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Frank Ocean – summer 2019
Frank wears t-shirt Stray Rats, all jewellery his ownPhotography Willy Vanderperre, Styling Robbie Spencer

The world according to Frank Ocean

Frank Ocean – summer 2019

John Waters, Janet Mock, Billy Porter and many more pose questions to the most enigmatic pop star of our generation

Taken from the summer 2019 issue of Dazed. You can pre-order a copy of our latest issue here

MICHAEL MAYREN: If you could travel back in time to meet 15-year-old Christopher Breaux, what would you say to him?
FRANK OCEAN: Keep brushing and wear your du-rag every night!

JOHN WATERS: What is the most insane film you’ve ever seen?
FRANK OCEAN: Nymphomaniac is the most insane one I’ve seen recently.

AVA NIRUI: What’s your favourite cereal and do you think it’s acceptable to eat cereal at any point in the day?
FRANK OCEAN: I love super-sugary cereal like Cinnamon Toast Crunch and Apple Cinnamon Cheerios – but I don’t really eat ’em any more because they’re super-sugary. Haha.

VIVIANE SASSEN: What is your first memory from childhood?
FRANK OCEAN: Watching figure-skating with my great-grandmother when I was around two years old.

PALOMA ELSESSER: Frank, what does heaven look like? What’s the scene, what’s the scent, what’s the feeling?
FRANK OCEAN: OK, so the scene is a city half overgrown by jungle and it feels like you and your lover laid out like two letter Xs in the shade on a beach, and the faint scent of tigerlilies, BBQ and sweat.

ARCA: Are there any similarities or differences between Frank and Christopher? Do you have any other names or nicknames you like to go by that you wanna share? Kiss on your forehead byeee 
FRANK OCEAN: Christopher is a triangle wave. Frank is a pulse wave. I’m a little synthesiser. Xo

BILLY PORTER: How are you navigating being queer in the music business? Do you feel marginalised? If so, why do you think this is the case?
FRANK OCEAN: I navigate it pretty smooth so far. If anything my personal life needs the GPS sometimes.

AMANDLA STENBERG: What practices do you rely on – in mind, body and soul – to create and protect the space from which you channel your artistry?
FRANK OCEAN: Freezing cold showers in the morning. Cold water kinda brings me back into the game of it all. I like that I’m taking a foreign language class every morning (with coffee haha) because I think that it sharpens my brain before the day. A good amount of physical activity during the week and verbalising positivity is key!

ARI MARCOPOULOS: How did you sleep last night?
FRANK OCEAN: Like a stone. Like a stone stoned.

ADWOA ABOAH: Are you a control freak?
FRANK OCEAN: Oh yes babes I’m a freak… in control.

JANET MOCK: In a world where you can acquire or be given any material good, have access to the most exclusive spaces, and broadcast yourself for the gaze of a distracted public, is privacy the ultimate luxury, the one thing no one can truly buy? If not, what is the most unattainable non-tangible thing for you?
FRANK OCEAN: Privacy, maybe, but really it’s time and expertise and love and joy.

ROSALÍA: Do you feel that you belong to this world and time?
FRANK OCEAN: Yes, very much so. But I also sense I could have just as easily happened to be at any point in history.

JONATHAN ANDERSON: If you could have your portrait done by any painter dead or alive, who would it be?
FRANK OCEAN: I’d love to see Caravaggio render me perfect and then Albert Oehlen make it mental.

TED STANSFIELD: When you’re struggling to get to sleep, where in your mind do you escape to?
FRANK OCEAN: Not in my mind, but there are websites for that…

JOHN WATERS: Any movie you wished you wrote the title song for?
FRANK OCEAN: Merry Christmas, Mr Lawrence.

MELODY EHSANI: Why are you so fine, though? And to what do you attribute your great sense of curiosity?
FRANK OCEAN: 🙂 I think it’s in my DNA (the curiosity not the fineness, haha). I don’t feel responsible for my drive or my curiosity – I’ve just always wanted to know what’s out there.

JULIAN CONSUEGRA: What would be your perfect swimming pool environment – temperature, design etc?
FRANK OCEAN: We need mild bath temperature. Scary deep, like there could be creatures lurking. A high-dive. Shallow side one colour, deep side same color but deeper, so darker.

VIVIANE SASSEN: What is your favourite car sound?
FRANK OCEAN: The hum of a Tesla battery.

REX ORANGE COUNTY: What’s the most important physical thing in your life?
FRANK OCEAN: My hard drives.

IAN KENNETH BIRD: You wake up tomorrow in a different city with a different job. Where are you and what are you doing?
FRANK OCEAN: I’m here. I’m a spy.

JULIAN CONSUEGRA: You have a great singing voice, have you ever tried to sing like Pavarotti privately even if it was bad?
FRANK OCEAN: No. But have you ever heard him whistle like a bird on YouTube?

MATT OX: Do you have any routines, rituals or specific things that you do to put you in the right creative mindset to get in the studio and make your music?
FRANK OCEAN: Nah, man. I just show up.

“I don’t feel responsible for my drive or my curiosity – I’ve just always wanted to know what’s out there” – Frank Ocean

JPEGMAFIA: How did it feel fucking over a label like that (Ocean released Endless in 2016 to fulfil his contract with Def Jam, releasing Blonde independently one day later)? Old white niggas do that to us all the time, but how did it feel giving them a taste of their own elixir? And what did you build in the video for Endless? Can I live in it?
FRANK OCEAN: Eyy, Peggy! You know, it’s funny talking about it these days because I couldn’t really tell anybody anything for a couple of years. Couldn’t tell anyone at the label, obviously. But I also couldn’t talk with anyone at Apple because the industry is too small and it would’ve gotten back to the label for sure. So I kept it to myself and a few in my circle. I carried my hard drives around with me when I travelled because I used to not store anything online. Those drives became a physical representation of the stakes. If the files had leaked, everything would have worked out very differently for me. When August came around and both projects were uploaded I felt the euphoria, yeah, but mostly I just needed to sleep. I probably slept something like 15 hours. To answer your second question, I built a 12-foot staircase with my fucking bare hands some days before! It’s in my storage, you want it??

YSHAM JACKSON: What is your biggest failure and what did you learn from it?
FRANK OCEAN: My biggest what? Excuse me? Lol

THE BLAZE: What’s the last dream that you had?
FRANK OCEAN: It’s really a secret.

BIG FREEDIA: Is there a person in your childhood who helped you become who you are today?
FRANK OCEAN: Jheri Roscoe is one. She passed away but she was one of my mom’s close friends. Really sweet woman. I used to call her on the house phone when I was, like, ten or 11 and sing her the songs I came up with. She encouraged me to keep going and made me feel like I had something special, which I think everyone needs at one point or another. She also put me on to Prince for the first time.

JOHN WATERS: Will you please do a new version of the Divine song ‘Female Trouble’? 
FRANK OCEAN: Haha. I can try!

EVIAN CHRIST: What is your favourite dinosaur?
FRANK OCEAN: I don’t want to sound stupid but are dragons, like, mythical dinosaurs? Is the Loch Ness monster sort of a dinosaur idea? I like the cute little hammerhead dinosaurs.

“For as much rejection (as there is) out there waiting in the world, there’s an almost equal amount of acceptance and love” – Frank Ocean

WARSAN SHIRE: So many of our generation feel a massive sense of impending doom regarding climate change and its effects on this planet we call home. Do you share this sense of dread? How do you cope with this feeling?
FRANK OCEAN: I don’t share the sense of dread, no. I try to lessen my personal impact and the impact of my business where I can. But I do worry about the great sense of entitlement society has at this point when it comes to technological innovation. A lot of us just blindly expect either this generation or a future generation of bright minds to resolve the problem. A lot of the people who expect this salvation aren’t the people attempting to solve the problems that we face, and probably don’t know anyone personally who is attempting to solve these problems.

EVAN MOCK: Is Cleopatra working at the pyramids tonight? If so, does she do private lessons?
FRANK OCEAN: RING RING!

DURGA CHEW-BOSE: Who or what do you think about when the plane’s turbulence is real bad?
FRANK OCEAN: I think about how my friend Caroline says turbulence makes her giggle.

AKINOLA DAVIES JR: What is your definition of ‘winning’?
FRANK OCEAN: Beating my opponent.

PATRIK SANDBERG: Do you consider yourself to be a futurist or a nostalgic? As we approach a new decade, how do you think the first two decades of the millennium will come to be fortified in terms of aesthetic language? Or, more simply, what should we keep and what do you hope to see discarded into the chasm of oblivion?
FRANK OCEAN: I don’t think how these decades are remembered from an aesthetic standpoint really matters. Which probably answers your question about whether or not I’m a futurist or a nostalgic person, haha. I’m as susceptible to nostalgia as the next guy but I’m probably more about ‘next’. What should we get rid of? I think we should get rid of wires and plastics.

YOON AMBUSH: Who would you really like to just punch in the face?
FRANK OCEAN: No one. I’m a man of peace.

WILSON ORYEMA: Do you have any mantras you’ve repeated to yourself recently, or that you’ve found to be helpful at any point in your life?
FRANK OCEAN: ‘Nobody cares.’ I know it sounds negative, but to me it’s not. I say those two words all the time to remind myself not to be too self-serious. Every now and then I like to say, ‘Fuck who sees.’

COSIMA: To a lot of artists who are trapped in deals and contracts you’re something of a north star; when I was trying to find a way out of my record deal I read about what you did with Blonde almost every day. Did you have your own version of that?
FRANK OCEAN: Not exactly, no. I thought sometimes about what Steve Jobs did with NeXT.

DIANA TOURJÉE: What would you say to a young person who wants to end their life because of who they are?
FRANK OCEAN: I wouldn’t say much at first, I’d listen. I’d maybe try to tell them my story. I think people are motivated by pleasure and pain so I would wanna ask them how they feel about the idea that, for as much rejection (as there is) out there waiting in the world, there’s an almost equal amount of acceptance and love that they can find themselves in the thick of. I’d remind them that there might be a time in their lives if they survive long enough where they will look back on this time in disbelief. I’d tell them that so much is possible for them. If I wasn’t there to talk I’d say call Trevor Project at 1-866-488-7386.

ALEX FRANK: What’s a human being’s moral responsibility in their short time on Earth? What’s yours?
FRANK OCEAN: I follow the morals that are compelling to me. They’re humanistic in part, for sure. But I don’t feel like I’m responsible for following them. Maybe I feel responsible for my loved ones. So according to that, I need to stay outta jail and keep some money in my ‘pocket’…

JULIAN CONSUEGRA: If Julian Consuegra was your roommate do you think you guys would kill each other or rewatch episodes of Grown-ish over and over?
FRANK OCEAN: I don’t have guest rooms in my apartment.

JULIAN CONSUEGRA: Knowing you didn’t grow up watching cartoons so much, what would it take for you to be interested in one today? What did you watch as a child?
FRANK OCEAN: Idk – I watched the trees blow in the wind as a child. And I know how much you hate that answer! 🙂

ALTON MASON: What brings you peace?
FRANK OCEAN: Hmm. I’m pretty peaceful in general, but I’m most at ease in weather where I’m comfortable without a shirt.

ISABELLA BURLEY: What would a Frank Ocean futuretopia look like?
FRANK OCEAN: Plaid. I’m seeing lots of plaid.

REX ORANGE COUNTY: What’s your favourite season?
FRANK OCEAN: Fall in NYC.

RAVEN SMITH: I think of myself as enigmatic but I’m not. In our compulsive self-broadcasting culture you’re able to remain quiet above the mindless chatter. What’s the secret to shutting up?
FRANK OCEAN: I simply don’t think everything I have to say about anything is important. Haha.

JULIAN CONSUEGRA: If you had time for revisiting old video games which one would you want to dive deep into or play again?
FRANK OCEAN: Gran Turismo.

NILE RODGERS: When is Channel Orange coming out on vinyl?
FRANK OCEAN: ASAP.

RAYMOND BUCK: What’s left for you to achieve?
FRANK OCEAN: Building a family.

LUCIEN CLARKE: What’s your total inspiration and drive?
FRANK OCEAN: Unlimited. All-Time. 

Hair Nathaniel Bury, make-up Lynsey Alexander at Streeters using Lancôme, nails Laura Forget at Artlist, lighting Romain Dubus, digital operator Henri Coutant, on-set retouching Stéphane Virlogeux, styling assistants Ioana Ivan, Marianne Kakko, Maria Bonfa, hair assistant Claire Grech, make-up assistant Phoebe Brown, lighting assistant Yves Mourtada, production Floriane Desperier at Entrée Libre, production assistant Louis Lambert, post-production TripleLutz Paris