Skylar Spence Carousel / Cry Wolf
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2. Cry Wolf
“Carousel,” the first Skylar Spence single since the 2015 breakout album, Prom King, was written after a trip to Disney World with his girlfriend. The chorus was intended to be cyclical like a ferris wheel or a carousel — at the end of the ride, you end up where you started. In the song, the vacation starts out hectic which, for him ruins the point of a vacation, when you can’t kick your feet up and relax. You need to work hard for those moments, to feel like you earned them. Those moments when one doesn’t have to abide by a schedule, that allows for relaxation or even exploration, and they usually end up being the best parts of a vacation.
“Cry Wolf,” the second single this summer from Skylar Spence since the 2015 breakout debut LP, Prom King. It’s essentially a summarization of a long period of time, beginning when he finished the Pixel Empire tour with Madeon and moved into a small room in a Brooklyn apartment, he describes, “I felt alone and detached from things that used to make me feel joy, but kind of just allowed myself to wallow in that anxiety and depression instead of reaching out for help. It took me nearly a year to reach the point where I had to start making changes in my life, and this chorus was meant to be kind of a mantra for people who’ve found themselves in my space, where you’ve talked so often about making changes it starts to feel like crying wolf. You can get through it (and appreciate the insight you gained for having gone through it!)”
Skylar Spence is the continuation of Ryan DeRobertis’ Saint Pepsi project, which he started in late 2012. In the years since, he’s released a number of sample-y long-players full of slo-mo funk and boogie, and he rose to prominence as one of the more distinct voices associated with vaporwave corners of the Internet.
Growing up listening to the likes of Duran Duran and Chic, 22-year-old DeRobertis had plenty of inspiration when he started Saint Pepsi as an Ableton exercise. And though he began writing music at age 13, he hadn’t tried writing his own song in the style of his favorite music until “Fall Harder,” which appears on Skylar Spence’s full-length debut, Prom King. After strengthening his skills as a producer with the Hit Vibes album, he began incorporating his own instruments and production flourishes into his work, first with the Gin City EP. Prom King distills DeRobertis’ sampling style into an idiosyncratic melody machine, introduced his own vocals to the mix, and adopted tighter disco and new wave song structures. It’s “pop music for freaks,” as DeRobertis has it—outlandish aesthetics filtered through his deft intuition.