Childish Gambino released his Awaken, My Love! album last week to much fanfare as his audience digested the funk-infused sounds. In his first interview since releasing the LP, the rapper/actor shares his appreciation for the praise, including that from Questlove who said he woke D’Angelo up at 4 a.m. to share his excitement at the music and thought it was a “sucker punch” that the younger MC switched up the genre so much.
“Whether I’m making a show or music, I’m just searching for moments,” Gambino says to Australia’s triple j radio. “Him being like it’s a sucker punch, I like sucker punches. I like things that you’re not expecting. You know, the feeling of expecting water and getting lemonade, kind of like your brain kinda flips. Even on some of the songs, we play with pitches and sounds that I think affect people in ways they don’t realize is happening until the fifth listen.”
Part of the allure of Awaken, My Love! is that it was premiered at Childish Gambino’s PHAROS Experience in Joshua Tree, California. The rapper is letting fans who weren’t able to attend the show get a glimpse of what went down via different outlets such as a “virtual reality vinyl.”
“It’s a vinyl that you play with virtual reality essentially,” he says. “We really got into when we did our PHAROS shows, being able to go somewhere and just plop down and play a live show that people can’t get anywhere. I think this is a way of doing that.”
Gambino goes on to explain the creative process for Awaken, My Love! with a live band and his friend, Ludwig Göransson. The Atlanta star says that part of the theme of the album is to indeed awaken love in the world, but it was also a personal journey for him.
“To be completely honest, it wasn’t a lot of fun, it was actually really hard,” he says of making the album. “I was going through a lot and I also think in America we’re going through a lot right now with everything that’s going on, so I was just trying to play what I felt, but I was doing it with friends, so at the end of the day, that’s what matters.”
Listen to Childish Gambino’s interview with triple J radio below.