Searing flames lick the walls in “Hell Song”, and the rising mercury dissolves the air in “Greyhound”. There is a perceptible heat that engulfs the room when Collard’s distinctive and poetic falsetto cuts through the airwaves – and his latest track is no exception.
“Favour” crackles into existence with the south London neo-soul singer pleading “tears for summer / share your thoughts?” – and just like that we’ve fast-forwarded all the way to warmer and better times.
As per usual, groove-laden melodies, soaring vocals and jazzy percussion intertwine – this time scoring his exploration of the emotional intricacies of finding love.
And the visuals, out today, are a mesmerising dreamscape that see the artist in bed with his lover – scenes which melt away onto a beach, then to a nightclub, where the flashing lights and promise of good times are thick in the atmosphere.
We caught up with Collard and talked about his obsession with love, plus counting Elton John as a fan…
Hi Collard, how’s it been since we talked last summer?
It’s been a journey for sure, but an eye-opening one as opposed to difficult one. A lot of self-reflection and figuring out what moves to make next creatively.
How was the reception for “Unholy”?
Mainly positive which is always good. I think the album attracted a good level of curiosity and I’m super grateful for that. I love when people can just simply engage with my music on a basic instinctive level, but I think the real thing I’m always after is inviting conversation and differentiating perspectives on my work as a whole which I was blessed enough to receive off the back of “Unholy”.
What is the best feedback you received on it?
The best feedback I feel I received was probably from Elton John! But I think his feedback on the album was what resonated with me most, as his critique bought me back to a conversation with Zach that we had in the studio half way through the album’s creation. Once we realised the “feel” we were trying to offer on this project, we instantly became worried about the dangers of imitation and cutting it to close to the artists of the past that strongly influenced the album.
So hearing Elton during our interview say that he felt the influence of the artists of that era in my music whilst noting that it sounds unique to my own experience in my own era was like having a weight lifted from my chest. Originality is probably at the centre of every artists insecurities and it definitely was one of my biggest after it’s release, but hearing from Elton John that my album triggered a sonic nostalgia whilst also offering something new, it ticked that insecurity off the list.
And you’ve got your new track “Favour” – what inspired it? Any even in particular?
“Favour” represents a new outlook on love and desire that I hadn’t really experienced, the album was specifically centred around love’s cruel natures, how it can make people suffer and cause mental torment as opposed to favour which is about the incomparability of true companionship, devotion and admiration.
You sing a lot and constantly of love, do you think there will ever come a time when it’s not something you want to sing about?
I highly doubt it! Love is something I’ve always questioned and dissected from a very young age and its symptoms have lead me to have an invaluable insight into the human behaviours around me. I can’t see myself getting bored of writing about love because love is ever evolving throughout a relationship and a person’s life. I write about other stuff too, but I always prefer the love songs.
What’s been your biggest pinch-me moment so far?
It would have to be my headline show at Omeara. Nothing in my life has ever come close to feeling that level of elation. I don’t think there’s quite anything like being received by an audience of people that you had imagined receiving you whilst in the creative process. The faceless people I day-dreamed about when writing “Merciless” or “Hell Song” suddenly became real and were in front of me, singing and laughing along. Biggest pinch-me moment by far.
Your visuals are and continue to be super sumptuous – what would you like to explore next?
I like to leave those explorations to my creative directors Joseph Shaw and Sosa Ohen. I’m always left amazed by their treatments and the worlds they create out of my songs.
What’s next for you/what are you excited for?
Well right now I’m in a place where I just want to freely release tracks in real time, I didn’t want to dive straight back into curating a project as with my own experience being such a heavy process. Making songs, loving them and releasing them is the plan and also shows and hopefully taking unholy on the road once this current epidemic is over.
What’s your 5-year goal?
In five years I want to be chilling! Enjoying the music I’ve put out in that time and seeing my songs placed in films and to have had made moves which solidified my art in current culture and future cultures, thats what it’s about for me.