Aaron Frazer

Into The Blue (Dead Oceans)

Contact Sam McAllister about Aaron Frazer

Aaron Frazer — the Los Angeles-based singer, songwriter, multi-instrumentalist and member of the acclaimed group Durand Jones & the Indications — announces his sophomore solo album, Into the Blue, out June 28th via Dead Oceans, and shares visuals for two lead singles: “Payback,” with its accompanying video directed by Eliot Lee, and the album’s title track, “Into The Blue,” it’s video directed by Marielle Co.


Following Frazer’s lauded 2021 debut, Into the Blue is expansive—a daring blend of soul, psychedelia, spaghetti western, disco, gospel and hip-hop, representing the impressive range of Frazer’s sonic talents. “It’s the clearest portrait of who I am as an artist,” Frazer says of the album, which sees him maintaining the unmistakable falsetto and classic songwriting he’s known for but with a hip-hop mentality at its core, weaving together genres and production techniques to plant Into The Blue firmly in the now.


Into The Blue was conceived out of heartbreak. Following the end of a long relationship, Frazer moved cross-country from Brooklyn to Los Angeles and embarked on a journey that’s reflected in the album’s themes of grief, loneliness, and searching for healing. Featuring moments of towering arrangements, recalling David Axelrod and Ennio Merricone, Into The Blue is balanced by rawness, incorporating iPhone recordings and one-take vocals. Frazer enlisted Grammy-winner Alex Goose as co-producer for the album, known for his crate-digging samples and collaborations with hip-hop artists like Freddie Gibbs, Madlib and Brockhampton. Frazer also experimented with samples for the first time on a record, drawing from unexpected sources like 90s R&B group Hi-Five.


Into The Blue’s lead single, “Payback,” is an explosive dance floor heater featuring Northern soul drums, fuzz guitar, shimmering tambourines, and a driving bass line hurtling towards its epic conclusion. “‘Payback’ is about karma,” states Frazer. “When you wrong someone, in love or in life, it has a funny way of coming back to bite you, no matter how much you try to run from it. The music feels like a chase scene, and lyrically that brought me to the idea that payback is on its way, like I’m being chased by my own comeuppance.”


“Into The Blue”, conversely, is a haunting, resolute anthem, combining cinematic strings and tough-as-nails breakbeats as Frazer heads west. “Here I go, to a place where the broken heart knows,” he sings. “‘Into The Blue’ is what I’ve been calling the unknown, when you’re no longer tied to your dock of stability,” Frazer explains. “I wanted to capture the feeling of loneliness and isolation on this song, and the vastness of the desert and driving west. Emotionally, this song feels like where I’ve been at this year, after my relationship came to an end. There is an isolation and a sadness, but also a feeling of resoluteness and bravery. I think you have to be brave to navigate those moments of brutal, chaotic transition.”


Born in 1991 in Baltimore, Frazer started playing drums at the age of nine and remembers listening to Will Smith’s Big Willie Style in 1997 and Jay-Z’s “Hard Knock Life” in 1998. “That blew my mind,” Frazer says of the latter. “I learned to play the drums studying a lot of classic rock, but my pocket developed the way it did because of rap- drumming along to Jay-Z’s ‘Reasonable Doubt’ and Nas’ ‘Illmatic’ until I knew every break on that record.” Additionally, The Roots’ ‘Tipping Point’ was particularly significant to Frazer with its electrifying live instrumentation.


In 2021, Frazer released Introducing…, his debut solo album with Black Keys guitarist Dan Auerbach. Now, says Frazer, “I’m excited to keep breaking some of the expectations around what exactly I’m supposed to be, artistically and musically.” Into The Blue is a continuation of that spirit of fearless, fun experimentation.


Though Into the Blue is born out of heartbreak, Frazer hopes it leaves listeners with a sense of optimism. “You know, you can still laugh on a day when you’re grieving,” he says, “there’s no peaks without valleys,” but Into The Blue sees Aaron Frazer at new heights.