Bside sits with AYLØ for an exclusive conversation about his new album For Good Reasons. He speaks about some of his inspirations, the process of creating the project and much more.
AYLØ is an enigma. Even 5 years after his debut project Honest Conversations, his fans and listeners are likely to have more questions about his artistry than at the start. The balanced pull between revealing and concealing parts of himself has done well to fuel the fires of a mysterious personality. While it is partly deliberate, AYLØ has openly admitted to preferring a low profile.
As a person, AYLØ tries to keep it simple. He is someone you would describe as being oriented towards results first, looking good is important to him but not more than getting the job done. Having released his new album, For Good Reasons in July 2022, AYLØ is currently on a press run, getting the word out about the latest installment of his musical exploits. It’s for this reason that we invited him over to the office for a discussion about the project.
Clad in a plain black tee, some patterned pants, black slippers, and a bucket hat protecting dreadlocks in its infancy, AYLØ arrived unceremoniously. He was the reason the office was more packed than usual on a Friday afternoon, with a few of our friends from WAFFLESNCREAM joining us for the listening session. He immediately completed pleasantries, going around passing hugs and handshakes in a mutual exchange of warmth with the people of Bounce.
He took his place at the front of the room and watched the video of “Tekkerz” together with us. With some alcohol in his cup, AYLØ spoke to us about his mind-state while recording the project, as well as everything that made For Good Reasons what it is.
This interview is lightly edited for clarity.
Bside: Did you have to do several takes before you could get the“Tekkerz” video right?
AYLO: A hundred. Just going over and over and over. It’s fun, I’m getting used to it.
How many videos have you shot?
8. About 7 or 8. There’s “Paris”, “wys?”, I did 3 live videos [for Clairsentience], I shot one for “Still II” as well…
You said something about surviving Lagos. That’s interesting because the Naira is going to shit and things are becoming more difficult.
You know what it is, it’s hard, it’s tough. It’s still a very beautiful place in its way. I moved here for a reason — for good reasons — and if it’s that bad then I can always go back to where I came from.
I wanted to ask you what the meaning of “Dtrv2” means because that’s the name of the second song on the album.
Sometimes I don’t change the title that the producers send. “v2” is probably version 2. I don’t know what DTR means to him, but in the song, I said “Darken the Riddim”. I’m also talking about knowing what it takes to be with a particular person when it’s hard so there’s the whole “down to ride” aspect.
There’s a lot more bounce on this song than usual for you.
Yeah, I wanted people to dance to this more. Normally I don’t care [laughs].
What do you listen to?
Well, now… there’s this group called 808Inc, I’m heavy on Knucks, then there’s Central Cee…
Why do you like Knucks?
The first song I heard from Knucks was “Home”. If anything, I started making music in the UK. So it was very nostalgic, I have a soft spot for UK artists. When I was making this album in particular I was listening to Made in Lagos. I listen to things that I want to influence what I’m making currently.
I want to know how your environment influences your sound.
That’s what the project was about, in a way. It’s heavier, it’s hectic, it’s hotter… and as music influences your being, that’s one thing I tried to show in having more sounds that people can dance to.
When I went to Abuja, I created a group chat with [Psycho] YP and Zilla [Oaks] and begged them for us to get together, just because I wanted the Abuja sound [on “James Bond”]. This project sounds different from everything else because you can’t expect me to make the same music I made while walking in the park in London. I’m thinking different, everything changes with that.
How long did it take you to record the project? About how many months?
Okay, there are two answers. Actively making it? 1 year. “Butter” is the oldest record there, I made that beat in 2018, even before dnt’dlt. I made the whole “Denial” right before Clairsentience. I made the beat for “Lxst” in 2017. I had the vocals from SUTRA for “Butter” since 2018. So, really and truly it’s about 3 or 4 years.
Is “James Bond” your favorite song?
A: No, my favorite is “Blvnk”. But “James Bond” was the most exciting to record. There were like 20 people in the studio, y’know, gang shit. It was nice to see people being who they say they are. YP and Zilla are really who they say they are. They just pulled up and recorded it right there, no email stuff.
I like “Denial” because it’s nothing like you’ve ever made before. Someone asked me if was a House record [laughs].
A: I don’t know what I make. I just make music I like.
What’s “Denial” about?
A: It means the opposite of the title, acceptance. In the message of the song, I’m saying I am where I am because of myself, not anybody else. For good reasons and otherwise. If it’s good, it’s my fault. If it’s bad, it’s my fault. Just knowing that you’re in charge of everything and you can’t put the blame on anyone else.
Can we expect more from you soon?
A: Yes. I can’t say what it is, but we have more stuff for you guys in a couple of weeks.