Omar Apollo Talks ‘Apolonio,’ Playing Paisley Park, and More


**GQ: It’s pretty crazy that you’re going from Electric Lady to Paisley Park. That’s a couple of iconic places. There’ll be a live audience for that? Indoors? **

Omar Apollo: Yeah, so basically it’s a live audience, and it’s a 1500-person venue, but with 100 people, everyone with masks on and they’re gonna be super far from each other! So it’s kind of similar to a drive-in. You’re in your little cubicle, no one links up! I know they’re gonna do other shows too. But it’s super strict, hand sanitizers, thermometers, all that. I lowkey was uncomfortable with it, I felt like we shouldn’t do it.” But I guess they already organized it.

You’ve got an amazing new record to play there. Apolonio is nine tracks, but you originally envisioned it as a full length?

It was gonna be way longer. I had a bunch of other songs that I wanted to put on it, but I cut it down to that, because, I don’t know, putting out a full-length without a tour? That’s asking a lot. People can call this an album, but this is like 30 minutes and to me an album is 45 to an hour, and thematic top to bottom.

As it stands now, is there a theme to the project? And if so, what would you say that is?

I don’t like to say “this is the theme,” because I think then it kind of stifles the listener, and they might be like, “Oh this is what you mean? I thought you meant this.” I just want things to be less specific, so that people can do whatever they want with the song, and make their own [conclusions].

For me, the most affecting songs on this record are “Kamikaze” and “Bi Fren,” which read like pages from a journal and are so rich in detail from these personal and bittersweet moments from your past.

I agree. But there are some things that you just want to do, and then leave it at that. When I wrote “Kamikaze” and “Bi Fren”, I was kind of looking back, writing-wise. But then – I don’t like to explain my songs.

“Kamikaze” is so specific. Driving nineteen hours, “raindrop December”, an “ass round like Cheerios…” Don’t you feel like when you open up these little windows into your life, people are going to want to have a look inside?

No, you can ask me, I just won’t give up anything! [laughs] I’ll tell you this: yeah, that song is super specific, it’s a moment that happened to me.

And It feels really real, and beautiful. I mean, probably not a beautiful feeling at the time…

Yeah it fucking sucked. I was stressed. I remember I had just turned 18. And I don’t know – there’s a lot of things I was figuring out about myself at the time and uh, there were a lot of new faces on my phone!

This new video for it is just amazing.

I wasn’t sure what I wanted to do except I said I wanted to be on a motorcycle and I wanted to dance. And so there’s shots of me driving fast as fuck, right in my hometown. And then we drove down to Rensselaer, where there’s these hundreds of windmills, and then I’m dancing in the back of this pickup.

“Bi Fren” is the other one that kind of looks to your past with these specific memories of a fucked up relationship –

“I used to drive around your block without no license/ Separate you and your bitch I ain’t no hyphen/ I hate your bitch, so I dipped out and jumped the high fence”

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