In preparation for a momentous return, after being on hiatus for nearly seven years, Pharrell recently sat down with The Guardian to reveal the inspiration behind the new project, as well as how the alternative rap-rock band ended up reuniting.
Titled No_One Ever Really Dies, the album serves as a re-introduction of sorts to the Virginia trio with the atlas of the project being focused on the current political and racial climate in America, as is the case with one of the album’s stand-out tracks, “Don’t Don’t Do It,” which was inspired by the 2016 shooting of Keith Scott in North Carolina.
“This was something I saw on the news. We have that crazy, crazy man [running the country] but also they have police that shoot unarmed black people the whole time. It rains and they shoot black people,” Pharrell said. “I hid the story in something that’s so jubilant because that way you won’t miss the message.”
Elsewhere in the interview, Pharrell reveals that the group’s previous effort, Nothing, proved to be their most challenging body of work. “That’s when we started losing ourselves. The label wanted uptempo records and we acquiesced,” Pharrell said. “I was super-depressed. It was a tough f**king time…but I feel like we’re in the middle of the sun right now.”
As the interview then shifts to the 44-year-old discussing his take on feminism and womankind, Pharrell comes to terms with his catalog of songs, which have been deemed in recent times as being both sexist and problematic. “People might say: ‘Oh what about this song?’ Yep, you’re right. I recognize now. I get it,” he says candidly. “It was fun to me at the time, but the earth changes and the rules change. We have to remember that. Context is important.”
Catch the full interview in its entirety here.