“I have to calm the devil with a pucho”, warns Axel Fiks before facing this interview on the terrace of a cultural center, around Plaza Serrano, a Palermo pole that knew how to resist the coronavirus. “The exhibition always gave me anxiety”, admits. And remember that Jack Kerouac was sneaking around to tone down his shyness. “Read On the Road Of tiny. I don’t know how they dared to take her to the movies. It’s a novel in which you make up the characters in your head! “, Says this porteño hybrid between D’Angelo and Jeff Buckley, which released on Friday 3/9 her first album, Modern Lover.
Fiks became known in 2018 with the mixtape Idyll, a “conjunction of music” that he did between 2016 and 2018. “I pasted them all together, trying to make it look good. But everything is wrong between those songs,” he warns. “You play a song, and it sounds loud. You play another, and it sounds low. They don’t seem like part of the same album, of the same recording day. They are very demos.”
“Why did you upload them if it wasn’t a finished job?”
—A friend suggested that I upload my songs to Spotify rather than YouTube. He told me that it would be more comfortable and easy for me. I listened to him, and realized that it was a great tool. There was no plan behind it. I just wanted to use a bigger platform, because it came from Soundcloud. But recording your first album is a terrible experience. I made that mixtape at home, with a two-channel plate and instruments that I borrowed. AND I co-produced it with Joaquín Crededio, my great right hand.
Axel planned to release his first album in 2020, but the pandemic, as it happened to his colleagues, violated his plans. “During the quarantine, I got frustrated”, recognize. “I was going to play at the Lollapalooza, I had a media tour … New things were coming for me. It was my chance to go out into the world.” Despite that, when he was about to throw in the towel, the artist who dedicated Kicillof Flow to the governor of the province of Buenos Aires and Néstor Krishna the former Argentine president awoke from lethargy.
“In August I took out Child love and in September it appeared Somebody. And I decided to keep putting out music. “At that point Live shows didn’t matter so much anymore, as long as I was still active. “As I finished them, I kept saving the compositions,” he recalls. “I am going to play live the songs that I released in the pandemic, although finally I did not include them in the disc.”
► Love in the times of covid
If in Idyll put the focus on hedonism and fantasy, this time Axel Fiks reflects on what it means to be a “modern lover” in this age. He also does it through a lyrical exercise that addresses the metadiscourse and in which he even unfolds to speak of himself in the third person. Forms he was able to take from what his mother, who organizes poetry encounters, showed him to read and listen to. “My old woman was the only female figure in my life. It’s mom and dad at the same time. “
–Why is this “modern lover” the leitmotif of your album?
It’s a bit like what happens to all of us today. Or at least to who we see crossed by society or love per se. When you really like a person, you want to give everything to him and be at his side. But at the same time you are very afraid that he will hurt you, and that jealousy and possession will arise. Or that she or he does the same with you. There are two ways: the dedication or absolute devotion, and at the same time the fear of the consequences of that great love. The modern lover I think of it as someone who tells you they love you, but also asks you to understand that they can go home with someone else.
“ It seems more like an allergy to commitment.
–It is a kind of non-commitment, but I am not involved in that. When I like a person, I like. At least I believe, in September 2021, that I have no eyes for another person when I am very much in love. I live the dichotomy of “I want to love a lot, but it scares me”.
“ If you choose that, you also run the risk of being left alone.
–What Alfie. It’s a movie from the ’60s, but in the 2000s it had a remake with Jude Law. He is a guy who has a lot of lovers, and who in the end is left alone. As a child I saw that it was common to have a relationship for 10 years, for more than two years before they wanted to cut because they did not like their bond. Today you can open the game.
Are you talking about polyamory or an open relationship?
—It’s polyamory and an open relationshipBut I understand that the modern lover goes hand in hand with all things. I don’t know if it ends up happening in the whole album, because there are songs that are a bit more monogamous. Maybe in more than half of the album. But there is that approach of “You are not mine, you can be with whoever you want; I will continue to love you the same”.
What about jealousy?
–I associate it with my age and my brief experience, because I am 23 years old. Maybe I can deal with jealousy in a way that was harder for me as a kid. “If you love me, how can you love another person?” That, today, I understand better.
– You say that one can be rational in love?
“ Ideally, it’s more sentimental. But unfortunately I go through it through a rational process. I need to think about it, and I don’t like it. Although I think about it in one way, my feelings battle it in another way. Once there is a bond with someone, you assume that they are committing to something.
Is there such a balance?
It exists in songs, and in practice as well. Modern lovers are very contemporary. I don’t know if it has to do with the fact that at my age I notice it more, but nowadays this type of relationship is very common.. There are people who want to adapt, there are others who like it that way, and there are those who do not want third parties in a relationship.
Q: Is the term “modern” still valid or canceled?
“ I think he gets along very well with how he loves himself nowadays. If you ask me if I am also modern to dress, I do not know. In the photos of the album and in the shows that I’m going to do, I dress like Sandro in the ’60s.
“ But that’s not you. It’s the character.
“ It’s my first attempt to build it. Not necessarily I, like Axel, feel committed to what this modern lover says that speaks to you throughout the album. These are observations that I made as a third party, but later the final result can lead to A, B or C. And maybe the disk is in D. It is very literary exercise: of all the options, it will take the last.
– Are you making an apology for romanticism?
“ I’m not doing it intentionally. I cannot write otherwise. If I like someone, as soon as I return home I look for the chords for the song that I am going to dedicate to them. I really am this kind of person.
► Modern singer
Although musically he supports the identity that he began to erect as soon as he debuted, in which R&B, trap, folk, ballad and the singer-songwriter imprint of rock dialogue, Axel Fiks’ first album dares to test the mainstream with the high-end pop rock Come home today. “That song is from 2018,” explains Axel, who is co-author of the song that Paco Amoroso recorded in the Bzrp Music Sessions, Vol 3. “Just this year I had the opportunity to do it in the studio. I liked the lyrics and the harmony, and I wanted it to sound like that.”
The title track of the album is a minimalist funk that establishes a dialectic between eroticism and rapture, true to the letter. Loaded gun appears across the street like a lethargic ballad. Formula that doubles the bet on No sweater. But possibly the sonic character that became a hallmark of Axel is acoustic R&B. It is in evidence (in its purest expression) in Sidewalk. However, in Rubber injects psychedelia, and in the exquisite Florama He conjugates it with traperas bases.
With Kastiello, who put his guitar at the service of Humanity, the other featuring of the album is made up of the tandem Juan Ingaramo and Didi Gutman (former Brazilian Girls and member of Meteoros) in Delicate. “Baby give me love that sex is not enough for me”, see the lyrics. Before facing this album, Axel had also collaborated with Goyo Degano (Chinese Bandalos) in Aquarium girl.
–How did the collaboration with Ingaramo and Didi come about?
“ I’ve known Juan for years. I repeatedly told him that I wanted to do a song together. When I thought of the album, there was never the idea of the featuring. Unless it was with him. He recovered, he told me: “I have this beat to add.” It ended up being Didi Gutman’s. We went ahead, we got together in the studio, we wrote the lyrics and it came out. I really like what he does and his career. And the Didi thing was incredible. I remember listening to Brazilian Girls all re-smoked, going to high school, with the “Pussy Pussy, Marijuana”.
Sound wise, what did you rule out in Modern Lover?
Rather than dismiss, I filed. They are compositions that I kept, and that perhaps in the future I will revisit. I fell into the studio with 17 songs, but making such a long repertoire is difficult. Because of the way music is listened to today, I tried to make a record with half of those songs.
–Why did you put out an album if you could keep releasing singles?
“ Because of the concept. All the letters have something to do with each other. I think that someone who is falling in love, who has a broken heart or who is not, can listen to the album and identify. Maybe it is very old school, but the idea of the album is beautiful.
What about desire in this pandemic context?
– For me the desire is always latent, as well as the desire. We are all very crazy, but love is the supreme drug. It controls you whether you want to or not. Deep down, it is what we are looking for.