100% Zack Villere: the Brockhampton-approved DIY popstar
The Louisiana native makes pitch-bent pop that bangs on his recent album Cardboard City.
Twerpy electronic musician Zack Villere’s trademark drowsy lo-fi style and Very Online sensibilities have already gained him tens of millions of streams on his 2017 release Little World, as well as a Twitter co-sign from the likes of Tyler, the Creator and Brockhampton’s Kevin Abstract, who called Villere’s 2019 video for Sore Throat his favourite of the year. (He’s mates with the band.)
His new album, Cardboard City, was released last month and boasts pitch-bending collabs with R&B artist Dijon and rapper J’Von, as well as Villere making the most of his own voice.
Still, the Louisiana native, who started out making beats under the name Froyo Ma, has nowhere to go but up. He’s part of the new vanguard of Soundcloud-sown bedroom popstars like Clairo and Steve Lacy, taking a DIY approach to crafting heady soundscapes out of twangy guitars, warbling synths and playfully distorted vocals.
On 2017’s Cool, he sings: “I’ve always wanted to be cool /But I’m not that cool, that cool.” We beg to differ.
10%: Where were you born, where were you raised and where are you now based?
I was born and raised in Covington, Louisiana and I am currently based nowhere… ahahah basically I was living in Los Angeles for three years but I moved out of my apartment a week before I left for my first tour (which I am currently on) and I am planning to move to New York when the tour ends in two weeks.
20%: At what point did you realise you’d be able to do what you love for a living?
I don’t know… I just always believed I could do it if I got good enough. And I’m still working on getting there.
30%: What kind of emotions and experiences influence your work?
I’m a very sentimental person and I romanticise everything, so I would say I just imagine a lot of things that are nice in my head and I like to write them down or try to make them real in some way. That or I will feel nostalgic and try to emulate whatever I felt at some other time. I have a hard time enjoying what’s right in front of me so a lot of my music comes from me picturing something else.
40%: Break down your typical day at work…
When I was really in the thick of making Cardboard City I would just wake up, walk to the studio down the street from my apartment, and work there for like eight hours or so and then walk home and sleep. I wanted to treat it like a structured thing so I could feel good about myself, as long as I showed up, even if I didn’t make anything worthwhile. I had been working from home for a long time and the lack of structure at that time was making me dread the idea of even making music at all. I really want to collaborate more going forward. I got so tired of being in the studio by myself late at night, it gets pretty lonely not being able to share the experience with anyone.
50%: What can artists do to help save the world?
My goal is to spend my life always trying to be the best version of myself and hopefully that can inspire people to do the same. And that includes conquering my anxieties or depressive episodes or any ignorance that is instilled in me. I also wanna show people that they can be whoever they want to be. I’m not a good singer, I’m not a great writer, I’m not a great artist, but despite all of that I am still gonna achieve everything I want and hopefully that gives people hope.
60%: You rule the world for a day. What went down?
CGI is illegal, all movies are made with practical effects. I am extremely fashionable and everyone in the world is stoked and comfortable and I’m also no longer allergic to anything… and I go vegan.
70%: Five dinner guests you’d invite? (Dead or alive)
Trevor Rice, M.I.A., Bobby Moynihan, William Howard Taft, Wanda Sykes.
80%: Biggest pet peeve?
When brands try to be funny on the internet.
90%: You can only listen to three albums for the rest of your life. What are they?
Frank Ocean channel ORANGE, SZA Ctrl, and Kanye West, Yeezus.
100%: No.1 holiday destination?
Uhhhhhhh I really wanna go anywhere with really good food that I’ve never had and interesting culture. I legit don’t care where I am I just wanna try and see new things.