frank ocean has hours and hours of unreleased music
'We had like 14-hour, 15-, 16-hour sessions,' Ocean's equally elusive guitarist Billy 'Spaceman' Patterson has just revealed.
During the four years that passed between the release of Channel Orange and Blond, Frank Ocean found time to go to fashion week, drop some Snapchat filters, learn to build a staircase, race cars with Tyler, the Creator, sort-of pretend to be a doctor, guest star on a Beyoncé song, and blog about important social issues on Tumblr. But according to Ocean's equally mysterious guitarist Billy "Spaceman" Patterson, he wasn't cutting back on his studio hours. In fact the two recorded so prolifically since they began working on what ended up as two separate releases — Blond and the 45-minute visual album Endless — that the vast majority of the music never made it to Ocean's website nor to Apple Music.
"There's a lot of stuff that we recorded that I still haven't heard yet," the veteran guitarist, who has previously worked with everyone from Aaliyah to Miles Davis, has revealed to Pitchfork in a new interview. "So the whole thing was, 'What's going to show up on the record?' I was talking to Om'Mas and I was saying, 'Do we know?' And he said, 'We'll know when it comes out.' And when he dropped Endless, I thought that was it. And then, boom, a couple of days later, Blond. 'Oh, those songs! I remember them.' We recorded a lot of music."
Spaceman says that Frank frequently spent up to 16 hours a day in the studio. "We're creating continually. So something may happen, and [Frank might] say, 'Oh, that's nice, let's try this here.' So it winds up becoming a thing, and then I wind up doing a lot of different kind of textures," he said, adding that no on was aware which album any given piece of music was intended for. "I call it just one giant, long record."
It's not known whether Ocean plans to release any of the material still sitting in his vault. According to the London Evening Standard, Zane Lowe recently jumped on a plane to Tokyo to conduct a tell-all interview with Ocean in the Japanese capital, so maybe we'll find out when that finally airs.
Text Hannah Ongley
Photography Todd Cole
Photography assistance Alex Aristei
[i-D, The Royalty Issue, No. 318, Spring 12]