Bilal sat down to discuss his new album A Love Surreal in anticipation of its February 26th release date. Returning to a point of origin as he prepares to drop his latest project, Bilal refers to the experience as one that has been somewhat surreal as he comes full circle for his latest offering – an ode to love and an open letter to women.
The new album I like to say is mixture of a lot of different sounds. I like to call it acid-jazz, funk, kind of blues album, with the influence of hip-hop definitely. I was inspired by Salvador Dali, that’s where surrealism came from. I was thinking of an album that never came out. I had an album on Interscope that was called Love For Sale, and it got shelved, so I just named this one A Love Surreal, because I felt like I was right back at square one. For the longest I was supposed to sign with E1 and actually put Love For Sale out, but you know, things happen. It’s surreal that I’m right back at the same spot about to put our a record with them. Also, surreal – the word surrealism – my inspiration for this record, I got a lot of concepts from Salvador Dali and the way he made his art pieces, it almost looks three-dimensional, and I wanted to do that with the sound of this album. So this record is almost like a sonic art piece.
“Back To Love,” it really speaks about emotion and feeling of this album. Airtights’ Revenge was an album that I had really written for the male listener. I was really speaking about a lot of issues and questions that I had in my own mind about life, government, religion, economy, my children, things of that nature. But on this record, I’m getting back to speaking about love and I really feel like I’m speaking to women on this record. It’s a woman’s feeling and it’s loving, you know.
Finding himself at the helm as producer for all of the tracks on the album he discusses the welcome responsibility and his own dedication to conveying his ideas with as little interference as possible.
The progression has been that I’ve slowly started to produce more on each record. 1st Born Second, I think I produced three records on there; Airtights’ Revenge, I produced just about every record and if I didn’t produce it I was working with the producer to get the sound. So on this new record I’ve produced as much as I’ve done before, so I would say this record has more of a complete sound from my own head.
Commenting on fellow musicians, Bilal touched on how a longstanding friendship with Robert Glasper has contributed to his work. A more recent friendship with Flying Lotus adds infinite possibility to the places he may eventually take his sound – especially with Glasper in the mix.
Rob’s played on every one of my albums from 1st Born Second on, he’s even playing on this record, so I’ve known Rob since college basically. We were running buddies-
I always wanted to do some things with Flying Lotus, he’s a producer out of Los Angeles. I’ve love to do some things with him to see what comes from that. We’re good friends and when I’m out in LA I’m hanging at his crib, we mess around with some music here and there, but I’d love to do a record with that cat, he’s awesome.
props to L+T