With the title being announced a good two years before its release, fans had a lot of time to imagine what Travis Scott’s Astroworld would sound like. Often, like it the case of Drake‘s Views, that long period of expectation can work against reactions to the final product, but it seems that Travis’ fans are more than happy with what they received last Friday, and according to Sickamore, the rapper’s A&R, no time was wasted through the long journey to completion.
In a new interview with Rolling Stone, Sickamore, who was present in “every session,” has shared some insight into the making of Astroworld. The conversation reveals the thought put into transitions, guest appearances, and the presence of Houston’s history in the album. According to the A&R, if good kid M.A.A.D. city is a straight tangent of a narrative, Astroworld is a David Lynch film; unpredictable but always aesthetically uniform. Read some excerpts from the interview below.
On creating cohesion with the many features on the album:
The songs are laid out and the guys just do their parts. You walk into the studio, and there’s a script there waiting for you. Travis knows what these guys do best. A lot of these guys went and took it to another notch — that James Blake feature is like, what the fuck. Stevie [Wonder] on the harmonica [on “Stop Trying to Be God”]. Frank [Ocean] going crazy on “Carousel” — you’ve never heard him like that, with some hard rapping. They’ve been cool for a long time; they did a couple ideas for the album.
We also put Swae Lee on songs back to back; the Weeknd on songs back to back [to add to the cohesion]. That’s not an accident.
On workshopping songs like Kanye and Dr. Dre:
With Travis’ process, he’ll do 50 sessions on one song. That’s the trick of great producers like Dr. Dre or Kanye [West]. It’s not that they’re better at making music than other people. It’s that they put more time into it. 10,000 hours into each song. Keep chipping away until the final second. We were mixing the album until Thursday. It came out Thursday night.
On honoring Houston:
“RIP DJ Screw” is pretty obvious. Big Hawk, a Houston artist, is on “Sicko Mode.” “5% Tint,” that’s Houston lingo;.”Can’t Say” has Don Toliver, a local Houston artist; “Yosemite” was produced by a local Houston producer [June James]; “Houstonfornication” obviously; “Coffee Bean” is all about his trip back home to Houston. Almost every song has something dealing with Houston on it.
On Astroworld as a David Lynch film:
For this album, from Birds, we improved the transitions. A lot of classic albums, the transitions are really great. So we didn’t want people to have to hit the skip button for this album. We’ll do it for you. Mike Dean, Travis, they really locked in to make sure it was really flowing from song to song. It’s like a movie — a lot of the movie is in the editing, how it’s paced. There are different kind of films. Some films are straight plots — think of Kendrick Lamar’s good kid, m.A.A.d city, that’s a straight narrative. It starts here; it ends here; everything in between is the hero’s journey. Travis is more like a David Lynch movie. It’s dreamy; it goes in and out; he might pop up in different places. French New Wave, a Fellini film — in the way the plot is structured, it’s a different kind of film, and we want people to be in and out with us.
Read the full conversation at Rolling Stone.