Five.others is the inner workings of a mysterious singer-songwriter, multi instrumentalist and producer from Toronto, Canada. Blending together his love for indie, pop, rock, psychedelic and soul music, the result is staggering and transcendent beyond belief. His new EP 'V.O' with lead single 'Don't Say' is a spacey and spiralling delivery full of surprises and creativity at every twist and turn.
Being such an interesting artist with so much to say and delve into, we sat down with Five.others and asked him all about the EP, his life and plans for the future exclusively for FLEX:
Hey Five.others, welcome to FLEX How are you?
Hi FLEX, thanks for having me. I’m grateful.
Could you describe your sound & style for any of our readers who may not have heard of you before?
Slow, sad, sweet sweet vocals over groovy, spooky, beats with jazzy, soulful, funky guitars. There’s an atmospheric aspect of it, shoegaze even, that really might just be an expression of my approach to my creative process here, journalistic and abstract. I’m no expert in classifying music genres, but something in the neighbourhood of Alternative/R&B/Soul/Post-Funk made in the least ergonomical home studio.
It is a bit of mix, personally I don’t have the intention of any specific genre, but there is a certain ambivalence or balance that I have been hoping to capture or express.
Give us a fun fact about yourself we can’t find from Google/social media!
I feel like I try to tell people the fun parts, but my digital footprint is ghost-like. Never mind, I have a categorically poor track record in that area. Is that really a fun fact? Probably not! I love apricot juice? I even forget about that one sometimes. But one thing I’ve learned about myself is that I enjoy sharing joy with others.
Please tell us all about your new album and lead single 'Don't Say'!
It’s a 5 song EO titled V.O, completely DIY, the second release I’ve produced and mixed myself. It’s emotional and conflicted and contemplative, each song bringing a different flavour.
Don’t Say touches on some of that, really it’s questioning fate or destiny to an extent. Are we doomed to be stuck in our patterns? How much can we change those? I think the answer can be different, and that the song might evoke more positive or negative emotions based off that answer.
I used a submarine sonar beep, maybe as if it’s searching, trying to locate something through the endlessness of the fairly standard R&B chord progression. Layers of flourishing guitars and strange synths adorn the groovy drum beat. It’s more of a choir or group approach to the vocal, as there is not necessarily a pronounced lead throughout, instead relying on harmonies.
It was chosen as the single because it seemed to be the song my focus group was grasping most uniformly. I think other songs on the EP might be more experimental or strange, it is not easy to pick most of the time. What is good or bad music, what will people like? What do I like? In a sense I try to remove myself from those equations.
Please tell us a bit about your creative process when it comes to songwriting?
I think I have needed to be writing songs for years now, to stay sane almost, to feel productive, and it usually works out to 2 or 3 songs a month. Some never get finished, some I’ll revisit when the time is right. These 5 songs on the EP V.O would have been what I was doing from February to April, for the most part.
I’ve been trying to stay out of my own way, to let the song goes where it goes, but over the course of weeks I’ll refine details or add things, before mixing and all that. I try to focus on finishing mixes before working on the next songs, to let go.
In some ways I am self aware, in others quite naive, it can be hard to know what can be poignant for people to hear or how one would articulate that. In some ways the ramblings of half remembered dreams can speak more clearly than a long edited thought. My natural disposition is to overthink until nothing gets done, my path for balance lies in intuiting more, letting myself discover what I’m trying to do more than trying to perfect things before they are made. Ultimately decisions have to be made, but I’d like to think that this is the right path for me, to continue creating, and that in time the rest of the apparatus will sort itself out.
Perhaps this will change at some point, perhaps I am doomed to repeat my cycles regardless. You don’t say.
Stream 'V.O' EP in full here:
Who or what influences your sound?
A friend told me I sounded like a cross between D’Angelo and Tame Impala, truly a compliment. I have said I’m like a diet Prince. Naturally the music I like or grew up listening to, or even music around me will influence my expressions. This goes for all the separate skills involved in my process, guitar wise my first inspiration was John Frusciante, but I find myself in others too, like Lianne La Havas. I think it’s important to let others inspire you in new ways, there is definitely something to be learned from them.
My tastes in all things, my person as a whole even, continues to grow and change which has reflected itself in my music. We are defined by our boundaries, the conflict of our selves, our contradictions, and how we navigate them. The way I see the world, myself, and the boundaries between them will no doubt have a large role in my creations, yet I am motivated to express that in ways that others can enjoy or resonate with.
I make what I know, or at least what I linger on. Poetic lyrics about regret, or patience, or acceptance all at once, where hope and dread swirl together, equal parts delicate and at ease, for example.
& Lastly, what can fans expect from Five.others next?
Certainly more songs in the future. As I’m promoting V.O perhaps I should stay present, but I have been working on a bunch of new songs that I’m excited about. I’d expect to release an album in the fall/winter season here in Toronto.
There is more going on though. I’m very happy to be hosting a weekly open mic/open jam night again, as well as doing shows/residencies in the city here. There are certainly areas that I should continue to grow in, and I would love to be able to put more time into doing so as an artist, or perhaps professionally as a creative in general.
I’d like to think bigger things are on the horizon, in appreciation, respect, reputation, compensation, influence, in new opportunities and relationships. Ultimately I’ve come to know that despite those things being nice they are secondary to my drive to create things that I feel are worthy of such.