Books (remember them?). Exercise (ah, yes). And new music (of course). L.A. native Rhys Langston, who released his new album in February, has been staying safe and engaged during the COVID-19 crisis. In today’s edition of the Buzz Bands LA interview/artist playlist series QUARANTUNES, he shares his recent passions, along with a playlist that mirrors his mood swings.
THE LATEST FROM RHYS LANGSTON
Rhys Langston’s “Language Arts Unit” is a full-length album, 100-page book and interactive literary experience — which sounds like it ought to be an MFA thesis and not just one of the most distinctive rap projects to come out of L.A. in quite some time. Released last month (the album-release party was postponed), it’s left-field hip-hop from somebody who could probably be a cleanup hitter if his synapses didn’t fire at such a high BPM and his absurdist streak didn’t run so wide. Time on your hands during the quarantine? Don’t fritter it away on meme-music. Get your scholar on.
HOW ARE YOU HOLDING UP AND WHAT ARE YOU DOING TO MANAGE THE ‘STAY AT HOME’ EDICT?
I’m trying a variety of strategies and approaches to keep myself together, so as to not disenchant my home environment and studio. I finally read the original “Dracula” by Bram Stoker (a 600-page edition) in the last week, and am on to the Second Norton Critical Edition of “The Tempest,” and the first book of “Dune” after that. I’ve been mixing a three-track EP of more silly, loose songs to add some levity to my routine, as well as engineering and producing a secret project. I started a visual art piece in graphite that I will eventually pick up, but I’m glad that I’m not forcing that. However, the major invigoration for me has been walking and jogging (at a generous social distance) around the local public park. It is an improvisation.
WHAT ARE YOU MOST LOOKING FORWARD TO WHEN THIS IS OVER?
Eating a taco around the corner, getting some good sushi and playing 5-on-5 pickup at the gym again. Also, yeah, finally being able to tour in support of my release.
ANYTHING WE SHOULD KNOW ABOUT THIS PLAYLIST?
If you thought my album had mood swings, you’re in for a(n) (elucidating) furrowed brow. It’s a collection of my recent moods and emotional states, culled from recent favorites and old sonic loves.