Alex M is the New-Age Pop amalgamating Artist performing under the Cognomen—DD Walker—who's latest single comes off the heels of his 2018 Surf-pop hit, "Malibu."
With unprecedented affluence for all things musical, this NYC-based multi-instrumentalist has been known to borrows from the touchstones of 80s synth-wave and Contemporary R&B to create new sonic experiences that operate over our heartstrings with the gentle pluck of a clandestine artificer; sent forward in time to croon over our desktop speakers.
His latest sonic escapade feels like much of the same. On "Like You," Walker renders up a sleek aerial drive-song that cruises into the most cherubic corners of his own an adroit Musical mind.
We've all been there, riffling through our phones endless saved favorites, searching for the perfect song to act as the soundtrack to our top-down highway-cruising ventures. Luckily, the 80s inspired tubular sound that DD Walker achieves on "Like You" fits the bill, and is the perfect remedy for the predicament at hand.
Our songster stands center as the focus in our daydreams, as he takes us on a road-trip through an emblematic mix, festooned with reverbs and cascading decays on every turn.
He sings with a soft-carbonation off the tip of each syllable that leaves his lips, and as the ambient atmosphere between him and us expands and shrinks from chorus to verse, DD creates a sense of gravity-less buoyancy that seldom leaves our bodies through the entirety of the playback. The production here is simple but effective; colluding over a punchy backbeat that directs the measure for a muted bass-line and the kaleidoscopic nature of Walker's supportive electric guitars.
It's an 80s pop-reminiscent journey that shoulders heavily in our memories, replaying as his three-part harmonies continue to embellish our after-thoughts for days to come.
By the time his tenderly divulging top-line reaches our ears for the third time, there's no going back, and we're left asking one last question: what sonic influences will the New York notoriety channel into next?
What inspired you to take on a less 'surf' approach, contrasting your last successful single from 2018? Why did you end up choosing to go more in line with 80s nostalgia here?
I actually hope the surf vibe still comes through a bit in this new one! I still love the energy of ‘Malibu’ and something really special happens when we play that one live, so I wanted to carry a bit of that DNA over...some of the 80s stuff on that song I wanted to shift from the synth-sheen to something more shoegazey and direct along the lines of Cocteau Twins or My Bloody Valentine in terms of the guitar riff stuff.
I think one thing I wanted to try was a bit more of an R&B angle for the hook. So much of what I listen to right now is more soulful (Labrinth, Gabriel Garzon-Montano, Lewis Del Mar) than the new wave that I felt compelled to express that a bit more for the new material.
Can you tell us about some of the anecdotes behind "Like You," and the emotions and sentiments you needed to channel into throughout this track's recording process to get the perfect takes?
This is the longest I’ve gone without seeing or playing live music at venues since I was 14. I was imagining what it would feel like to walk into a club again as a band is starting their set and the ‘Like You’ guitar line came to me. One of those few lines that I feel like I walked into rather than it feeling like I planned it out and wrote it.
The demo was finished in an hour, and the lyrics came as a kind of a Myspace love note - over the top sentiment that’s between endearing and maybe embarrassing if anyone else that the person you’re writing it to reads it. I also wanted to get in some dark/creepiness in the lyrics - like ‘Every Breath You Take’ by The Police where the narrator is sort of overtaken by their feelings. Sort of an ‘emo mission statement’ without the emo sound palette. This was also the first song I was able to finish in quarantine. I and a lot of other artist friends I know have definitely gone through some bouts of writer's block given some external turmoil of 2020. This was the first song I felt I could escape into and could imagine listening to and soundtracking my life on a less dark timeline. How have you been fueling your creative institutions throughout your artistic process, and can you remember a method you exercised into effect for this particular song's benefit?
Daily existential crises. Running an average of 8 miles a day. Instagram K-holes... Honestly, it’s a strange time to maintain a consistent creative flow. Sometimes it means waiting until sunset and having some visual stimulation, sometimes it means walking around my neighborhood and seeing an eye-catching phrase tagged on a building...some people write every day, and sometimes that’s true for me but usually the songs I really connect with of mine come to mind more like a Tourette’s tic or like the inverse of an intrusive thought.
When can we expect to see a video-feature for some of the new music you've been releasing lately?
So. Damn. Soon. What can we expect to see next from you?
I’ll be releasing a bunch of new singles and some visuals to accompany them in the next few months and a few bigger announcements I can’t talk about just yet...