In 2011, shortly after Frank dropped NOSTALGIA,ultra on the Odd Future blog, I downloaded it just before going to sleep. I got on the bus to Woodward and watched my life slow down as I hit play, listened to his music for the first time. I found myself completely and utterly enthralled with this artist’s ability to engage listeners with vivid storytelling, painting whole worlds with aural brushstrokes.
Naturally, I was keen on interviewing the artist. I could only listen to Swim Good for so long. I could only romanticize a living human for so long. At the time, my blog The Right Kind Of Brownies was doing very well. The story goes like this: I hit up Kelly Clancy on Twitter for an interview and then Frank himself. Frank had me circle back around to Kelly and 4 Strikes. When that didn’t work, I found myself pressed for time, suffering that syndrome of becoming successful when I’m young that’s so common amongst my now fellow 24 year old peers. So, I slid in Frank’s DMs and asked him for an interview. I can quote his response to the tee.
Good timing. I’m on a plane from ny to la. Send the questions to *EMAIL ADDRESS OMITTED*
Below, I’ve shared the interview from that time in both of our lives. Please enjoy and leave a comment telling us your favorite Frank song.
TRKOB: So many questions, I don’t know where to start. What’s going on with you currently?
Frank Ocean: i’m on a plane back from new york. met with the folks from my label for the first time and the new chairman of umg mr. barry weiss. omw back to los angeles, preparing for the next art show.
TRKOB: How did you come up with the name Frank Ocean?
Frank Ocean: in a dream.
TRKOB: What caused the drift from Island Def Jam to Odd Future? Was your first work with them on BLACKENDWHITE?
Frank Ocean: i dunno if there was a drift. i just met some new friends, that eventually became much like family. first appearance of mine on an OF release was this song steamroller on rolling papers.
TRKOB: What was it like working on a darker record than your solo project?
Frank Ocean: i hope by darker you don’t mean evil or anything. hahaha. but uhh. it was easy. and fun.
TRKOB: For Nostalgia, ULTRA there was seemingly no hype, no promotion leading up to the release. Why is that, was it a conscious decision?
Frank Ocean: nobody likes hype. well, i don’t like hype. yes, it was a conscious decision. couple of my close friends actually thought i was out of my mind. thought i was “throwing it away.”
TRKOB: You worked with Happy Perez for the album. How did you guys link up and work? Will you work with any OF production in the future?
Frank Ocean: i met happy at some studio in LA some time ago. he was working with my friend stacy barthe. i asked him for beats one day. he sent a folder to my email. we never worked in person. as for your second question. i have and i will continue to.
TRKOB: With all the co signs coming in (Diddy, Lupe Fiasco, John Legend, etc) how do you stay grounded? Especially after just being in the studio with Beyonce?
Frank Ocean: i’m not grounded bro. i’m bouncing all around this ****. hahaha.
TRKOB: What can you tell us about that session in the studio?
Frank Ocean: nothing.
TRKOB: What is your creative writing process like?
Frank Ocean: part rubix-cube/ part roller-coaster/ part watching paint dry.
TRKOB: Many are saying you could very well end up being the most commercially successful member of the group. What do you think your purpose in Odd Future is?
Frank Ocean: OF is comprised of gifted and talented american kids. we challenge each other. they challenge me for sure. whenever you’re in a circle that’s talented throughout, it makes less room for complacency. my purpose is to contribute to that productive environment as much as i can.
TRKOB: Who would you like to work with in the industry outside of Odd Future?
Frank Ocean: warren buffet. on my portfolio or some ****.
TRKOB: What can you tell us about SHE on GOBLIN?
Frank Ocean: that the sound is incred & the video will be nuts.
TRKOB: Main inspiration?
Frank Ocean: my unborn children.
TRKOB: If you couldn’t sing, what would you be doing?
Frank Ocean: probably building buildings and ****.
TRKOB: Favorite albums, movies, books?
Frank Ocean: ahh. i don’t play favorites. but i’ve seen that chris robinson movie atl over 50x’s though. and i’m a big harry potter fan. o & my favorite song in the world is prince “when you were mine”. i guess i do play favorites.
TRKOB: Megan Fox or Minka Kelly?
Frank Ocean: megan is that female from transformers right? yea, she got nice eyes.
TRKOB: If someone who had never heard anything by you asked what your music is like, what would your answer be?
Frank Ocean: i’d tell them goto my tumblr. ayo. **** genres.
TRKOB: Why did Pyrite & Acura Integurl not make the album?
Frank Ocean: they were never intended for it.
TRKOB: Where do you see yourself in a year?
Frank Ocean: better at piano. and more peaceful in general. i liked the questions.
Interview by Mustafa Abubaker
Many thanks to Escaped Goat for archiving the interview