Ahead of his performance at our party with Purple Magazine to celebrate London Fashion Week tonight, Devonté Hynes (aka Blood Orange) spends five minutes with Kenzine! Born in Houston and raised in the UK, it is New York City that’s really roused the songwriter, producer and composer’s inspiration for the last five years. Working on songs for artists such as Florence and the Machine and The Chemical Brothers, Hynes often makes mixtapes in his Brooklyn apartment, listening to them whilst travelling around the city at nighttime.


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What is it about New York at night that you find so inspiring?
I'm a very nocturnal person and when I was writing the Coastal Grooves album, I was spending a lot of time running around at night, skating or riding my bike and going for long walks or frequenting tranny bars. I can write anywhere but this is the best city in the world.


Is there anything you would change about it?
New York has changed a lot since I have been here, but only in the way that every major Western city in the First World does. I don't complain about it like most people do. Shit happens and you just have to ride the shit waves, you know?

How different is it when you’re making music for yourself compared to making it for somebody else? You’re working with Solange Knowles right now.
It’s not different at all. When I write songs, I always want someone else to sing them so to me it's all the same. I'm not precious over the songs. If anything, me keeping them would hold them back.


Seeing as you are originally from the UK, what influences do you take from there?
I'm sure it has affected me, but I couldn't say how because all I’ve really known for the last five years is New York City.

How did music come into your life? I read somewhere that you began with playing the piano at age 7.
Well, my sister played piano and we were close and I always wanted to be around her, so I followed her to piano lessons. Then as I got older, I switched to cello, but the piano was how I got into playing music. Also at home, there would be a radio on in every room of the house and I’m sure that must have had some affect on me.


Do you need silence when working?
Oh no, I watch TV or movies when I write. There’s nothing that I really re-watch over and over, but I just put stuff on to watch while I work. The only time I do need silence is when I’m hungover!