May 08, 2012 11:28AM

Oyster #98: Blood Orange Interview

"I don't really claim to know what it’s like to be a girl."

As a musician, Dev Hynes has been many things — one third of UK dance-punk trio Test Icicles; lone-wolf roots-pop act Lightspeed Champion; songwriter for Solange Knowles, Florence and the Machine, and The Chemical Brothers. His latest incarnation is Blood Orange, an eighties-influenced solo effort with swoon-worthy vocals and sorrowful surf guitar riffs. As the primary sentiment seems to be heartache, we decided to grill him about romance. (Sorry, Dev.)

Alice Cavanagh: You’ve got quite a romantic thing going on at the moment — compared to when you were doing Test Icicles, at least — so let’s talk about romance.
Dev Hynes: Sure.

Why the change? Was it due to a personal experience?
I’m not sure. I feel, aesthetically, one of the things I really like is that in the eighties people became obsessed with the fifties: that almost teen kind of lust, the do-or-die kind of mentality of teenagers in the fifties — teenagers anytime, really. The idea that you fully love that person. You don’t even really know them, but you love everything.

Cool. So, if we’re talking about teenage romance, what do you think is the most romantic song of all time?
I’m a big Del Shannon fan — the lyrics to ‘Runaway’ are really amazing. A lot of the lyrics around that time tend to reside on the more bitter side of things, but the lyrics to ‘Runaway’ capture that romantic feeling we were talking about.

A lot of your songs are written from a female perspective. Do you find it easy to get into a female character?
Yeah, I probably find it easier, but I don’t really claim to know what it’s like to be a girl. I have such a weird almost romantic-movie view of stuff when I write, and so it’s all from that perspective — to the point where it’s almost incredibly one-sided in the way that a movie character has zero depth. Like, they’re either good, or they’re bad. They’re heartbroken, or they’re whatever — which we’re not like in real life, but for movies and art and stuff that’s just what people do. It’s kind of like the equivalent of painting a one-sided picture. But I do like doing it from the female perspective, for some weird reason.

The album makes it seem like there’s a lot of heartache going on. Can you remember the first time you had your heart broken?
Yeah, it wasn’t that long ago. Maybe three years ago? Two and a half?

Oh, that’s quite recent! No teenage heartbreak?
No, I guess I was pretty good at distancing myself [laughs] and making sure that I didn’t really like someone, so if it ended, then it was totally cool. Which is quite… I don’t know what the term would be for that!

Why did you do that?
[Laughs] It’s pretty dark, I guess! Yeah, I don’t know why I do that.

What’s a good break-up song, then?
Um…

Like, when you had your heart broken, were there any songs you played over and over again?
Maybe just, like, Fiona Apple.

Maybe that helped you get into a female character…
Yeah, I guess! [Laughs]

Can you remember the song you lost your virginity to?
Um… let me think. Um, I think it was, like, a Megadeth record.

How romantic.
[Laughs] Yeah. It was either that, or I remember a girl put on the Rancid album …And Out Come the Wolves [laughs], and I remember not being happy about that, thinking that was kind of fucked up.

Not really helping the mood?
Just like, “Rancid? Really? God.”

OK, last question. What would be your ideal first date?
I tend to go to the opera quite a bit, so I’d take someone to the opera.

That’s very classy.
Yeah, that’s kind of my vibe. Then maybe walk through Central Park and finish up at this sandwich shop called Porchetta, which is in the East Village. And that’d probably be it.

Is that a sandwich shop that has a lot of cured meats?
It only sells pork sandwiches [laughs].

So you couldn’t be dating a vegetarian, then?
[Laughs] I guess not.

Photography: Rene Vaile

Alice Cavanagh

Latest


Did You Notice What Meadham Kirchhoff Used As Earrings This LFW?

PLUS, out fashion editor's top picks of the week!


Watch Oyster x Camper Part #2

And see our stomping, sneaker-inspired beach shoot.


Gucci SS15 Show Notes @ MFW

That 70s Gucci.


Backstage: Fashion East @ LFW

Featuring the SS15 collections of Ed Marler, Louise Alsop & Helen Lawrence.


Submit Your Banal Detrius To Nick Cave's Online Musuem

Random ephemera that kind of means something to you, wanted.


The Average Tumblr User Makes $80K Per Year

Money rules everything around them.


Facebook To Meet With LGBT Community Over 'Real Name' Rules

After forcing people to use their legal names on profiles.


LFW Diary: Day #4 & #5 Feat. Ryan Lo, Fashion East & More

Plus backstage images from Ryan Lo’s tropical paradise.


Watch The Bell Knox Documentary Series

The Duke adult film star on being outed and #pornstarproblems.


Ashish Repped Kim & Kanye @ LFW

As well as One Direction, Miley Cyrus and amyl.


Andreja Pejic Did A Reddit AMA

Read the highlights.


Burberry Prorsum SS15 Show Notes @ LFW

Spring time, ring a ding a ding time!


Lena Dunham & Bill Cosby Share Words To Live By

And other things we learnt from her Proust Questionaire.


Grimes Drops Amazing 'Bedtime Mix' On BBC Radio 1

Feat. Aphex Twin, Patsy Cline, Portishead and more.


Frank Ocean Gets New Management

Signs with Calvin Harris and Deadmau5 group.


Snoop Dogg Tweets, Instagrams Homophobic Slur

Then deletes it less than an hour later.


Oyster Playlist: Nicky Night Time

A celebration of cut and paste.


Holly Childs Is Your New Favourite Young Oz Writer [Interview]

We talk to the Melbourne-based writer, editor, internet artist and curator for Oyster #105.


Australian Artist Jonathan Zawada Tattoos Billionaires [Interview]

We talk rainbows, sportswear and Aussies in LA in Oyster #105.


Exclusive: Stream Perfume Genius' 'Too Bright' Album

PLUS read his Imaginary Dating Profile!


News Flash: Everyone Is Single

For the first time ever, singles are the majority.


Beyonce MIGHT Be Pregnant Again

Jay's words guys...Jay's words.


Amy Winehouse's Statue Is Staring At You

Look into the eyes, the eyes, the eyes.