Baby Blue, Colin Self, Cecilia and more discuss what it was like collaborating on the artist’s new record, What Dreams May Come
RABIT is Houston through and through. The producer continues to remain a fierce sonic experimenter, much like two of the city’s finest-ever musical talents: the late DJ Screw and Pimp C. In recent years, the artist has become revered for his musical talents, earning himself a production credit on Björk’s 2017 Grammy-nominated album Utopia as well as collaborating with the likes of Arca and Elysia Crampton.
On What Dreams May Come, his first album in four years, RABIT continues to contort and manipulate samples and instruments across 13 tracks. He believes the new record marks “a whole new era” for his music, evident through his inclusion of a wider scope of sounds – including the newfound usage of vocalists and live instruments.
What Dreams May Come is a concept album, described as a “time capsule” and a “living document” of the time in which it was created. Many tracks across the record explore both the beauty and struggle of being a queer person, in particular the powerful “Georgia Boy Interlude” which details the difficulty of attaining HIV medication. The haunting acoustic and electronic orchestrations throughout the album deliver a heart-wrenching collage of aural emotions – a sense of death and rebirth is constantly present, as the artist said himself, there is “a sense of new beginnings around every corner”. Featuring artists such as Eartheater, Colin Self, SALEM, Baby Blue, Lauren Auder, What Dreams May Come is a truly stunning work and one that shows a clear advancement in its creator’s music path.
Below, RABIT and his collaborators share their inspirations behind each of the album’s tracks.
“NO CEILING”, EMBACI, CECILIA
Rabit: Cecilia does outro vocals on this song, she worked early on in the album process with me. We had such a deep dialogue after working on the Les Fleurs du Mal album. She was naturally my sounding board for the earliest themes and concepts as I fleshed them out. A lot of people in music and art are in a race, they have goals, and competitions, and it can be quite dark. ‘No Ceiling’ is my own vibe, and it means just that. It’s about forgetting the prestige and finding a higher vibration. The only person I’m in a race or competition with is myself.
Cecilia: Working on this track with Rabit was like entering an exchange with a fellow alchemist. Creation becomes this very fluid and infinitely mutating process. The material that emerges from each phase is imagined, calcined, distilled, converted, transfigured, liquified. Everything can be destroyed and renewed. No attachment. It burns, melts, and it is reborn.
Going through the email thread and the ideas shared in the early stage of his composition process I smile, amazed that we came from a lyrical interpolation of Slick Rick’s warning tale ‘Children's Story’ to playing with Madonna’s ‘Frozen’ juxtaposing the narrative account of an apocalyptic dream I had where the earth was losing its gravity and the stars were falling in freefall.
“GEORGIA BOY” (INSTRUMENTAL), CROWW
Rabit: The instrumental version of a song with lyrics written by Croww, the vocal version will be released next year. Wait for it. The Southern mud, the Earth’s dirt.
“ANGELICA”, EARTHEATER, MAXWELL STERLING
Maxwell Sterling: My contribution to Angelica was the string arrangement. I like to think that they sit between the agile and ever-shifting mechanical beats by Rabit and Eartheater’s glistening vocals, the strings offering some sort of human realism or organic tone amidst the futurism of Rabit’s palette.
“THE GROWTH INTERLUDE”, LAGNIAPPE
Rabit: Texas has a lot of natural-born stars, we’re just built different. Lagniappe is definitely one of those stars. For the album, I asked friends to send me voice notes of anything that was on their mind. I wanted to capture all of us at that moment in transition, a freeze frame to save for later, the bitter and the sweet.
Lagniappe: I love to love. I can’t turn it off. It’s sincere, it's respectful, and it gets me in mess; It’s my nature. I was raised in a Black Christian military family in the south. They encourage marriage and families. Being a young sexy trans girl, new to Texas, I still carried that mindset. Boo-boo the fool. I fell in love, deeply, and more than once. At this time, I was setting boundaries with a toxic closeted pansexual guy. Ironically, I recorded this in my walk-in. This piece is about how I tried to impress him, by rolling a blunt. A blunt that would’ve passed for a Harry Potter wand. It was nostalgia, without relapse. When Rabit sent me this track, it reminded me of late-night rides in an empty city. You’re with someone, and high on weed or stimulating conversation. They’re playing their favourite song, and you say that thing you’ve been stressing to say, but you don’t let the fear stop you from being vulnerable. It’s the only way to grow. At the end of the day, we’re all just scratch paper.
“EPIPHANY”, LAUREN AUDER, JOHN BELTRAN, BABY BLUE
Baby Blue: This track is one of my favourites I’ve ever had the pleasure to work on. To make something so beautiful with friends and souls I admire so deeply warms my soul. I hope others can feel the love we put into it as well
“NO AIR”, COLIN SELF
Colin Self: Eric had sent a couple of iconic vocals from some seminal 90s club tracks, one of which being Goldie’s Inner City Life, which was made iconic by Diane Charlemagne’s incredible voice and delivery. For me, this track had always felt like a declarative and emotional beacon of a specific feeling of being with loved ones on a dark dance floor. Having a reverence for those spaces and those moments, it felt super cathartic to actually sing those words into the microphone, a little moment of the clouds breaking open amidst what had otherwise been a very chaotic moment in my life (and the world). Diane Charlemagne was truly a singular voice that defined the music of the DNB era, and this track definitely is in celebration of her legacy.
Rabit: The track with two tempos playing at the same time. Step out of the mist.
“GEORGIA BOY INTERLUDE”, BOOCHIE
Rabit: Again one of the intimate vocal note moments that I wanted to capture and put in the album. My friend had just moved to Vietnam, so I was sure they had something to vent about. I was so bored with electronic music, and with this album I wanted to put feeling, soul, and real life back into the music. TONE laid down some guitar that I arranged, giving a bed to the testimony. I remember An artist saying all of our ideas deserve respect and attention, so I thought I would give respect and space to fleeting feelings and thoughts as well.
“NEW DAYS”, :3LON
:3LON: A song written from a place of admiration and longing. Knowing you’ve reached the bitter end but still holding space in your heart for someone. Is time an illusion or a dividing force?
Rabit: I have a lot of respect and admiration for the way Embaci handles her craft. I’m so glad we were able to work together on the album. Back in 2016 while on tour with Elysia Crampton, she said I should make music with Embaci, and look, it only took seven years to make it happen.
“REPRISE”, JOHN BELTRAN, JG THIRLWELL
Rabit: The lyrics written by JG Thirlwell are actually quite heavy compared to the weightless feeling of the track. I created a three-part song that provides a lift off to the end of the album. Whatever feelings the album sparks for the listener, this is the moment to mull it over, you can keep the moments with you, you can throw the feelings out into the ethers and let them go, it’s all up to you. The album is a human story.
What Dreams May Come is out now