's the creative process?
I write songs before I go into the studio. I probably have two or three records' worth of material. And just bring them in and start fucking around with production and see what pans out or feels good.
The concept of anxiety can be a pretty loaded and powerful thing. Why did you decide to explore this theme?
My life through the past few years is I've been in school and in a weird relationship. But the plan with the record was to really get at this baseline of anxiety that a lot of people go through — just the stressful shit that goes on in people's lives. It's not a symbol of me being freaked out in particular.
Who are your genre contemporaries right now? Do you stay aware of who is doing what in the R&B scene right now?
There are a lot of people out right how who are playing with ideas of R&B — messing with it and pushing the boundaries of what existed before. But I'm just making music for myself at the end of the day. It's one of those things: I think about other people [who] I know are doing stuff and I respect a lot. But I don't know if I think about myself in terms of them being over there and me being over here.