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Child Of Lov - An Introduction [First Look Fridays]

Lenny Kravitz, Grace Jones, Lauryn Hill, Lion Babe, Thundercat, SZA & More Rock The Afropunk Festival 2015 in Brooklyn, NY.

Child Of Lov first grabbed hold of our ears last summer with the songs "Give Me" and "Rotisserie" (possibly [?] a psychedelic answer record to D'Angelo's "Chicken Grease.") Fast forward a few seasons and his Crying Thunder mixtape is taking the blogosphere by, um, storm. Okayplayer decided it was high time for The Child Of Lov to step from the shadows to reveal himself as Amsterdam producer Cole Williams– the mysterious musical phenom who had been releasing tracks from the comforts of his bedroom and relative anonymity until recently.

TCOL/Williams has emerged just as he prepares to release his forthcoming self-titled LP – a debut that takes the remnants of the mothership and attempts to launch them back into orbit with a future soul sound heavily influenced by the space bass of David Bowie’s extraterrestrial baritone, the nuances of Stevie Wonder’s inner visions and, yes, the birdgrease still dripping from D’Angelo’s groundbreaking works.  A self-taught musician, Williams applies his limitless ear and instrumental dexterity to the pads, keys and strings to create a percussively driven project that is fearless and emphatically experimental in nature.  This LP features MF DOOM, Thundercat and Damon Albarn in a mash of breakbeats, layered vocals and ballsy aesthetic that prove his aptitude for the electric will fuel his ascent.  The Child Of Lov’s arrival marks a renaissance of experimentalism in soul lead by his ghoulish gospel infused with a solid dose of junkyard funk.

So who is The Child Of Lov? Okayplayer got the mystery man on the phone from the Netherlands to find out. While we got very little of the man himself (for reasons still unclear, Williams spoke with digital distortion over his voice for the duration of the interview) he was gracious enough to give us a bit of insight into his creative process. Read on to discover more:

Okayplayer: How did you begin making music?

The Child Of Lov: I'm not from a musical family.  I'm not from one of those families where they gather around the piano and suddenly start singing.  There was a piano in the house, but nobody really played it.  It was more like a piece of furniture.  I had lessons when I was 7, but it was only for like half a year.  I didn't really practice.  I liked it, but I didn't like the practicing part of it.  I just wanted to have fun.  Then when I was about 14 or 15 I got into Fruityloops and started making beats.  At the same time my mom bought me a second-hand guitar that I really wanted for a long time.  I just started playing - sort of figuring out chords.  After the guitar, the piano was still in the house so I decided to try that as well.  That's how the ball started rolling, really.  Later I bought a bass guitar.  That's how it started, basically.

OKP: What took you from that point to where you are now?

TCOL: I remember when I was starting out making music.  I hadn't really recorded anything yet, but I heard the Voodoo album - the D'Angelo album.  I was like, "This is really something else."  I was really blown away by that album.  Emotionally - spiritually as well.  I just felt, "This is what it's all about."  Making my own music, I sort of wanted to recreate that.  That's how it started.  Making these neo-soul kind of songs.

OKP: You mention D'Angelo.  What were your influences at the time? What inspires your sound now?

TCOL: N.E.R.D.  I bought the Fly Or Die record, which was really a great record.  I listened to a lot of Justified - the Justin Timberlake album that was out then.  Stevie Wonder.  At the same time I was also listening to jazz and sort of getting into Charlie Parker.  The last few years I'm really, really inspired by artists who try to cover a wide range of things.  I love Prince and The Beatles.  I'm listening to a lot of QUEEN, which I never thought I would.  And even D'Angelo.  I went to one of his shows - I think it was last year here in Amsterdam and he did a David Bowie cover.  He's also done some Beatles covers as well.  He covers a pretty wide range too, I think.  He's a great artist.

OKP: What was it like to work with DOOM, Thundercat and Damon Albarn?

Lenny Kravitz, Grace Jones, Lauryn Hill, Lion Babe, Thundercat, SZA & More Rock The Afropunk Festival 2015 in Brooklyn, NY.Child of Lov

TCOL: DOOM is a dodgey dude, you know what I mean?  He's a villain, I guess.  It was hard getting in touch with him, even though my manager already knew him.  Still, he's a guy that's on and off the radar.  It took like a year to get that verse.  In the end it was all gravy.  I met him and it was a new experience for me because he's been very important to me.  His music is still way ahead of the game, I think.  The Madvillain album is one of my favorite albums ever, I would say.  I met Thundercat after an Erykah Badu show.  I actually met Erykah Badu as well, which was also amazing to me.  I almost fainted.  I'm still in love with her in a way.  Thundercat is a great artist.  I think his first record was just out when I met him.  I really liked the George Duke cover that he did and I was really blown away by it.  I was like, "I love your stuff.  Can you do a bassline or something?  Or you can do whatever you want, really."  He was up for it.  So that was pretty cool.

OKP: You have two singles, "Give Me" and "Heal."  What can listeners expect from the rest of the project?  Are there any surprises?

TCOL: Well, I hope so.  My intention was sort of to do something that was as reckless as possible in terms of emotion, but also sonically.  I really like those songs, but then there's some slower stuff on there as well.  There's a whole daring, ridiculously happy song at the end as well, which is very strange as compared to what you get with the rest of the record.  There's just a bunch of different ideas.

OKP: What do you think has been your best experience so far with completing the project?

TCOL: It's hard to say.  I think the moment when I had just finished mixing the record and was working on the last little details with Damon because he did some additional production and I was sitting in the studio and DOOM was there as well, and we had a beer together.  I was like, "This is ridiculous.  I'm sitting there with Damon Albarn and DOOM in London having a beer.  I'm not supposed to be here."  It was a real sense of accomplishment at that point, I think.

OKP: What is your biggest goal for the project?  Is there anything you hope it will accomplish?

TCOL: I don't really have goals in that sense.  The way I got signed is a bit weird, because I didn't have any allegiance in that realm or whatever.  My manager sort of discovered that I was in my room making these songs and got me signed.  I wasn't pursuing that.  The only thing I want is the same that I did then, which is to make as much music as possible - the newest music as possible.  Work on different projects.  Just doing that - that's what I do when I get up in the morning.  I work on music and I want to keep doing that.

OKP: What comes next for you?

TCOL: I'm halfway into the second album.  There's a lot of material, but I'm sort of thinking now about how to approach it.  Wondering whether there's going to be a very solid concept behind it or not.  I’m also wondering what I really want it to sound like.  As far as working with people, I just take that step-by-step.  It would be great to work with really great artists, obviously, but I don't really have any sort of set goals as far as that's concerned.  I'll just take it day by day.