The singer’s new mixtape is an alluring introspective journey.
Listen to the new FKA Twigs mixtape Caprisongs, where sound bytes appear at the start or end of almost every track, you may feel like you’re hiding between the pages of his personal musings or overhearing a conversation among friends from his London home. In a few soundbites, a friend motivates you by saying, “This is the year of greatness, bruv, and freedom, I tell you.” Then in another, a girlfriend tells you that those toxic boys aren’t worthy of you, like in the song “Oh My Love.”
The most striking byte that perhaps best sums up Caprisongs is when Twigs directly addresses his intentions by doing this mixtape. In the opening track, “Ride the Dragon”, she gently pulls us in and says, “When I feel you, I feel, and when I feel, it feels good”, already weaving us into the fabric of her new body. work and its various emotional patterns before hearing the first verse.
FKA Twigs has never shied away from the theatrical grandeur of her art, serving us with consistent effort and detail in style, dance, and visuals (she’s a Capricorn, after all). In his second studio album, Magdalene, the then more reserved interdisciplinary artist surrendered to healing in grief. And now in Caprisongsshe strips off a few more layers, this time evolving the voice of the divine feminine that existed in Magdalene and move into a space where she can celebrate her joy and indulge in the messiness of life.
FASHION spoke to FKA Twigs about creating Caprisongsher collaboration with artists (including The Weeknd) and her return to herself.
How do you feel liberated Caprisongs? I know you worked on it during lockdown and via FaceTime. Did it feel like a different process than your other albums?
I think there is a bigger energetic response to this mixtape [compared to] to my others. The ambiance is very inviting and it has a [feeling of] community and a more joyful conviviality.
Listen, I’m thrilled. It’s always a huge achievement to release anything in the world and so the fact that this is my third piece of long-form music, I’m grateful.
You have nine features on this album! How do you choose the artists you want to collaborate with? Are these artists you always wanted to work with, or was it more of an impulsive energy?
A bit of both to be honest. I mean, the whole point of this album is not to think about it too much. That was the challenge for me as a notorious perfectionist. I spent four years doing Magdalene! It’s a challenge for me to do something in 18 months or less and get it out and look carefree.
I was isolating myself so the more people texting me the busier I had to do the more MP3s I got in my emails the more voice notes I got the more I had to do different things to keep me busy, the easier the confinement was for me. I think sometimes I’ve collaborated with people because it was nice to be on FaceTime talking to someone… It’s not about needing help, it’s about the joy of to be together and to create.
What was the process of working with The Weeknd for your debut single, “Tears in the Club”?
I had written “Tears in the Club” and I had done the sketch on the piano with a little melody that I had made with Arca. El Quincho (producer) heard it and we both said The Weeknd would sound good, but I was like, ‘Look, The Weeknd wouldn’t want to be on my song. It sounds far-fetched – she’s the biggest pop star in the world,” and he says, “You’re FKA Twigs. You are crazy. Just send him a message. I was so shy… That’s where the phrase comes from [my song] “Light Beamers” comes from – “Baby, nobody dies of ‘no'”, because if you don’t ask, you don’t get anything. I asked Abel and he was brilliant and he returned the voice to me in two weeks.
I noticed that you always recognize the artists you collaborate with (whether dancers, stylists or make-up artists). How important are these relationships in your artistic approach?
That’s all. It really does take a whole village to raise a baby of art. Because I have confidence in myself, it’s a joy to highlight other people who help me achieve my dreams and I couldn’t do it without dancers and stylists.
we put “Tears in the Club” [music video choreography] together in two days… I had bronchitis and this was the first video I did where I was on steroids and antibiotics. I was really struggling, so the dancers helped me up – literally. You know when you’re sick and can’t think straight? I was trying to learn the routine and my brain was all racing. I couldn’t even think of the steps, I felt crazy.
Yeah, it’s like you’re dreaming
It was exactly like that! There were a few [dancers] it was my spine.
I think maybe not giving credit where it’s due is a sign of insecurity because, why not? I wouldn’t do this if I couldn’t be around people.
It’s the best feeling in the world when someone has a better idea than you. No ego in the room. When you come in with a seven and work with a team and they take it to a nine or a ten. It’s like the best feeling in the world. I am incredibly grateful to my creative team.
The album had effortless power about it and the video for “Ride the Dragon” reflects this. What will your visuals look like for the rest of the album?
As I developed as a musical artist, I also developed as a visual artist.
I was one of the first artists to figure out that people listen to music on YouTube, so I started making these GIF-like music videos and posting a visual for every song I put out… I go back to these roots.
Our attention span isn’t exactly great right now. We’ve been online a lot and we’re looking at short form content. [On] TikTok, for example, seven-second videos are the most popular… There’s sadness in that, but there’s also excitement. I want to challenge myself to stay up to date and create visuals that match our current situation in society. What I love is that there’s a punk element to it… Maybe it’s time to disrupt it and see how short videos we can do. In a few years, they could lengthen again.
@fkatwigs when you give chaotic good but your friends encourage you to be chaotic evil 😈 #caprisongs #jealousy ♬ Jealousy (feat. rema) – FKA twigs
Style and costume play a big role in the art you create. How would you describe the style of this era of Caprisongs? You said this album is a journey towards oneself. How does your style reflect this?
Caprisongs is to return to my roots, my heritage and my Jamaican side.
I grew up in a really white area. I was the only child who looked like me. Then moving to London and feeling a real sense of community was the discovery of being beautiful.
Where I was from, I was ‘the other’, then I went to Croydon College and I was normal… For me, that’s what the mixtape is all about. The style is a reflection of my discovery in Croydon and my move to East London; going to Jamaica for the first time to spend time with my grandparents and experience that side of myself.
Mathew and I, my stylist, talked a lot about this Magdalene would look like in the real world if it fell apart in London, like in the aesthetics and Magdelene’s album… It’s about taking the place where I’ve been aesthetically and anchoring it in my life.