Myles Cameron Is Looking For Beauty in the Midst of the Apocalypse [Q&A]
Photo: Texas Isaiah
Myles Cameron is the artist we need, a man whose intentions and introspection are uncompromising, a concussive alliance of lyrical intellect, music rooted in tradition and a general aversion to obvious varnishes. With his third EP, taking several years to put together, Myles tackles topics across the social spectrum and we didn't want to filter this generational voice, so we asked him directly about Black Boys Look Blue.
Ones to Watch: We've been fans for a while now. How has Myles Cameron the artist evolved?
Myles Cameron: Hmm. Well if we say the beginning was back in 2018/2019 with "Caged Bird" and the first EP, I'd say im just further along the journey of figuring out who I want to be as a person and as an artist. Storytelling and lyrics and aesthetic cohesion are still really important to me. But im definitely experimenting more. And expanding the palate of what I listen to, which I think comes out in the work. I'd say this current version of Myles Cameron is drawing from a lot more places musically.
What does Black Boys Look Blue mean to you?
The last track on the EP, "Enter the Blue," is sort of meant to give context to the title. Black boys look blue in the moonlight, but also in police lights, but also alone at night processing the emotions we're not supposed to show in public.
You said you created 100 songs for this project? How did you ever manage to narrow it down to these six songs?
You just kinda know man. When you're sitting on that many demos you don't have the time or desire to go back and listen to all 100 all the time. The ones that you keep finding yourself going back to again and again, humming throughout the day, playing back to back. Those are the ones that are meant to be shared. I don't really make music for listeners. I make it for myself, and then I release it for other people to hopefully enjoy.
You also said artist development doesn't exist anymore. Is that a statement about the industry?
The lack of discipline artists have? I definitely mean that more as a statement about the industry. If you look at the state of things right now, there's just not much of a financial incentive for labels or other music companies to sit and assist an artist through project rollout after project rollout until they really catch their stride. There are just so many artists out there. Like 20 new kids go viral on TikTok every month. There's too much money to be made chasing down viral songs and viral acts for companies to want to be patient with artists. Which I totally understand, to be fair. Despite that I think there still are a lot of artists who are taking it upon themselves to develop and who have this really patient approach to becoming great at what they do. You might not have heard of them yet, but when you do, it'll be as fully actualized versions of themselves that are undeniably great. People like Kevin Abstract, Orion Sun, Bakar, Mavi. They just get better and better with each project, and it's so inspiring.
Do you take promise that the pop-punk music you grew up on seems to be trending back into popularity? Does that give you more room to grow musically?
I fucking love that shit man. Especially because this time around there are a lot of black artists leading the charge. KennyHoopla, Jean Dawson, Willow Smith. I don't know that I see myself necessarily pivoting that far and making music that I would classify as punk or pop punk, but I do love that stuff and love that energy and love when I get the chance to inject a dose of it into my stuff.
What do you hope a listener takes away from Black Boys Look Blue?
Whatever they want honestly. It's my attempt at making something beautiful in the middle of the apocalypse. I hope people get some sense of peace, or wonder, or joy out of it. A brief escape from the chaos we're all living through.
What’s next for you? What should we be on the lookout for?
I'm not completely sure to be honest. I'm like four or so tracks into the next thing. Well 30 tracks but four good ones. I've been writing a lot of ballads lately.
Outside of music, what or who is inspiring you right now?
Hmm. James Baldwin. I just read Another Country, and the last 30 pages of that book might've been the best prose I've ever read in my life. I've also been reading Sally Rooney's books. She just crafts these beautiful internal worlds for her characters and these love stories that are nice to get lost in. And Tyler Mitchell's photography of course. I'm gonna shoot w that nigga one day, just putting it down here. I feel like we would get along. His photos contain a lot of the themes I write about.
Who are your Ones to Watch?
Faye Webster's record was amazing this year. And my homies Serena Isioma and Dhruv have been having huge years and im so proud of them. :) Also Papa Mbye out in Minneapolis. Dude's a fuckin rock star.
Black Boys Look Blue is available everywhere you can stream it.