Deconstructing reality through the art of distraction, and learning the imperative nature of patience, are key elements felt on Berel’s newest visual, “The Blue Line.” The Los-Angeles based artist continues to trek through the soundscape of electro-soul and R&B, while pulling from sensory timestamps in his life for a sincere cut.
With roots hailing from Northern California, Berel’s encapsulation of each coast reflects seamlessly on his handful of singles. Earlier tracks such as “Simple” and “Nylon” peak with their golden-hushed tones and also speak to the artist’s balanced production, ranging from electronic to a more tangible instrumentation. And from these early offerings, and somewhat audible depiction on the color spectrum, there couldn’t be a better set-up for Berel’s upcoming EP, Thirteenth Floor, than through the scattered portrayal on “The Blue Line.”
The soul-lined track, which is nostalgically set to the last remains of the summer heat, takes heed of Berel’s torn lines: “My better half keeps crying asking how much time will pass.” Each stride is flushed from a contemporary and sliced production, courtesy of Aabo and Danny Dwyer, as Berel’s silky croons sentimentally wander. Drenched in a blue hue, Berel’s connection to loved ones, and to personal pursuits, becomes tangled on screen. What can be seen figuratively and literally, “The Blue Line” overall becomes a reminder to not let outside factors lead a person, but co-exist and walk alongside them.
Ahead of the Thirteenth Floor’s Sept. 24 release, we had a chance to briefly talk to the artist on the upcoming project and influences that impacted the sound.
OTW: “The Blue Line” video is finally out in the world, congrats. Now, the track took a smoother approach towards escaping “lost love” while the video’s color scheme and layout hits a little heavier. Was this your original intent to play with?
Berel: I always have experiences outside of music pulling me in different directions. Instead of getting overwhelmed, the song to me is about ease and patience.
OTW: On that note, originally, you’re from the Bay Area, which to me is a little more apparent on your last track “No Complaints” – so how has living in Los Angeles affected your musical process, and songwriting in general?
Berel: Although I spent a lot of time in the Bay, I’m actually from a remote place in Northern Cali called Humboldt County. Living in LA has been cool because there are so many creatives down here to bounce ideas off of and each day is an opportunity to make the most out of my livelihood and artist.
OTW: How excited are you to release your project, Thirteenth Floor, as you’re nearing closer to its release date?
Berel: The EP was the first time I had the chance to collaborate with so many different types of people and I’m just grateful for that experience. It’s all about the music, and yeah definitely, I’m beyond stoked.
OTW: Has this upcoming EP been a difficult journey? With “No Complaints,” “The Blue Line,” and your mention of finishing some tracks in an Airbnb (on Twitter), I figured you put a lot of yourself into the smallest details during this two-year span.
Berel: There were times that my patience ran thin, but the closer I got to the end, the more I believed in the project.
OTW: Any tracks off Thirteenth Floor that surprised yourself? More so not that you created it, but that you’re sharing it?
Berel: I’m happy to share this collection of songs, I think they sound great when you listen from front to back. Everything on the record sounds like me, so I’m not really surprised, because this EP really feels like me.
OTW: You work very closely, and I should say frequently, with producer Aabo, and you can tell there’s a reciprocated spark between you two. How is that relationship as producer and songwriter during the creative process?
Berel: Definitely, we’ve both been playing music since we were both youngsters, so it’s always been a big part of our lives. Aabo produces and we write songs together. I really prefer making music with my friends anyways, but he’s more like a brother to me.
OTW: I read that you were “stuck” on Malibu by Anderson .Paak, which I absolutely agree that it’s one of the best albums of our time. When you hear timeless projects like that, as an artist what are takeaways and elements that you’d like to emulate?
Berel: I’ve read that .Paak has thousands of songs that we’ll never hear… I wanna be that way too. Timeless classics get made through a lot of trial and experimenting, which is my goal as I move forward.
OTW: Any new artists you’re currently being inspired by?
Berel: Channel Tres is a one-of-a-kind artist. The rawness and emotionality of Ama Lou’s voice is humbling. I’m also super inspired by an artist and producer named Mars Today, who I live with. His work ethic is uncanny. He produced a real work of art, Kyle Dion’s latest album, Suga (also very inspired by what he’s doing).
OTW: We’re almost nearing the end of another year. What has been your most memorable moment so far?
Berel: Moving to LA, by far. I’ve always dreamt of doing since I was a kid, (but L.A. always felt so far from home). Love the music community down here.
OTW: Anything else you’d like to add?
Berel: Just, thank you to all the folks who have helped me along the way (there are so many and you know who you are), and shouts out to Ones To Watch for always bringing the quality music. Be sure to look for my Thirteenth Floor EP which drops on Sept. 24, and find me on IG: @berel.music.