The genre-bending played through with ease on Seattle’s electronic trio The Flavr Blue’s vibey sophomore album, Blue Dream (due Oct. 27). With metallic alternative sounds blending against rap lyrics, their memorable R&B rhythms blare out unexpectedly on their forthcoming self-produced project. Still, the eclectic emerald city crew is aiming high with the release of Blue Dream and inked a few socially conscious records, and soon-to-be mainstream pop choruses, including their leading tune, “Top Down.”
The Flavr Blue’s vibrantly unique soundscapes have earned viral praise since their 2012 debut, Pisces, with distinguished EPs Bright Vices and Love Notes to follow. Musicians Hollis, Lace and Parker’s charismatics are among the few standing male/female acts to hit airwaves from the west — and they are excited to share their first-ever LA-based body of work. The breakdowns on Blue Dream prove this LP as their most danceable, with the upcoming summery bass-filled single, “My Vice,” in the forefront.
The euphoric artists’ album promotion had their blue lovin’ gang purchasing fan merch off their website as show preparation. While they were locked in the studio independently fashioning their most heartfelt Blue Dream earworms, “143” and “Simple Love.” The group explored new California avenues to draw inspiration from, as The Flavr Blue’s leading-lady, Hollis, channeled this warm energy to heighten her vocal range through melodies on songs, “365,” “All On Me” and “105 Ride.”
Between profound songwriting, gold coast aesthetics, and a sensual interlude, The Flavr Blue’s expression has evolved masterfully. Billboard connected exclusively with the zealous threesome on Blue Dream, potential touring, aspirational collaborations, political qualms and more. Check out the exclusive album stream and our interview with the group below.
You’ve experienced viral success with your independent projects, Pisces (LP), Bright Vices (EP), and Love Notes (EP). What was different about the process of recording your sophomore LP, Blue Dream?
Hollis: I think the cool thing about the creative process of Blue Dream is that is was our most intentional [body of work]. That is the dynamic of The Flavr Blue. We have been evolving as a live act and recording artists. This is great, because that has propelled each element simultaneously. We really took a step back and didn’t take shows. We were working in a very intentional, retreat-like way, in the studio.
It is almost like we were putting ourselves through a writing camp. We wrote a majority of our album and recorded most of it in Los Angeles. It was an atmosphere change for us. But also, LA provided us with something that could appear distracting given the weather and [frequent] activity. But, for us, it was a really focused environment to hone in on the music we wanted to make, and particularly the sound. It was a cohesive, organic creative process. And stemming back, I think what we created [musically] was a way to take listeners on a trip to the west coast.
On your Blue Dream single, “Fetti & Spaghetti,” you rapped “It’s 2017 and there’s Nazi’s in the White House/ People wouldn’t listen, now they quiet as a church mouse.” What are your thoughts on the turn America has recently taken as a whole?
Hollis: We are all feeling it. I never really had a ton of trust in the American government before Trump was elected president. Still, I do believe that with the administration being the way it is, we are really seeing the ugliest and most frightful side of our country’s heritage. And then, there is an amazing thing that happens when you are both defiantly ignorant & defiantly untruthful. [Laughs] [President Trump] is definitely deceitful. I think any level of decorum that they’ve had within our federal government has been stripped.
It is unfortunate and it is costing people their lives and their livelihood. None of it is good. However, it is powerful to see, how ordinary people can mobilize and rise up against what happened.
Hollis you’ve served as the lead producer on breakout music videos, such as Macklemore’s “Thrift Shop.” Do you individually plot the storylines for The Flavr Blue’s visuals?
Parker: Yeah. We work with our friend John-John, who we have been collaborating with since our music video, “We Can Go Blind.” So, yeah, we’ve worked with him on every project except, Love Notes. And joining forces is a really fun organic process. He has had a pretty wild ride since filming, “Thrift Shop.” Jon-Jon gravitated to our music and responds well to it.
He comes to us with ideas. We collectively write and produce everything that happens, even when it is outside of the music. He knows how we present ourselves during the process, for sure. We worked on, “Fetti & Spaghetti,” most recently. That was a really good experience, that we shot on Beacon Hill. Our team got a good collection of Seattle [natives] together. It was kind of like, we shot “Top Down,” in LA, not with John-John, but that was at the beginning of the summer.
That was sort of our A section and B section of Seattle. This was kind of representing both places that influence our music, Seattle, and LA. Jonathan Augustavo is his name.
Speaking of that video, it has some pretty laid-back California vibes. How has that atmosphere influenced your sound?
Lace: That was good for our process, I think, because we recorded every other project in Seattle. It was good to just get out of the creative zone that we used to. California just adds a sprinkle to our music that is just not there if we do it at home. So LA is just a good creative place to step out and be [imaginative] in. That’s the best way to put it.
What does Seattle mean to you?
Lace: Well, it is the city I [was] born in — for all of us it represents something. Hollis was not born there, however, I know her creative blossoming took place in Seattle. So, it is the birthplace of all the creative energy that we pull from. Seattle has quite a good pool of creative talent. It is a good source of inspiration for all of us.
You’ve been promoting “Picture Perfect,” will that be the next single?
Parker: We are working on visuals for “My Vice,” as well as, “Cuz I Wanna.” But we don’t have plans for a “Picture Perfect” visual. I think “Picture Perfect,” in particular, was a sonic exploration for us.
Hollis: It is kind of contouring the intersection between Miami-based, Detroit House [music] and London grime. It is almost like this traveling international, elliptical production. That is the inspiration that created that song. It is moving through space.
Parker: It is a very Flavr Blue style. The song combines a couple strong inspirations from different genres. “Picture Perfect” harps back to everything we have done up until the point. Which is what makes the song interesting.
Your music is genre-bending and blends trappy bass with electronic instrumentation. How did this signature concept come about?
Parker: I think it has something to do with the fact that there is three of us. We are strongly inspired by a lot of different elements. But, we also cross paths on a lot of musical production. So, sonically, Lace and I have always pulled different inspirations over the years.
You can hear the progression in our music projects. There is a lot of exploration there. That is pretty inherent to our creative process in general. Working with Hollis is amazing. She is good at tying everything together. From a writing perspective, that kind of gives us our identity– those are the things that thread all of it through.