By Nicholas Jason Lopez
On a quest to redefine pop music as an independent singer/producer under the name 2LATE, Northeastern University student Aidan Fox, 20, will unveil a five-song project ‘LOST SUMMER’ on Oct. 30, 2020.
Composed of various styles, along with photo/video content that revolve around documentary-esque journal entries for each track, the project sets out to capture what was the Summer of 2020, one unlike any other before.
In the meantime, before ‘LOST SUMMER’ drops, 2LATE was featured in the music video for his recent collaboration with Pick Patek called “Butterflies.”
The Music Bugle had the opportunity to talk with Fox about ‘LOST SUMMER’ and more.
Music Bugle – Do you feel your young age gives you any sort of advantage in your genre?
2LATE – I definitely have a huge advantage and window because of my age and the time period in music that I am entering right now. First of all, I’ve only been producing for three years and singing/songwriting for less than two years and am exponentially getting better at both. I have so much time to dedicate to this journey and a strong desire to push myself to reach my full potential — I’m literally just getting started. Second, I see a huge window in the music industry right now creatively. I grew up most inspired by acts like Drake, The Weeknd, PARTYNEXTDOOR, old Tory Lanez, all of whom have not been succeeded by any notable acts in R&B/hip-hop. I’m going to be this generation’s Drake, J. Cole or Kendrick Lamar. The type of genre-bending music that I’m making right now has no limits and I aim to fill the shoes of those greats that came before me like no one else can. The throne is literally for the taking. Lastly, I’m coming in at a time when major labels are getting more and more exposed as corrupt and unnecessary. I plan on doing this independently with my team or taking a deal that allows me to maintain ownership and power over everything I create.
Music Bugle – What is the biggest challenge in being an independent artist?
2LATE – My biggest challenge is getting on people’s radar. I’m still very new and learning how to market myself, but there is a lot more I need to learn to be successful. People don’t want to actively support you until a bunch of other people already support you or you have a notable co-sign. I don’t have either right now, so I’m putting my head down and working until word starts to spread wider. Through consistency and resiliency, I know I can push through this come-up phase, but it will take dedication to marketing and all that revolves around the music itself to make it happen.
Music Bugle – What inspired your name, 2LATE?
2LATE – I originally created 2LATE around the idea of putting my own spin on the late night, moody and emotional R&B/hip-hop that I had always been infatuated with growing up. I chose the name 2LATE from a quick brainstorm after I made my first songs in 2019. I took inspiration from PARTYNEXTDOOR, as I wanted to create a concept name and I liked the aesthetic of all caps. Having a concept name removes my ego from the brand, making it revolve more around universal ideas and perspective rather than an individual subject. What this perspective is is a curiosity about the world around and within oneself — a quest for freedom and truth. 2 a.m. symbolizes introspective hours, a time when one can derive existentialist power and freedom granted by the vastness of the night sky. It’s 2 a.m. at all times, as I like to say.
Music Bugle – What was it like putting together your most recent project?
2LATE – Putting together ‘LOST SUMMER’ was fun and disillusioning. This project consists of a myriad of styles and energies that I experienced during this confusing summer. It opens with a hallucinogenic-induced experience and ends with an ode to stars, overall, painting a picture of longing and hope. I decided not to cater to social media by posting generic promos and begging for attention like I previously have been a culprit of, but rather, created an artistic package on my own accord that utilized audio, writing and photography with a scrapbook aesthetic to create what is essentially a time capsule of the ‘LOST SUMMER’ of 2020.
Music Bugle – Where do you go when you feel the need to escape?
2LATE – Vermont. It’s not somewhere I can go often, but I feel most free at an Airbnb in Vermont making music and exploring the outdoors. I grew up in Vermont and spent years carefree in the woods, so returning to that energy is important for me. Some of the journal entries and songs were influenced from a 10-day trip that I took with my team in June to get away from everything and create.
Music Bugle – How have you been affected by the COVID-19 pandemic?
2LATE – I find myself complaining at times and feeling stuck, but I really can’t complain. I’m privileged in a multitude of ways and am constantly reminding myself that. Career-wise, I was gaining traction with live shows, which came to an abrupt pause. I had just come off my first sold-out house show and I was going to headline a concert at House of Blues Boston from a contest I won with Quadio, a college streaming service, which was unfortunately canceled. Although, I’m grateful to be at home, safe and using my time to make beats, record demos and plan for my upcoming releases. Next year, I plan on throwing a lot of house shows and parties and making a name for myself in the Boston scene by demonstrating a lively physical presence.
Music Bugle – What has been your biggest struggle lately?
2LATE – My biggest struggle music-wise has been feeling a lack of recognition for the material I’ve been putting out. I’m still overlooked by many, but it only motivates me to keep working until it’s undeniable. It means I’m never satisfied. I’m already over this project and thinking about my debut album and my second album that is also in the works. I know that at some point, I will be able to celebrate releases and feel more consistent support, but for now, I’m putting my head down and working until those days come.
Music Bugle – What’s a quote that motivates you to keep doing what you do?
2LATE – “The individual has always had to struggle to keep from being overwhelmed by the tribe. If you try it, you will be lonely often and sometimes frightened, but no price is too high to pay for the privilege of owning yourself,” from Friedrich Nietzche. This quote is everything. I do feel lonely and alienated often, but I know this is a path that I have to take, regardless of if I want to. It’s not just about music, but also my philosophical path. I’m constantly seeking out more and trying to unpack this life because I have once before achieved a higher consciousness and since fumbled it. Once you start asking these questions and internalizing your insignificance, it cannot be undone.
Music Bugle – Away from music, what’s something that people might be surprised to know about you?
2LATE – For people that don’t know me, it may be surprising to know that I’m working toward a degree in Philosophy and Sociology from Northeastern University. Being at school is weird because it feels like a layover until I’m pursuing music full-time, but I decided there’s no reason to drop out because I have a scholarship and my tuition is paid for, which I’m massively grateful for. I’ve decided to take classes I’m interested in while I’m here and until I graduate, it is really borrowed time that I have to refine my craft and start making a name for myself.
Music Bugle – Who are you listening to right now, music-wise?
2LATE – Brent Faiyaz. I can’t stop. Everything about his music — the vocals, production, mixing — is so phenomenal that it actually frustrates me! Hearing his music and his vocal delivery humbles me and inspires me to improve myself, because him and his team set the bar so high. Also, the fact that he’s independent is majorly inspiring. Before we wrap up, I also want to shout out my whole team. Right now, it’s me, producer and artist WES., manager jRYAN, audio engineer Connor James and graphic designer Brendan Brady. We’re all growing together simultaneously. We make up FYWC Records, standing for “FUCK YOUR WHOLE CLIQUE.” The “clique” is any person or system that tries to taint your energy, spirit and dreams. The “clique” is also the corporate music industry that we are going to take by storm in the coming years. It’s 2LATE!