There’s not much that Rex Orange County doesn’t play.
“I played most of the instruments on the album,” he says softly, without a hint of ego as he talks about his upcoming effort, Pony, due out on October 25. “Some of it was done by other musicians, but yeah, predominantly myself.”
As he anxiously swivels from side to side in his chair, he recounts some of the earliest songs he learned to play on each instrument, casually running through the taste-shaping tunes of the early 2000s. “I remember one of the first songs I learned on piano was ‘Clocks’ by Coldplay,” explains the 21-year-old. “I remember one of the first songs I learned on drums was ‘American Idiot’ by Green Day. I had bass lessons when I was like 13 or 14, and I was playing ‘Pork And Beans’ by Weezer.”
“They were some of the first songs I ever learned, and they were all pretty pivotal to me. I still like those artists,” he nods.
The spirit those early influences are alive and well in the music of Rex Orange County, all at once confessional and emotive, wounded but triumphant, with a penchant for pure pop melodies. It has helped the young English star build a following, rising to new levels with his latest single, “10/10.”
“Firstly the title is about, it’s like a rating, like how I feel or how I want to feel, how I feel like I am getting to” he explains in the exclusive RADIO.COM interview above. “It’s about feeling like a 5 out of 10 for a while, and it’s about being in that period of time where everything quite dark and you’re in a tunnel, and then you come out the other side, and you are hopeful and more positive and you want to be feeling 10 out of 10 because you’re like, ‘while we’re here, we might as well feel good about it.’”
The introspective single has taken off, and it’s part of a very personal narrative Rex Orange County has created with his upcoming album, Pony. “It’s about my life and how things have changed for me, and how I’m getting on with my life now in a different way and growing up and learning to deal with things changing,” he describes. “It’s called ‘Pony’ because that’s what I wanted to call it, and it’s a word I like. It kind of references being young and being like a young version of a human, not an adult.”
“It’s kind of just a reference to, this is me now, young,” he adds. “This is the truth. This is what I’m talking about and that’s that.”
Rex Orange County first came into focus for many when Tyler, The Creator featured him on his 2017 album Flower Boy, finding new fans and a new friend. “We spoke on the internet for a while about other people’s music,” he recalls. “Then he liked some of my songs and my voice enough to want to do that song.” The simple spark between the two gained more attention for the artist, with anticipation higher than ever for his upcoming LP. It comes along with a tour that kicks off in November and comes to the US in 2020.
“This tour’s going to be different and there’s more to expect,” he smiles mischievously. “Visually, and there’s way more songs, and there’ll be inflatables of some kind, whatever that might mean to you. But I can’t tell you about it, you have to come and see it actually.”
You can find the full list of upcoming tour dates, inflatables and all, here. Pony arrives everywhere on October 25.