Seductive, personal, and remarkably self-actualized, “Rapture,” the title track off Chris Ward’s (aka Tropics) forthcoming debut album, is out today. Herewith, some backstory, collected from a phone call with the artist.
“Rapture” is about more than just a moment in time: “I wrote [it] about a year ago and was living in London at the time and meeting a lot of new people but never really experiencing a deep connection. There’s something about, if you live in a city like this, everyone can be a little bit more enclosed and sort of caged off with their emotions–or maybe their emotions only go a certain distance and then they stop. It just kind of flowed out from that, it was an extension of that feeling I was experiencing at the time, trying to express the love and affection of my generation.
“It was the second-to-last song I’d written for the album. I was just in my room one night, and it was quite late–I was struggling to sleep–and it kind of felt nice, it just sort of wrapped it all together for me. Everything else that came before was trying or attempting to touch on one particular moment and this sort of, it has a lot…not anxiety, but this kind of frustration built up of wanting one track speaking everything of what I’m feeling for this album. That’s why I wanted to make it the title of the album.”
For him, it all starts at the piano: “It makes sense to build up with that instrument. And piano sounds beautiful with a lot of the elements of electronic music. I hadn’t really done this before, but I’d sit and write songs with the age-old tradition of just vocal and piano and writing and I did it that way. And I wouldn’t let myself produce or make any beats until I had the full lyrics and melody. Then I’d take it from there.”
Picking a genre is complicated: “I’d like to think its part of soul music. I’d like to call it soul and electronic or minimal jazz. But then I could just start throwing a hundred buzzwords. I’ve always gone in and out of liking one thing and then liking the next. When I was younger, I’d have a moment where I was like, ‘Hip-hip! Yep, hip-hop, that’s all I like.’ And then it would be something else. But I’ve always come back to soul music whether it was Motown or jazz that my dad would play me. He wasn’t huge on a lot of music but he was very educated and I remember when we used to drive back from London when I was younger he would play this jazz radio station late a night and that was a pivotal moment for me…so yea, it’s nice to even be related to soul music.”
It’s always been music: “I’ve been making music since I was 10 or 11 and I always felt I was going to be a part of it all in one way or another. You feel a bit silly at times because there’s so much going on in the world and so many more serious things that are needed. You kind of think, ‘Why should I do this? Why should I put my head down and go with this one thing? Maybe I should be doing something more responsible,’ but it’s nice when people who’ve heard what I’ve done have reached out and said, ‘I’ve been listening to this song over and over and it means this to me.’ It means something. I’m happy I’m on that path.”