Troye Sivan has finally released his latest EP In A Dream after months of intense excitement and anticipation.
Our very own pop superstar has been absent since 2018’s excellent album Bloom but this new EP is a firm reminder of his talents. From the euphoric electro-pop of ‘Easy’ to the contemplative and atmospheric ‘Rager teenager!’, the six tracks are varied in style, the artist not resting on his laurels.
What really links In A Dream together is the breakdown of a long-term relationship, clues to which are held in the EP’s lyrics. It’s an impressively open and vulnerable work by the singer, where other artists would have kept things hidden in the shadows.
Now 25, Troye Sivan is entering into a remarkable third decade in the public eye. In A Dream is the perfect platform for him to move into another successful career chapter.
Don’t Bore Us spoke to Troye Sivan from his Melbourne home. He discussed everything from the inspiration behind In A Dream, his friendship with Taylor Swift, his creative process, and what the future holds!
Don’t Bore Us: You’ve called In A Dream a concept EP? What’s the idea behind it?
Troye Sivan: I don’t really know what I would call it because the truth is I didn’t really start this project thinking I was making anything in particular. I normally go into the album writing process with a sonic mood board with a playlist of sounds that inspire me or artists that inspire me.
I have a really good sense of what I’m trying to achieve. And then with this it was different in that I was just sort of going through this rollercoaster in my mind and I was really just going to the studio just because I was feeling a different way every hour let alone every day.
I think that’s why it’s turned out to be such a weird project in that it doesn’t really have one sound. I’m exploring the same kind of story from different angles and I think the thing that ties it all together is that it’s this very potent and concise collection of songs that were all written in short succession. I guess that’s sort of the concept! It was sort of unintentional but it’s really about an intense time of my life in this time capsule.
DBU: Was there anything in particular that was inspiring you during the recording of the EP?
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TS: Oh yes! So much but I know that one thing in mind was ‘I’m On Fire’ by Bruce Springsteen. It ended up being the inspiration for the song ‘Easy’! I do have those songs that I pull from when I come into the studio and I know how I’m feeling and I know I have something to say but I don’t yet know how I wanna say it. I just jump on Spotify and start listening to stuff that inspires me and maybe I’ll find something that I like.
DBU: ‘Easy’ was the first time you directed your own music video. Is that something you enjoyed doing?
TS: I really enjoyed it. I was really nervous but I think without realising it I have been directing stuff technically because I’ve been making YouTube videos for a long time. This was my first time directing a crew and everyone was a lot more experienced than me and a lot older than me and so actually being in charge was a bit scary and a bit overwhelming but at the end of the day I really enjoyed it and I had a great time. I would love to do it again.
Check out ‘Easy (Behind The Scenes)’ by Troye Sivan:
DBU: Between this EP and ‘Bloom’ do you think your songwriting has developed?
TS: I do think so! I think it’s boring because I feel like artists say this every time but I really do feel like this is the most honest I’ve ever been. Maybe because I didn’t know I was writing a project and I just thought I was writing to see what would happen, I wasn’t so pressured about stuff so I was just trying things.
On the vinyl there’s this track ‘10/10’ and it’s a guitar ballad so to then use club production on a song like ‘Stud’ which helps set the aesthetic for what’s happening lyrically in that song, it was trying different sounds. As a storyteller I just had a lot of fun exploring and I felt really free to do that in whatever way. I wasn’t really trying to write a pop album, I was trying to tell a story in the most accurate way possible so that was really fun for me and refreshing.
DBU: Do you have a personal favourite song from the album or does that completely change every day?
TS: It does change but I think ‘In a dream’ is my favourite. It’s just weird in the way we wrote it because it started off as this dreamy ballad song and I had this dreamy ballad concept and then Oscar (Gorres) who I work with started putting these relentless and chaotic heavy drums behind it and then I thought ‘oh that’s too much’.
Then he added this acoustic guitar and I almost like cried. It just took shape in a way I didn’t expect, I don’t really know how he did it, it was a weird song for me, in a good way. It keeps me on my toes I guess!
DBU: ‘Rager teenager!’ was the newest song released, what was that about? It feels very nostalgic for a past self.
TS: Exactly. I was going through a big life shift and I felt like I was rereading myself and this version of myself I thought never existed started to show up again. I was just surprised by that and I was trying to write a letter to that person or to that set of characteristics and being like ‘Hey! Where have you been for the last however long?’.
Check out ‘Rager teenager!’ by Troye Sivan:
DBU: Obviously we’ve got to ask you about coronavirus. How’s lockdown been for you?
TS: It’s been ok. I’m in Melbourne, so we’re very locked down. I just feel really lucky to be a creative person at the moment. to be able to say that you can keep yourself entertained and keep your mind active and be working and pushing yourself, that’s really lucky!
I’ve been keeping myself active in my head in new and interesting ways so I’m enjoying that a little bit. I haven’t been bored in a really long time.
DBU: There’s always a link between boredom and creativity. Have you found that the conditions under lockdown have made you feel more creative artistically?
TS: Definitely. I think in different ways as well which has been fun for me. I’m really into interior design at the moment and woodworking which I’ve never done. I’ve been cooking for the first time in my life too (laughs).
DBU: You must still miss America and L.A. specifically?
TS: Yes definitely. I really miss my dog, that’s been a tough thing. What I thought was going to be a couple of weeks has turned into like six months. I really miss him. I’m just hoping that everything will get better soon and I’ll get back.
DBU: You’ve been friends with Taylor Swift for a long time now. Did she send you something during lockdown?
TS: She sent me one of the cardigans that she made for the new album. It’s really soft and it’s great.
DBU: Obviously you’ve listened to ‘Folklore’, do you like it?
TS: I love it so much. I think it’s some of her best work. Ever.
DBU: Your first EP was called Dare To Dream and I found there was a nice circularity between that and this one being called In A Dream. Did you ever envision yourself being at this point in your career?
TS: To be honest that was a complete accident (laughs). I mean now thinking about it, it’s pretty crazy. That EP was literally a set of four cover songs and I recorded it in Perth. I used to just busk in the city (Perth) and I would use that money to pay for studios to record cover songs. Now this is my full time job and to do it every single day, it’s a real full circle moment.
DBU: This was only a six-track EP, are there any plans for another full-length album?
TS: I mean not right now. One thing that I have had trouble with during lockdown is writing music because I collaborate with producers and other writers and that’s such a big part of the process, and so to not be able to be with these people at the moment, it’s not very inspiring. There’s something really intimate about the energy in the room when you’re songwriting together.
DBU: Your previous tour ended last November, so how much are you going to miss performing this EP live for the fans?
TS: That’s going to suck. Maybe I will put out more music and then go on a mega-tour where I perform the EP and the album.
DBU: Time once called you “the perfect popstar” so I wanted to ask if you could combine parts of other artists that you admire, what would make “the perfect popstar” in your mind?
TS: I think for me the perfect pop star is someone who you feel like they’re behind the wheel. I really like when you see an artist who’s the mastermind of their own universe.
If I could take some mogul skills from Rihanna, I wouldn’t mind that! I’ve always admired people who are multi-talented in multiple different formats, somebody who can transition fluently between acting and singing, documentary, or design, whatever. That’s kind of my goal.