One of the beautiful things about music is that it can often surprise you as artists develop and grow into different sounds and styles throughout their careers. Sometimes it can take an artist several tries before they become one with their signature sound and while it's important to never forget your roots, there are no rules when it comes to selecting genres. This is especially true in an electronic age where fans thirst for a little bit of everything to fit their own ever-changing moods and needs. Next To Blue has been on quite the journey himself, dabbling in acting, songwriting and music. Since 2014 he has bounced between sounds, producing atmospheric future bass style tracks while also releasing harder dubstep songs under the moniker Tank Parade.
The LA-based producer has since evolved his earlier style to what we now hear today on the release of his debut album Apollyon. A strong and very well arranged collection of tracks takes listeners to another world using complimentary synths and sounds as you make your way through the project. Crisp vocals on tracks such as "Angel Lung," "Faith" and "Vanilla Internet" bring the album some soul while the more bouncy "Glimmer Sequence" and "Luv Me" make you want to jump around with your friends on the rail, giving you all the energy you need to keep pushing forward.
The album's name Apollyon is actually the Greek name for the Angel of Death, which is represented by the ghost in the cover. Each of the tracks in Apollyon depicts their own chapter in a story with a hand-drawn symbol (by AJ Romero) to represent each one. These symbols on the cover are placed as the hours of a clock from tracks 1-12. Certain songs such as Kiki are sparkly and lighthearted while others such as trails are charged with emotion.
When asked about where Next To Blue found his inspiration for Apollyon, it was really a personal experience.
"As far as inspiration goes, I was channeling a lot of the feelings of my initial music trajectory being squashed in LA and based my music on things and experiences that helped me crawl back to where I am today. One example. 'Seraphite,' with Ellzo, was a result of playing Last of Us 2 so many times and really resonating with the arc of the characters Abby, Lev, and Yara. They reclaimed their humanity and I felt like I was reclaiming my agency as an artist. I tried to replicate a lot of classic synth styles and sounds and mash them against a wall of modern musical styles. Lots of analog saw plucks and bare chords from simple soundwaves."
Stream Apollyon below with LA label and collective Good Society and be on the lookout for the official music video for "Angel Lung" coming soon.