No Bad Vibes

No Bad Vibes

L.A.X’s career has always been super-charged. From being introduced to mainstream audiences with a lively Wizkid collab to receiving public acceptance for his Fuji-inflected sound, the singer born Damilola Afolabi has always found ways to interpret the heart of Afropop for aural bangers that live long in collective memory. 2018’s Rasaking was a sprawling ode to being young, finding love, and attempting to live vicariously in the public’s eye. On its 2020 follow-up, ZaZa Vibes, the singer displayed a heightened mastery of his emotions, delivering buttery mid-tempos in service of romantic bliss and general satisfaction with life. More importantly, ZaZa Vibes helped confirm L.A.X’s status as one of the most cogent afropop acts, and that knowledge, as well as a new-found self-assurance in his skills, helps bring forth his 2023 album, No Bad Vibes. Originally made concurrently with ZaZa Vibes, this album follows its predecessor's sonic template but stands apart for its radical commitment to joy, eschewing songs about romantic trauma or life’s problems for a downright thesis on happiness. “It's just an album that will keep you going,” L.A.X tells Apple Music. “From track one to the last song, it’s about being joyful. This album is supposed to change your mood if you are sad and if you're happy, it's supposed to make you happier. I just want the project to touch lives and I just want to put out music that I love—and that I'm a fan of.” It’s clear to see why he’d be a fan of this set of songs: “Easy On Me” is a pithy plea for romantic bliss while the Konshens-featuring “Change Your Life” is an airy blend of afropop and dancehall. Read on as L.A.X runs us through No Bad Vibes, track-by-track. “Easy On Me” “Easy On Me” is track one on the album but that's actually the last song I recorded. I was looking for a perfect intro for the album. When I went to Amsterdam, I had a writing camp; we had producers, artists and everybody there. There was a producer there named Shyne; he played me the beat and I did my first verse, but I wanted a female touch to it. There was a crazy writer that was in the studio with me and she did a little hook for me and the song just stayed with me. Throughout that day, from morning to night, I played the song and it sounded soothing to my mind. It just sounded like a song to listen to if you want to calm down.” “Change Your Life” (feat. Konshens) “I recorded ‘Change Your Life’ in San Francisco. This album is actually crazy because I recorded it across the world. When I was in Amsterdam, someone hit me up and told mehow Konshens is a big fan of Afrobeats and how he likes my music. I DM-ed Konshens and I'm like, ‘Bro, I have this great song and I think you'd sound good on it.’ This happened while I was on the flight from Lagos to Amsterdam. By the time I landed, Konshens has sent me his verse. ‘Change Your Life’ just explains how I have so much money and I want to change my girlfriend’s life. It’s one of my favourites.” “Energy” (feat. DJ Obi) [L.A.X & Clemzy] “‘Energy’ is a party starter. Once it's 2:30 or 3 am in the club, this is what everybody wants to listen to. I remember recording the song after performing at a show in Lagos; the show was crazy and we were pumped up. I took the energy I had off the show and brought it into the studio. We recorded and the chorus came in two minutes. The whole song was done in 40 minutes; it was just vibes.” “Options” (feat. Ayra Starr) “I was in London when I created ‘Options.’ I was in the studio with a producer called ATG. This is the first song that I will say I recorded three verses for and didn't have a chorus. I was trying to get a chorus, but it didn't come. ATG looked at me and was like, ‘Bro, I can hear a female on this song. I can hear Ayra.’ I messaged Ayra and sent her the song and she sent it back to me in about three days. We just knew that we had one.” “Zaza” “‘Zaza’ is one of the songs I actually recorded while making ZaZa Vibes. It was also when I started recording this album. The creation is similar to ‘Energy’ because I went for a show as well. It was really great and I came back to the studio with Clemzy. We made the song and it was one of the easiest songs I’ve ever made.” “Balance” [L.A.X & Ronnie Flex] “I had a show in Amsterdam and met a producer backstage who introduced me to Ronnie Flex. My album was already ready when I recorded this song, but I just wanted this collaboration because Amsterdam is one of my biggest markets. I respect the fact that people there that mess with my music. This is a very important collaboration for me.” “Waist Drop” “It was just a vibe in the studio—everybody was excited. The vibe is amapiano with Afro influences, so it was a good session. The song was produced by Clemzy.” “Joani” [L.A.X & Loui] “This one is a very, very crazy song. Loui came to my studio from Tanzania andt here was just a great synergy. I don't even like people doing my [choruses], but I had to let him because Loui's voice is amazing. This is definitely one of my favourites on the album.” “Bounce” [L.A.X & Black Sherif] “I've had ‘Bounce’ for a while. I even had the song a year before Black Sherif worked on it. I had recorded it and tried to put three to four artists on it and they didn't just get where I was coming from. It was different with Black Sherif—immediately he came on, it was crazy. It’s one for the books.” “Para” “The day I was recording ‘Para’, I was actually in a very frustrated mood. I went to the studio, I got the beats from Smiths, an amazing producer. Making this song was also very fast.” “Rora” “I was in the studio in Amsterdam as well. I did a song with Shyne; we just clicked and have this synergy. I got beat for “Rora” in Amsterdam and started the song in Amsterdam, but I didn't finish it there. I brought it back to Lagos and finished it here. When I was done with the song, I sent it back to him. Everybody was going mad and they loved it.” “Sweetest Tune” “‘Sweetest Tune’ is like the old L.A.X. I wanted people that have loved my music from time to still not feel like I left them and I've started this new sound. This is the old L.A.X from ‘Run Away’ to even back to when I featured Olamide [on the 2015 single, ‘Fine Boy’]. This is a song that the grassroots, middle class, and everybody's going to mess with.”

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