Early Talks w/ Myles Cameron

Myles Cameron is an act whose music I became familiar with not too long ago when I had the opportunity to cover the first single (“Summer ‘19”) off of his new EP, “Black Boys Look Blue”. Ever since, Cameron’s music has been heavy in my rotation as he’s consistently proven that his projects are not only introspective masterpieces, but awe inspiring bodies of work that just about any listener could thoroughly enjoy. Originally from Westchester, NY, the 24 year old writes music exploring his experiences growing up in American suburbia. After 3 singles and nearly 2 years since his last project, on Friday, October 1st, Cameron finally released his third and final EP “Black Boys Look Blue” and all I have to say about it is “wow!”. Inspired by the visual direction of Moonlight, the EP is a cross between an album of summer love set against the backdrop of tense scenes of racial inequality in America. Following singles “Summer ‘19”, “Lord of the Flies”, and “Heaven’s Hands”, the project’s remaining tracks are experimental and richly realized, different from anything you may have heard from Cameron before. That said, it would be a disservice to society if I didn’t take the opportunity to interview the man himself, so a few weeks back I dug into the EP with Cameron and learned more about who Myles really is. If you’re looking for a deep dive into the project or just an intro to Cameron, there’s no better place to start than right here: 

JU: For fans who are just getting to know you now, who is Myles Cameron? Where are you from? How old are you? How did you get your start in music?

MC: I’m 24. I currently live in New York City but I grew up in the suburbs. I’ve been making music for 9 years now and I started when I was in my Sophomore year of high school. I thought I was an athlete, but I was 5’3” at age fifteen and so I realized that I wasn’t going to be on the basketball team and I needed to find something new. And ya, so it happened to be around the time that Odd Future, Frank Ocean, and peak Kanye was happening, at least in my opinion peak Kanye. Yeezus era Kanye was happening. Ya, I just found myself super inspired by all that stuff and was spending a lot of time by the piano, just stealing the chords from John Legend songs and writing my own sh*t on top. Then I started posting stuff on Soundcloud and met the producer that I still work with today, Freddie Scoca, through those early demos and cuts and nine years later I am still at it. Still cooking and trying to get better, trying to get great at this.

JU: Having grown up in Westchester, NY, just outside of the city, must have been an interesting experience. While I know that you talk about it quite a bit in your music, how did your experience growing up in suburbia influence your music?

MC: I was thinking about this recently actually. Part of the reason why I’ve gravitated to the cultural figures and artists that I have been so inspired by is probably because being a Black kid growing up in these super White areas and neighborhoods its like you don’t see a whole lot of representation of yourself in your local area and you don’t see a whole lot of it in the media or cultural lexicon either. I realize that I’m more conscious of it now, but I’ve always been very drawn to people who tend to operate outside of the binary of what’s stereotypically Black and what is stereotypically White. So someone like Solange (Knowles) or Frank Ocean or Tyler (The Creator) or Pharrell (Williams) or André (3000). Frank, for example, is as inspired by indie and Radiohead as he is by Kanye or Marvin Gaye or traditionally Black artists. Ya, I think I’ve always been attracted to artists like that and I think that’s what started to draw me towards art to explore that side of myself. 

JU: While I know you just talked about this quite a bit, but your sound and writing style are so unique that I felt the need to ask this. Besides those who you’ve already mentioned, who do you listen to outside of your own music and what artists have influenced your sound the most? 

MC: I think those are kind of two different questions. For the first one, “who do I listen to”, during this project I was listening to a lot of rock. I don’t know if I grew up listening to a whole lot of rock music, but I guess I was listening to a good amount of pop-punk which was pretty cool when I was in middle school. That was some of the first music that I was buying on iTunes. Paramore, Mayday Parade,  and All Time Low all come to mind. But ya, I spent a lot of time this year listening to Radiohead and Nirvana, and even some 80’s sh*t like The Smiths and The Strokes and getting some context  for what was happening before the moment that I started listening to stuff that has come out of the traditional rock genre. I was really inspired by the energy of rock music. I was dissecting it while I was listening to it. There’s a lot of people using parts of their voices that you wouldn’t usually use as an r&b singer. Like purposefully writing sh*t that is really high to get that strain in your voice and get the energy that comes from that. And the distortion of guitars is different from the music I usually listen to, because I’ve listened to a lot of hip-hop, r&b, and electronic music in the past. I’m also a singer-songwriter guy so I love Phoebe Bridgers and Kacey Musgraves. I’ve been spinning their records a lot recently. 

JU: Not too long ago, I wrote on your single, “Summer 19’”. Since then, you’ve released quite a bit of music including two more singles and an EP. That said, previous to “Summer ‘19”, you hadn’t released since early 2020 when you dropped “Black Sheep” in February 2020. What can you tell us about the last year and a half and what you’ve been up to? I heard you chose from about 100 songs for this EP, so I’d assume that’s been your main focus. 

MC: That whole roll out and project was totally planned, I just wanted to roll it out in a way that made me feel good about it. The last year and a half has been a weird time to be a person and be someone who is trying to make sh*t. I graduated college, went home and was just going to the studio and making stuff. Trying to figure out adult life and what life’s going to be after college. I think it’s really hard to be an artist and becoming really good at something takes a long time and that’s been my mentality for the 100 songs. It’s just practice. If you want to be great at basketball, you put up shots everyday and I just don’t think you have the time to do that as an artist if you are working a really demanding job, so my whole thing has been trying to figure out a situation for myself that’s sustainable where I’m not on a time crunch trying to figure out how much savings I have and determining how much longer I can afford to do this. Now, I’m only working part-time now, like three days a week, so I figured it out. It’s taken me about a year and a half, but I definitely figured it out. 

JU: A few weeks ago you released a full, six song EP called “Black Boys Look Blue” which is truly an experience. I’ve had it on repeat ever since the drop. Talk to me a bit about the creative process, how the project came to be and who you worked with on it? 

MC: The process was just making a lot of music. It’s funny because a lot of the tracks that often resonate come together in pairs for me sometimes. I had made “Science Fiction” and a couple of other ones early on that I liked, but didn’t make it (on the project). And then maybe 30 demos later, I made “Summer ‘19” and “The Blue”, and then like 20 demos later on this retreat that we did at an Airbnb I made “Lord of the Flies” and “Heaven’s Hands”. It’s just funny how it all works out like that. But ya, it was me, Frankie (Scoca), and my manager, Nishant Karivnkop, who played a big part in things even in a supporting role. I released this project under a distribution company called Independent.co and he made that happen. I was able to get enough of an advance to make the visuals look the way I wanted them to. Shoutout to Moise and Downtown Kayoto, who are two artists that I work with and two friends of mine who I worked with on the project. The Moise song, “Summer ‘19”, happened when we were on a Facetime catching up about the year and he sent me some guitar stems at the end (of the call) and one of them was one that he worked on with another producer named Alex Kimball who co-produced “Heaven’s Hands” and “Summer ‘19”. That was the core group. And then I have some visual people, Xavier and Texas Isaiah. This project was just me working with friends and meeting some people along the way, which I think is a testament to friendship and kinship. 

JU: A lot of artists have a lot to say, but don’t actually say much. You’re different from this pack and that clearly shows in your newest project, “Black Boys Look Blue”. Talk to me a bit about the message behind the project and what you looked to accomplish with it?

MC: I don’t know man. People can kind of interpret it whatever way they want. I’m kind of past the point as an artist of trying to micromanage how people experience and interpret my music. I’m just really committed to honesty and charting where I’m at in life and on this journey of trying to become someone who really does this sh*t. That’s almost all I want to say. I’m just trying to be honest. This project contains all of the different things I’ve been thinking about and places I’ve been over the last two years. The most resonant memories that stick out the most are kind of frozen in this. 

JU: From a live perspective, do you have any plans to tour around this EP? What can we expect from you in the coming months?

MC: Ya, it’s definitely a weird time for performing since live music is just now coming back. I’m definitely going to be performing in New York at some point in the next few months. We are kind of working that out right now. And ya, I don’t know, we will see!

JU: I saw that back in September when you announced the EP, you said “the third and final EP”. Does this mean that we expect an album next and what are your plans outside of your next project for releasing?

MC: Ya, I’m just being dramatic, I’m making an album next! I’ve got about four tracks for the album at this point, I think. So that’s definitely happening, but it will come out when it’s ready. This EP just came out so I think I have a good amount of time. I’ll probably do some stand alone singles to bridge the gap, but the album will be out when it’s ready. 

JU: What are your goals from the remainder of 2021 and what do you look to accomplish in 2022? 

MC: That’s a big one. My goals for the rest of the year are… I’ve been focusing on what type of life I want to live. Day to day, week to week, what does that look like? What are things that make me happy that I want to include, what are habits that I don’t want to include. Just trying to free up space and get rid of the things and habits that I don’t want to carry with me. My goal for the rest of the year is to enjoy everyday and my goal for 2022 is to enjoy making an album and the situation that I’ve put myself in through luck and working at it for a long time!

Related

morgen / unaccompanied minor (Q&A)

One of the most rewarding parts about writing for Early Rising is the ability to grow alongside an artist. What feels like...

“YOU’RE NOT HARRY STYLES” // DYLAN (Q&A)

In a beaming array of pop, rock, and electric-infused melodies, Dylan reintroduces her style with her latest release, "You're Not Harry Styles."...