Beck tells us about his new album, ‘Hyperspace’, working with “master minimalist” Pharrell and more
Collaborators also include Coldplay’s Chris Martin and Sky Ferreira
Beck has officially announced his 14th studio album, ‘Hyperspace’, which will be released next month, and shared the new tracks ‘Uneventful Days’ and ‘Hyperlife’. Check them out below along with an interview Beck gave to NME about the new record.
‘Hyperspace’ – which Beck teased last week in a cryptic Instagram post – comes two years after his last record, 2017’s Grammy award-winning ‘Colors’. The album is due out November 22 via Capitol Records. Seven of the album’s 11 tracks, including the previously released ‘Saw Lightning’ and the new single ‘Uneventful Days’, were co-written and co-produced by Pharrell.
“I’d always wanted to make a record with him,” Beck told NME. “We had been friendly over the years and had got together and talked about making some music back in 2012, but around that time he ended up putting out a song with Daft Punk, then ‘Blurred Lines’ and ‘Happy’.”
They started collaborating in earnest only when Pharrell asked Beck to work on the new N.E.R.D. record. “From there we started sharing songs and writing and doing this project together,” Beck said.
“I had a few things after the ‘Colors’ tour finished and I really wanted to seize the moment with this project,” Beck added. “There’d been a period of time where Pharrell had been really busy and an opportunity opened up so I went with it. Originally it was going to be a single or an EP, but I think we were both surprised when there was a body of work here.”
Today, Beck shares the album’s opening track ‘Hyperlife’ and new single ‘Uneventful Days’. Listen to both tracks below.
“I was not expecting the songs to come out how they did. I was going in thinking of songs like ‘Drop It Like It’s Hot’, y’know?” Beck said of working with Pharrell. “He felt very strongly that spending a little time with me, that ‘You need to be doing singer-songwriter type of songs’. So that was more of the direction we went in.”
He continued, “I really tried to be less ambitious on the production on these songs, like to let them be simple and let them breathe. Pharrell is a master minimalist. On production I’m a bit of a maximalist – I’m known to have 140 tracks of things trying to coexist and fight to be heard at the same time. I’ve really tried to reform myself to let it be more simple.”
‘Hyperspace’ is also one of Beck’s most collaborative efforts to date. Guests to look out for include Coldplay’s Chris Martin, who provides back-up on ‘Stratosphere’, and Sky Ferreira, who sings backing vocals on ‘Die Waiting’. A few days ago, Martin joined Beck onstage for a rendition of his 1994 hit, ‘Loser’.
‘Colors’ producer Greg Kurstin co-wrote and -produced ‘See Through’, while Adele collaborator Paul Epworth worked on ‘Star’. The title track ‘Hyperspace’ features guest vocals from newcomer Terrell Hines.
“A lot of my albums, there aren’t many guests,” Beck told NME. “I have memories about albums I’ve made that are just really lonely. I’m in there 12 hours a day just trudging through this production, so it’s a great joy to bring people I know into my music. I’m hoping to be able to do this more often.”
The tracklist of ‘Hyperspace’ is:
2. ‘Uneventful Days’
3. ‘Saw Lightning’
4. ‘Die Waiting’
6. ‘See Through’
9. ‘Dark Places’
11. ‘Everlasting Nothing’