TAPE 2/FOMALHAUT

BERWYN

TAPE 2/FOMALHAUT

“Everything on this mixtape is weighty, and that’s intentional,” BERWYN tells Apple Music. “I want you to feel weighed down to the chair. You can still relax at some points—it’s not big in-your-face drama, but every single song, in some aspect, has to do with isolation.” From this state, despite the success of debut mixtape DEMOTAPE/VEGA in 2020, the Trinidad-born, London-based rapper, songwriter and producer remained tied to his surroundings—ruminating on the past and star-gazing on the future. “I did the same thing again,” he says. “In two weeks I made a 14-track album called ‘Orion.’ But then things happened, opportunities came up, a lot of artists started asking me for music. And then lockdown hit, and the title became ‘FOMALHAUT’—the lonely star.” TAPE 2/FOMALHAUT presents a collection of hazy memories—from loneliness (“RUBBER BANDS” to heartbreak (“TO BE LOVED”) and betrayal (“WRONG ONES”). Moments of expression flicker within the details, like celestial objects in a vast night’s sky. Where a lifetime of pain-soaked endeavour is explored in searching piano ballads and gorgeous R’n’B and soul, but flecked with braggadocio. A subtle kiss of the teeth shuffles a rapped verse into sung hook, all with ease. “All I’m ever doing on this mixtape is saying: ‘Run the beat’, or I’m making a beat, and then I’m telling the truthful story,” he says. “What else was there to do?” Read on for BERWYN’s thoughts behind each track.
WRONG ONES “This is a response to betrayal, in isolation. And I show how this event has affected me, and crafted my way of thinking. It’s that, ‘Leave me alone and give me my space.’ I’m just storytelling, to highlight the event that kicked this all off: when my best boy tried to sleep with my girl.”
I’D RATHER DIE THAN DEPORTED “This is a bit further back in the timeline still, in the present day, I’m the only person around with this story—and these scars. I say, ‘You don’t wanna give someone a tool/ That they can use when they want you gone,’ which describes isolation, but with your communication. I’m speaking for a group of people that haven’t yet been spoken for.”
RUBBER BANDS “Another lonely room story, literally, I was living alone in my flat after I split up with my missus. The line, ‘I spoke to the walls, heard their side of the story’ is all about that time, and the stimulus you get living in that s**t situation. When you talk about heartbreak, it’s the separation of two parts.”
100,000,000 “I’ve always been homesick, I’ve been homesick for the longest. When I wrote this, the word ‘pandemic’ was only for video games, and a ‘lockdown’ was when your partner wouldn’t let you out of the house. This actually comes from before—a time of me sleeping in my whip, but even then I knew it was only a means to an end. I maintained an optimistic view.”
SNAKES ON MY NOKIA “I’m a fan of physics. So I include concepts—like chaos and entropy—into my music. Chaos is a useful mechanism when it comes to music making, especially when it’s your day job. I felt inspired randomly, so I opened my laptop, went on [online sample library] Splice, and clicked on a random BPM that I felt like writing to. The first thing that came up was this [opening] sample: ‘You’re my peace in the midst of the storm.’ From there, I knew what I was writing about—and I knew how I wanted it to drop: with colourful, dirty guitars, just sizzling with distortion and sounding futuristic.”
TO BE LOVED “Another corner of loneliness is craving partnership, and I wanted to try and innovate that with this ballad. We ended up with a few versions of this one, just because it’s such a delicate piece. I wrote it a long time ago, and the initial plan was for it to feature Jorja Smith, but we never got round to it in the end. I can’t remember why.”
FULL MOON FREESTYLE “A lot of the people I shout out on this track are the same ones I mentioned on [2020 single] ‘017 FREESTYLE’—my close friends. I was just feeling rowdy one night, so I lit up a zoobie and started to write. And while I was writing, I looked up and saw it there: a full moon.”
MONEY COMES AND MONEY GOES “I came from nothing, nothing at all; to a little bit, pretty drastic and quick. It’s difficult to manage, but I have to for the people around me. Because it doesn’t just change you, it changes your surroundings, too. This track is my perspective on all of that. And because I’m now the only one around in this position, it’s another aspect of isolation naturally manifesting.”
TEDDY’S JOINT (CHORDS TO MAKE YOU CRY) “Apparently I was arrogant enough to try and write a song for Ed Sheeran! But I came from living in my car, saying, ‘I’m going to take over the world with this f**king s**tty classical guitar!,’ so yeah, I’m an overachiever—in my eyes. I’m on three-pointers, no lay-ups. That’s how I’m trying to play the game, which is stupid because I could end up with no scores the board, but we’ll see. Teddy has actually reached out to me a couple of times to say he loves the music, which is really sweet. And that’s inspired me, because between him and Drake—any of my mandem, and my family, know—they’re my highest degree of influence in the world.”
VINYL “With this track I was making my own song for radio. And I did, well, I made it onto the playlist. It’s a story of the time I texted my ex while I was still with my girlfriend, who isn’t my girlfriend anymore. Because…you do that sometimes. You miss people. And it wasn’t on any kind of slime s**t, just to say, ‘What’s up?’. I didn’t say, ‘Oh, I love you. Blah, blah, blah.’ So I wrote a song about it. This is weird, man. My life is weird.”
ANSWERS “This track ties up the whole album—with themes from all of the songs rolled into it. It’s a summary, and finishes up the theme of isolation—having the time to get your thoughts together. It’s nice to know sometimes that you don’t have the answers. You don’t have to.”

1
2
3
4
5
6
7
8
9
10
11