Iconic for his aptitude to naturally balance and shift between more candid, honest reflections, and comedic artistry, Aminé is not only an exceptionally talented music artist but also just a genuinely nice guy.
The breadth of Aminé’s creative scope has given us something a little different on his latest mixtape TWOPOINTFIVE. Effortlessly fashioning the evolution of the ‘unique code’ that is Aminé’s sound, the project demonstrates just how creatively experimental Aminé has been in the studio. When indulging in the project, we were met with a layering of rhythmic intonations and a selection of explorative beats, that so smoothly compliment the range in Aminè’s voice. We listened to songs like Charmander and Neo and thought that they offered a little insight into the creative direction Aminé is venturing down and left us wanting to know more.
We had the opportunity to delve deeper into the workings of Aminé’s mind and had the pleasure of sitting down with him the other week. We chatted about his sentiments surrounding the release of TWOPOINTFIVE and just generally, caught up on what he’s been up to in recent months.
Hi Aminé, how are you?
Hi, good, how are you?
Good thank you. So, let’s talk TWOPOINTFIVE – this is your second instalment in the POINTFIVE series – following ONEPOINTFIVE, which came out in 2018. I saw you tweeted that people are messaging you their favourite songs and how they all so varied. Overall, how are you feeling about the reception it’s been getting?
Really good, this is definitely one of the most… how do you say – ‘reactions’ I’ve got from like every song on the project and more than I’ve gotten on a mixtape or album that I’ve made. Usually, I see the same 4-5 songs… actually 4 to 3 honestly, going around that people love. But with this, I’m just getting like an overflood of texts from friends and family and people, and just seeing things online, where people are picking different songs on the project. Which is really, really cool because that lets me know that I made equally as good songs versus just like the 3 or 4 people usually choose.
You reflect on these POINTFIVE projects as breaks in between albums, where you give yourself the freedom to create without expectations. What are some of those expectations that you feel you place on yourself or maybe others place on you, when creating an album?
I mean there’s a constant C-word that everyone curses in the studio…. classic. Like everybody wants to make a classic album and it’s like music is digested so differently nowadays – everything is boom, boom, boom… quick, quick, quick. So, you could make something intricate, that’s just grand scheme with the strings and the whole grand or so album but you know that they’ve been done before. So, I can listen to Late Registration if I wanna listen to a grand, opus of an album. Whereas I think the only thing that works now, or that should work in general, is music that kind of pushes the envelope and does something that hasn’t been done before. Cause like, as an artist, whatever field you’re in; if it’s photography, if it’s art, painting, you don’t want to make the same Pablo Picasso even though that looks nice. You gotta make your own Picasso, you have to make your own sound – your own unique code that’s just like your own matrix you know. So, building your own world is super important to me but I forgot what the question was I just keep rambling (laughs).
Nah you’re good. But I mean it’s clear that the project adopts a more buoyant and energetic sound and kind of explores your vocals a bit more. What inspired you to journey down this path of vocal experimentation? Especially, at this stage in your career.
I think there’s like a lot of new rap and even underground rap, which is very experimental. You can’t just like hop on a beat and just do what we expect you to do as an artist. I feel like there’s a lot of really, really cool artists pushing the envelope and doing cool things. It also just comes from me, kind of being bored with music. So, it’s like me hearing a beat for the first time and I’m like OK yeah – I would usually just start rapping a verse on this but now I’m like let me see what it’s like stacking 5 high pitch vocals (like Between the Lines) and see what that would be like on this to make it sound like some retro R&B song but it’s electronic… I don’t know. I think just trying new things that you’re uncomfortable with is good, cause being comfortable is not the move you know.
Yeah, so kind of like pushing those creative boundaries.
Yeah, just being like is this a stupid idea? And even if it is… cool at least you tried you know what I mean. I think once you’re afraid to try those stupid things that’s kind of when things go wrong, creatively, in my opinion, but yeah.
You’ve mentioned before that, for you, every project has to be unlike the others. If you had to define or even attach a word to each album, for comparative sake – how would you describe the differences or maybe distinct characteristics of each album / project you’ve released so far? Starting with Good for You, through to TWOPOINTFIVE.
Yeah, that’s a good question. Good for You – my first album debut, I had a lot of pressure to make sure I could prove that I’m not just a one-hit wonder and that whole world where muthafuckers be like ‘oh he’s trash’ or ‘oh he’s fire’ and everyone’s feeling indifferent. Just everyone waiting for my first album to come out, to be like is this guy whack or is he actually about what he says he’s about. So, my first album was really my introduction into the game, and you know, trying to put my foot in the ground and be like I’m here and I can really make albums. I’m not here just for a popular song, which yeah, made me who I am but it also shows people that there are so many different sides to me artistically. And that was really my first shot in the dark and I hoped everything would go well and I think it did (laughs).
The next one was ONEPOINTFIVE and that was just me working on something cause I started working on Limbo like mentally, at least, right after Good For You. So, even before ONEPOINTFIVE. And I was in this process of making Limbo for the first time and I got tired of it because it was so serious and I was like I wanna have fun. It was my first-time smoking weed and I had never done drugs before cause of my African parents… I knew I could never do it when I lived in their house… like they would just beat my ass you know. I also saw a lot of my friends drug deal and do a lot of things with drugs and I personally was afraid of doing it for the first time… that’s a whole other story but yeah it was my first experience with drugs, and I was in this like fuck it attitude. I was also on tour and I was like yo we’re in Hawaii let’s make a mixtape called ONEPOINTFIVE and it won’t be my second album. So, that was just creative freedom cause I felt so much pressure from Good For You and I was like this is so dope because this is me not giving a fuck and it’s a bold decision for me not to drop a second album right away but fuck it whatever and it worked out.
And then Limbo came out and that came out during the pandemic which sucks and that wasn’t the intention. We worked on that for like two years but somehow, someway the title of it tied in with where a lot of us where at in our lives. So, that was just crazy for us, and I guess it was a positive for people that could help them. It also was just a terrible time, and I can’t really look back on that time too much and be like yo that was awesome you know. I mean it was the best years of my life creatively and musically, like proving myself that I could write good verses and make an actual classically, hip hop album…the Grammys didn’t think it was a classic but I do (laughs) and you know I put it out and it went really, really well. That’s like a lot of my fans favourite album just because it shows a lot of my growth in my life, just growing up and shit.
And TWOPOINTFIVE is me in my mid to almost late 20s and truly having fun. I had a really terrible year, just mentally, and then coming back outside and seeing my friends again and being back in the studio with people I haven’t seen in years and just doing things with my friends, it felt so good to just be back outside. So, for me TWOPOINTFIVE is so much fun because I had so much fun making it but it’s also like the type of music I’m listening to nonstop right now and the shit I want to hear when I’m outside. I’ve listened to a lot of sad songs over the past two years so I’m not in that mental state right now. So, TWOPOINTFIVE is like me looking at a canvas and splashing a bunch of colours at it and having a lot of fun.
I watched your interview on the Daebak Show, and you mentioned that you make the best music when you’re living. Does that mean you are, I guess, translating those experiences on the go? Like you mentioned you went to Mexico for your birthday with your friends – do you create music during those times or are you more present, experiencing life and then re-grouping in the studio once you have returned or have the time per se?
No, I’m so much more present in those moments. I’m not really like making music and then being like Oh my God I just did something so cool let me go make a song about it. It’s more like I’ll do it and then 2-3 weeks later think about it. Like my friend texted me a couple days ago being like I’m a huge fan of your music because I know that everything, you’re saying in these songs you’ve actually done. And that was so funny to me because like every line in that song Neo, that I have on TWOPOINTFIVE is completely true. That was just based off a really fun vacation I had with my friends. So, I try to make sure I’m living to make the music better. It’s kind of like you see the world in my eyes, I guess.
So are you the type to consciously separate work and play?
Yeah, I mean for me I consider living to be work for me. Because it’s more like if you don’t live your music will be whack. Like, if I went and lived on a farm today, just cooped up with my dog – of course it would be a beautiful time but no one would relate to my music maybe. You know, if I’m not doing the things Aminé wants to actually do… that’s just not who I am as a person. I think when I listen to Bon Iver, he can definitely be in the woods for months and make the most gorgeous music ever but for Aminé, personally, I have to be living or else my music will be… bad (laughs).
‘Charmander’ has an official music video released – which as always, is an amazing visual. Thank you.
Is the concept a nod to your time in quarantine?
Ah good observation. I mean it was never meant to be that, it was more meant to be like a lazy Sunday, shroom trip, with your girlfriend… in your house. If me and my girlfriend took shrooms on a Sunday when we had nothing to do, we’d be acting that way in the house. You know like so hype about everything. But yeah, that’s just what the video is, it doesn’t really have some deeper meaning. I just was actually on shrooms when I came up with the idea (laughs). I wrote the treatment while I had taken shrooms… and I completely started like (mimics frantic typing). So, this is the actual story… I had Covid and I was stuck in this room, and I was supposed to shoot the ‘Charmander’ video like the next week and I couldn’t because of Covid, so we had to push it back. I realized during my time in that room that I didn’t really think the idea we had before was possible or was good. So, I completely rewrote the treatment with Jack Begert and we were on FaceTime like every day trying to work it out and it turned out good.
Was that your actual house in the video?
Oh no that wasn’t my actual house no… did someone say it was?
Oh well sort of, I was just reading the comments underneath the video.
Oh! people be talking yo, they don’t know what they’re talking about (laughs). That was just the house we rented for the video… that’s such an adult home, I like it though.
Where was that shot in the forest area, you know when you’re on that bridge?
That was the backyard of that home!
Exactly! That is Portland Oregan for you right there. That’s like my home man like you look out your backyard and you have the most gorgeous trees and shit. So, we saw that bridge and we had to climb down and get really dirty to get to it cause there was no actual pathway for it. But yeah, that shit was cool, it was right there in the backyard. That was the cool thing about this video, we didn’t have to go anywhere and deal with like logistics of travelling, we just like went to this one house and shot this whole video.
Even your fashion and style has definitely evolved over the years and is always showcased so well within your music videos. What are some of your staple pieces at the moment?
I think some of my favourite pieces are my black rain jacket from a brand called Pieces Unique, it’s like out of Paris and it’s just really cool cause it has a lot of pockets. So, I can put my wallet, phone or my glasses and my water bottles just in there cause I like a lot of pockets. That’s my shit. Especially pockets that you don’t even know they’re there. So, yeah, I wear that jacket a lot… I also wear my Issey Miyake pants like every day, it’s just super, super comfortable and feels like you’re wearing pajamas – and you don’t look like you’re wearing pajamas which is the cool part about it. But also, a lot of New Balance’s, I just love like 990s and 992s.
Do you do your own styling?
Ah mainly. It’s me and my sister, so my sister like helps me with everything and gets me some hats you know. She’s just kind of creatively working on everything I do right now. So, it’s her and my taste mixed together with all these outfits.
Ok last question – you recently announced The Best Tour Ever tour, can we expect to see you take it to AUS?
Lord knows I would love to come to Australia. I love touring in Australia like I think it’s some of the most fun crowds, but I will not lie to you and say I have tour dates locked in, ready for you but we definitely will be coming to Australia sooner than later.
Follow Aminé here for more and stream TWOPOINTFIVE here.