Week in Pop: Daddy, Hellrazor, JEEN., The Lentils

Sjimon Gompers

The multidisciplinary patriarch on the rise to be the new king of New York—Daddy; photographed by Isabella Tan.

Daddy

NYC icon Daddy unveils new single & clothing line; photographed by Isabella Tan.

Having debuted his first single “I Think I’m in Love” over two years ago, NYC’s Daddy has been busy at work restructuring & reshaping his sounds, styles, & brand sensibilities with word of a new album along with his own Daddy clothing line. With word of the upcoming album Youth FM that was two plus years in the making—Daddy presents the world premiere of the new single “Loser” fresh off the heels of “Lost Kids” ft. Ben G that exhibits the ever-expansive musician/director/comedian & more elaborating upon an ever evolving skill-set of style of mediums & aesthetics. From launch of Daddy’s new store of sweet threads & steez—textiles & sophisticated sounds run parallel lines from an underground artist on the rise who is moving in a variety of progressive directions.

Fresh off the upcoming Youth FM album, Daddy’s “Loser” is a shoulder-shrugging ode to living the life that you want to live outside the impositions & expectations of others. Blending a vintage lo-fi latitude with crafty production qualities that beautifully blend together melodies, harmonies & throwback drum machines—Daddy states his case with the memorable sing-along chorus of “you say I’m a loser, because I’m a chooser, you say I’m a loser, because I’m a dreamer…” The misunderstood life of Daddy is expressed amid a world where the disapproving inquiries & commentaries of others roll right off the artist’s shrugged shoulders and to the wayside as Daddy lives the creative life he chooses to live. From an inspired production of cleverly arranged synths, cool keyboard choices & an arrangement that is an earworm that will burrow deep into the recesses of your consciousness on a near constant loop. The track skips like a stone to the style & speed of Daddy’s own beat where the artist eschews the conventions of contrivances with a smile & the smack-down of lyrics of, I don’t want to get a job that I hate, I don’t want to get some friends that I hate, I don’t want to live my life on the plate, I’d rather at home & masturbate… “Loser” showcases Daddy’s future r&b momentum that bridges the smooth pop of yesterday’s new romantics with the limitless multidisciplinary dreams brought to you by the aesthetes of tomorrow.

Catching up with Daddy; photographed by Isabella Tan.

We caught up with Daddy in the following insightful & candid interview discussion:

Tell us what sorts of events have been happening over the course of the past few years that have further inspired the making of Youth FM.

I finished school a semester early and moved back in with my parents. I had no job, or plans of getting one. I just wanted to focus on my art and chase my dreams, which caused a lot of arguments at home with my parents. At the same time I had a lot of time to reflect on my time in college and many of my friendships. It saddened me how friendships were so digital and empty or solely based on reputation and self-interest or drugs. I was so lost about what to do and where to go in life. In film school or art school in general nobody teaches you how to survive in the world as an artist because there’s no straight path to doing that. So I freaked out a bit. But then I ended up going to Cuba with an old friend who I hadn’t been cool with for some time. Being away from everyone with no internet and phone access was exactly what I needed. It really cleared my mind. My girlfriend and brother were and still are my voices of reason. They opened me up to realize and battle my own ego which is what the album is really about in the end. I’m not perfect. I’m still battling my ego and maturing. This album is my journey so far.

There is a particular lush & bright cadence that permeates this record that shimmers with a feel of newness. Was this particular bright quality of the album something you intended while writing & recording?

In a way yes. I love to combine harsh drums with beautiful/bright melodies, whether it’s in the beat or with my voice. I think that was just my way of representing the confusion of early twenties and life after graduating. It was the most exciting time of life so far but also the most confusing in terms of figuring out how to get to where I want to be and just growing up. But at the same time I don’t think I really planned it. My creative process was I’d wake up, turn on my computer, and grab my guitar and laptop and just jam. As soon as I’d have the beat I’d just sing into the microphone exactly what was on my mind, which is why the lyrics are so straightforward most of the time. I didn’t really over-think and write. I just let go and had fun.

With notions of youthful sentiments along with radio frequency affinities; what for you were some of the childhood inspirations & favorite moments & memories of listening to the radio that informed this album?

Summer car rides. My dad never liked driving with the windows down and the music loud so I think that made me have a craving for loud music, windows down, and a car full of friends. Every time I make a song I go for a drive and listen to it at sunset or night while driving around the city. That’s like the ultimate test for whether or not I like a song I make. It’s also my favorite activity, which is why I relate heavily with Ryan Gosling’s character in Drive. We both just ride around at night listening to 80s pop songs.

Tell us stories too about the /self-conscious/self-obsessions heard on the addictive “Loser”.

The week after I finished school and moved in with my parents, I was sitting on the couch relaxing in the living room and my mom started questioning me about if I had any plans of getting a job or doing anything outside of my art and dreams now that I was out of school. I said no because I just thought I’d focus on making an album, writing and performing stand up, and writing and directing a feature film by the end of summer. Throughout the next few months we’d argue constantly about how unrealistic I was being. My mom and dad would grill me about getting a job but I just didn’t want to settle into something I hated. I really believed I could make a living off of my art. I had worked as a freelance commercial video editor and interned at a few magazines before graduating and I hated most of the environments I was in. They were usually full of older people who hated their jobs and how their lives turned out so I didn’t want to surround myself with that energy again. I also was questioning a lot of my friendships and how so many people I know were just giving up and settling into mundane routines and drug habits, and this song just hit me one day. I was just joking around when I sang it at first and I wasn’t going to put it out but my brother told me to believe in myself and my true feelings. Thanks Ben!

Sunglasses at night with Daddy; photographed by Isabella Tan.

What sorts of learning experiences do both losing and winning at life teach you?

Winning: Satisfaction and fulfillment. It’s one of the best feelings in life to achieve a goal—big or small. But winning can also lead to comfort and laziness. You can learn what works from winning if you stay aware but you have to lose too. Winning can build up people’s egos and make them feel like they know it all. But in the end winning is a great accomplishment after working hard towards something. You also have to define what winning is for yourself. It can’t be linked to what others want for you or what you believe will make others proud. It has to be for you.

Losing: Losing is the best way to learn. It can be painful and upsetting but in the end if you never lose you’ll never learn. Losing can be an ego check too. It can remind you to be humble and remember that you’re not perfect. Everyone fails. Failing helped me stop focusing on pleasing others with my art and instead just do exactly what I want to do for the love of it. Losing can inspire innovation. That’s what happens when new technology disrupts an industry. The winners are those who adapt after losing. A lot of people fail and give up because of fear of failing again, or the frustration and pain is too much to handle but once you put your ego to the side and keep fighting you can do things you never thought you were capable of doing.

Other life experiences lately that have inspired you lately?

My relationship with my girlfriend has been a big inspiration. I’m learning to communicate and express more because of her. We’re both learning how to love—each other and ourselves. The world needs more love right now. My brother and I got racially profiled by some guy who didn’t believe we belonged in an apartment building he lived in while we were entering to visit a friend. The dude literally forced the entrance door shut on us and held it closed with so much anger. That was a sad experience. Especially since he was with his wife and baby, so it made me sad about what that child will grow up to believe. It’s important for artists to discuss what’s happening and I love Marvin Gaye’s What’s Going On album so I do want to take inspiration from that to deal with what’s going on today. Seeing my parents grow and get closer to retirement too has me seeing them, love, and life differently. My brother will always be one of my biggest inspirations. He works so hard to be honest and vulnerable always. He’s also the hardest working artist I know. He really takes things seriously in order to master his craft. But I also got a job at GQ now which is cool as shit! So I’m not as lost or as much of a broke college grad as I was before. I definitely wanna make some cool sounding music too! Like some Kanye and Skateboard P things. This album was very DIY which I love but I feel like the next one might be tighter and I’ll focus much more on detail and quality. I don’t want the next project to sound like a bedroom album. STADIUMS!

The sweet styles of Daddy; photographed by Isabella Tan.

Local NYC artists that you are really into?

My favorite local NYC artists are the people around me. My brother, Benji Ramazani, is the greatest dancer, rapper, singer, and producer alive in my opinion. The world doesn’t deserve him. He’s got a few brief appearances on the album. But I’m excited for him to share his art soon enough. My girlfriend Akili is a super talented photographer, singer—she’s on the album too—filmmaker, and a poet. She just recently released her first poetry book, Awakening. She’s inspired me to stop hoarding my work and just put things out and believe in my ideas. These two are my best friends and inspirations, not just because they’re my brother and girlfriend but because they’re the most honest, real, loving, and caring people I’ve ever met. They’re true artists.

Other not-so-local artists that you are really into?

Whitney Houston is my mom. Kanye is my dad. I’m really into Steve Lacy, Mac DeMarco, Cosmo Pyke, Toro Y Moi, Jay Som, Men I Trust, Peach Pit, Rat Boy, Rex Orange County, Tyler The Creator, SZA, Stevie Wonder, and Connan Mockasin, among so much more.

Styling & merch profiling with the one & only Daddy; photographed by Isabella Tan.

Fall/winter plans for Daddy?

I recently released my clothing line, Shake It For Daddy, and just hope to grow that more and more. I also am working on a Youth FM zine about youth, creativity, and post college survival. I’m also working on a Youth FM animated series too. I want to get back into stand up comedy. I took a hiatus while making the album. There are a few other things too but I can’t talk too much about those things yet.

Hopes, prayers, meditations, advice & parting wisdom?

I just hope to inspire others to believe they can do all the things they want to do. Life’s too short to not do the things that make us happy. Before I graduated from college people kept telling me to enjoy college because once I graduated I wouldn’t have time and freedom to do what I love but I’ve discovered that all that was a lie. You can always find a way to make your ideas come to life somehow some way. That’s the philosophy I believe in and try to incorporate in all of my work whether it’s the clothing line, the album, my films, etc. I believe in the impossible. I don’t care how silly people think I am and you shouldn’t either. I released a short film, Milkshakes & Dreams, recently that says it all.

Single cover art for Daddy’s “Loser”; photographed by Abi Polinsky.

Daddy’s upcoming album Youth FM will be available TBD. Listen to more via Soundcloud & check out Daddy’s new clothing line here.

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