A week ago, Red Bull Sound Select teamed up with Afropunk for a curated concert series featuring emerging artists Jesse Boykins III, Lion Babe, Kandace Springs and OSHUN. The closing act, Jesse Boykins III, performed to a packed house at Baby’s All Right, pleasing the crowd with his dynamic stage presence and exciting lyrics from his second solo album, Love Apparatus. Fans who appreciate D’Angelo’s early work would enjoy Boykins’ intergalactic melodies, paired with subtle hints of classic soul and reggae beats.
We caught up with Boykins to talk about his upcoming tour with Brit-pop singer Jessie Ware and the release of his first mixtape, slated to arrive this summer.
How did you and Afropunk decide to join forces?
“I’ve been a prominent part of Brooklyn culture for the past few years, as far as performing at pretty prolific venues and events like ‘Brooklyn Museum First Saturdays’ and festivals based in Brooklyn. Afropunk has always been a well-known entity in Brooklyn and NYC among art, culture and innovative music culture, here. They reached out and I agreed to create an experience with them.”
What are you most looking forward to about touring with Jessie Ware?
“Learning, mostly spending time with Jessie and her team, and creating an inspirational flow in all the cities we play. Its just an honor to have an artist like Jessie Ware not only appreciate the music, but give me the opportunity to expand my music to her fan base, as well. I’m just going to show my appreciation on every stage I set foot on by giving the people positive energy, a good time and something they’ll never want to forget.”
You have a mixtape coming out. what was the process of picking the concepts and artists involved on this project?
“It’s actually my first mixtape and I’ve been having fun looking at it more like a sonic art installation and collage piece; finding layers and layers of vibes that communicate my current way of thinking and loving. I love conceptual work and this feels like I have no limitations. It’s exciting and fresh. As far as choosing the artist and producers to work with, it’s really been organic and beautiful to have my peers want to be a part of this moment with me.”
We love your, “Our Tonight Is Mine,” video. Talk about the clip’s inspiration.
“I basically look at the visual behind the music as a statement piece. I feel people lose themselves in trying to be a part of all these things—trying to look for great experiences and intimacy through the superficial when it all just comes down to making moments and using romance. Spontaneity impacts the root of what I feel keeps true relationships, true love, and true lust alive. ‘I just want to be with you tonight, even if the world doesn’t condone our love’ being fearless in your connection with your other half.”
What’s the ultimate band you’d love to collaborate with?
“I really love bands like Little Dragon, Hiatus Kaiyote, MGMT, Grizzly Bear, Gorillaz, and the ROOTS. When it comes to musician and producers I’d like to work with, I would say André 3000, Pharrell Williams, Kanye West, Rick Rubin, John Legend and Will.i.am. I could go on forever—I love collaborative settings.”
What do you love about performing?
“There is an amazing series of emotions that come with my live performance and trying to solidify the magic in the feelings that come over me when I’m performing. I currently prefer intimate settings where I can feel and see the audience’s facial expressions— see them losing it to the music. Then, I react with more energy and more passion. One of my favorite shows ever was my release concert in LA last year at the Bootleg Theater. It was sold out about 500 people, all screaming and so deep in it with me that I felt like I was going to fucking levitate. I cried during two songs because I had worked so hard to get my album, Love Apparatus, out to my fans and they knew all the words and responded to all the band shifts and breakdowns amazingly. It was magical.”