Texas-born producer turned artist Fats'e is a new breed of musician whose music defies traditional classification. Any attempt to explain away his creativity inevitably results in ultra-hyphenated, super-niche genre descriptions that fall short of capturing the diversity present in his sound. Critics will say it's alternative or indie or maybe hyper-pop-punk for hip-hop fans who suffer from anxiety and never shy away from discussing their emotions. All three are right. All three are also wrong.
Staring At The Ceiling, Fats'e second full-length album, marks a change of pace for the ambitious music maker. The thirteen-track release envelops listeners in a lush soundscape combining digital production with punk aesthetics that create a dreamlike space for Fats'e to share his experience. It's an intimate yet sprawling offering that plays like a private conversation with a close friend backed by endlessly clever production, as though each note is written in perfect harmony with the emotions the lyrics convey.
"I spent more time on this release than anything else in my career," explains Fats'e. "My early work was thrown together in a lot of ways. But for this record, we wrote twenty-five or thirty tracks before cutting it down to the thirteen that you hear. I was pushing myself to make something more complete, which is why I spent nearly two years working on it."
Those two years in the studio were time well spent. Staring At The Ceiling takes the sound that fans have come to know and expands on it with more complex instrumentation, multiple guitars, and an infusion of punk aesthetics that help to emphasize the angst running throughout the album.
"The album was more difficult than I anticipated. A lot of my earlier music is simple. There is one guitar part or one drum sample, but these songs are more complex. I spent a lot more time building the songs out into bigger, more dynamic tracks. It was a challenging experience, but that's how you grow. For as much as it took out of me, it was all necessary. I needed to get this out, all this anger and sadness and darkness, to grow. I think that growth really comes through on the record."
Fats'e is not one to be complacent. Staring At The Ceiling may be complete, but the young entertainer has his sights sets on the future. He understands his platform and knows what he wants to do with it. For him, music is about something more meaningful than plaques and chart positions. Fats'e only cares about his fans.
"I hope that people can relate to this record. So many listeners have told me about their connection with my work, and I really want to continue developing those relationships through my music. I think that's important. Music has done so much for me, delivering many cathartic moments, and I want to create those for other people. That's my happy place.”