On his recent single, "With You," Miami-based songwriter and producer Firstworld (AKA Kris Alvarez) eschews his melancholic songwriting themes in favor of the yearning to party and be near people again. The track is the first single off an album that will be released sometime next year.
Usually inspired by darker and often morose subject matter, for his latest release, Firstworld summoned his love for artists like Daft Punk to create a genuinely infectious dance record. "With You" oozes nostalgia — not the first mood that comes to mind when one thinks of Firstworld's music.
But you can't blame a guy for wanting to gather with his friends again. While making "With You," he did the next-best thing: He reached out to some of his friends in the Miami music scene to provide "gang vocals" on the single. He had them record themselves in their homes, clinking glasses and laughing to imbue the track with the feel of a house party.
"With You" was released on the French-Japanese record label Kitsuné Musique, whose House Kitsuné America compilation earlier this year included Firstworld's cover of Deee-Lite's "Groove Is in the Heart," featuring Delia Dane.
As if pairing with a storied electronic label weren't enough, Firstworld's reach received a recent boost when EDM powerhouse Martin Garrix featured "With You" on his Spotify playlist.
"It's just insane. Martin Garrix liking Firstworld was not a sentence I saw coming out of my mouth in 2020," Firstworld says.
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Firstworld tells New Times that "With You" is the first in a series of tracks that he'll be releasing every four to six weeks. In a strategy that's new for him, he plans to release every song on the forthcoming album individually.
By releasing each track separately, he hopes to give listeners enough breathing room to sit with the records and digest the nuances of each song.
He says he doesn't approach his music with the aim of putting across a message — it's about invoking a feeling. He believes when an artist releases a work into the world, it no longer belongs to them. His sentiment isn't what's important; it's how the listener internalizes it.
The three singles from his 2018 EP, I'm Right Here, seemed to get all the attention, he explains, while the nonsingle cuts languished by comparison.
"Nobody heard them," he says. "So you know, I thought to myself, I worked really hard on this new project, and I don't want that happening again, especially with it being a full-blown album."