Now that the bloggers have finally retired the term "post-dubstep," we can all agree that the only genre descriptor we'll need for Ikonika's new album is "we have waited three years for this and it's exactly what we wanted." Her single "Beach Mode (Keep It Simple)" was released last week; it features Canadian singer and producer Jessy Lanza, and comes with a dub version of the title track as well as a "percapella." Unfortunately you'll have to wait until July 29 for her sophomore album, Aerotropolis, but it's worth the wait. The album has the emotional depth—and the conceptual feel—of a really good movie soundtrack, reviving elements of '80s pop, vintage house and freestyle. The cinematic LP features collaborations with her Hum + Buzz label collaborator, Optimum, in addition to her joint effort with Hyperdub's newest signee Jessy Lanza.
I heard a story in every one of the songs, and when I asked her for insight she told me about video gaming habits, her strong conceptual approach to writing an album, and her favorite vintage dancefloor cuts.
THUMP: Where did the inspiraton for this album's sound come from?
Ikonika: The sounds from this album are inspired by postmodern cities from sci-fi films, early pop, television screens, computer screens, and hand-held screens, but mostly it’s inspired by flight.
I know that some of your songs are inspired by video games. Which games and which songs in particular?
My earlier stuff was very influenced by Sonic the Hedgehog and Streets of Rage. My album Contact, Love, Want, Have had a video games concept, where each song was supposed to be a level.
What video games are you playing now?
I’m a little late on Assassin's Creed but I just finished the second one. Every time I look at different pieces of architecture "IRL," I now constantly find myself looking for a vantage point. I’ve been playing Sims Freeplay for the iPad for over a year, and I always go back to Skate 3 for the PS3.
Assassin's Creed 2: highest view point in Venice!
What traits do you look for when choosing your video game characters?
I like to give them mad looks. Sims is great for that kind of stuff. It’s all about not having a style and mismatching everything.
What is your favorite song on the album?
It changes, but I love dropping "You Won’t Find It There." It certainly contains a lot of Ikonika traits and travels well.
While DJing, what other artists' sounds have been mixing well with your own songs?
Alex Deamonds, Girl UNIT, Helix, Zoltan, and Marriage Proposal.
What is your favorite freestyle song?
Xena - "On The Upside (Dub)"
And your favorite freestyle vocalist?
I liked Connie 'cuz you can tell she couldn’t really sing—it was more of a straight-to-the-point vibe with her.
If you could be inside a specific scene in any music video, new or old, what would it be?
Jordan Knight - "Give It To You." I wanna know if he was really hot dancing in that polo neck and leather jacket.