London-based pop artist, PUZZLE, recently released his new EP, Babylon – a voyage into modern-day relationships in the digital era tinged with dark, electro-pop vibes and lyrical genius. There’s no denying the impact – whether positive or negative – technology has played over the past decade but as the way we deal with relationships and communicating with others evolves, there’s always going to be a downside. We asked PUZZLE to share his thoughts on how relationships are faltering in the digital age in this exclusive guest blog! Enjoy and take Babylon for a spin below!
I am a child of globalization and I’m proud of it. The advances in technology and connectivity during the 90’s helped shape me as a person mainly through all the things I was exposed to on the internet. At the click of a mouse I could suddenly experience and interact with different cultures, research things I was interested in, make friends that – like myself – were curious about the rest of the world and discover unexpected kinships: we weren’t that different after all, just young people with dreams and hunger for knowledge.
Fast forward to the twenty-tens and connectivity now permeates almost every aspect of our daily lives mainly in the friendly portable form of our smart phones which seem to be surgically attached to each and every one of us.
As a musician, I wanted to express my ever-growing discomfort with modern society’s obsession with social media and how that obsession is having a profound impact on the quality of our relationships. But I didn’t want to sound like a political bore so I wrapped it up in a simple hook-up gone wrong story – that’s the origin of Babylon.
Although conceptually, it may sound simple articulating the intricate turmoil of emotions in the songs turned out to be anything but. The songs had to fit the overall EP theme of Babylon and relate to each other. Sonically I wanted to work in dark industrial 80’s synthesizers/90’s “Ray of Light” inspired grooves plus use R&B vocal nudges.
I knew in a linear form what the songs represented – “Kamikaze” was the first meeting, the automatic attraction/love at first sight type of scenario; “Eyes Wide Shut” allured to the physical surrender that follows being in love and open; we then get to “Little Black Book” which is the personification of the throwaway nature of the digital age we live in where people use each other for instant gratification but are not necessarily interested in anything deeper or meaningful. We end the story with “Realign” with the difficult but powerful message that sometimes you need to let go and restart things again, fresh with a new perspective.
Now, you may ask “what the hell has Babylon got to do with it all?” Well, in my mind it encapsulates the overarching theme because Babylon in the biblical context represents enslavement (amongst other things) and I think that is exactly what connectivity has done to us.
Connectivity offers all the possibilities and wonders I so appreciated as a youngster but it is also dulling our sensibility towards one another and making our perception of ourselves somehow distorted. Everything is now throwaway and attention spans are short. We keep our minds busy with distractions but do we actually think about anything anymore?
Of course I’m taking no moral high ground, I’m part of the problem too (you’ll find PUZZLE on social media!) but I like to hope I could be a tiny part of the solution, improving awareness through my music and storytelling and maybe making people think for a minute or two.