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Interview: Troye Sivan on his 'In A Dream' EP.

Interview: Troye Sivan on his 'In A Dream' EP.

"It’s all just feeling real now, so far away but I still feel you everywhere," Troye Sivan sings on his new EP's title track, a sonically euphoric yet heartbreaking song where he reflects on the reappearance of someone in his dreams.

The six-track EP (with a seventh song '10/10' only available on the vinyl edition, which Sivan describes as "a bit of a rough one, but it's really, really sweet") sees him exploring everything from a relatable ode to youth ("I just wanna lose myself in a crowd," he sings on 'Rager teenager!'), to an acknowledgement of a metaphorical house on fire in 'Easy'.

And having self-directed music videos for both aforementioned songs, Sivan has been flexing his creative muscles with this new project more than ever before. Having had to leave filming in Atlanta as the lead in upcoming coming-of-age film 'Three Months' (directed by Jared Frieder), Sivan's focus has pivoted to this new project, which he introduces as, “A story that’s still unfolding, this small collection of songs explores an emotional rollercoaster period in my life when the feelings and thoughts were most shockingly fresh.”

We caught up with Troye ahead of the EP's release, to discuss the meaning of dreams, taking time off social media, easter eggs in his music videos, and more...

You dream something, and maybe it can change the way, or make you realise the way, that you feel about a situation... or things that you didn't know about yourself, or things you didn't know about how you feel about things.

COUP DE MAIN: I wasn't sure whether I should address you as Troye, or by your new name of Tray Servin... i.e. your great new merch offering.
TROYE SIVAN: I'm so disappointed we didn't figure that out before we put it out - I guess we could change the name on the webstore. I prefer Tray today, if that's okay by you.

CDM: 'In A Dream' is such a bop! What was it about that song that made you want to name the entire EP after it?
TROYE: I think it might be my favourite song on the whole thing, and my favourite song that I've done in a really, really long time. So thank you so much. I think that song came about in such a weird way, it sounds gnarly depressing because it kind of is, but I woke up crying for the first time in my entire life which was... a fun experience. Then I went into the studio that day, and I was just talking about it. I was like, 'That was the weirdest; I just had the weirdest start to my day ever,' and I was just super in my feelings and we started writing. It was this super slow ballad-y, really dreamy thing, and I kept singing about how the only time I get to see this person any more is when I'm asleep and how terrible that is. But also, I was kind of poking fun and being like, 'All right, can you not haunt me in my dreams? Because that's kind of making this entire situation way worse.' So I was having fun with it, but it was just this dreamy, ballad-y thing. And then Oscar [Görres] the producer that I worked with started these insane 80s drums that I just was so taken aback by and so shocked by, but then he added this acoustic guitar and I was like, 'Oh my god, this feels really magical. It makes me want to dance and cry and it feels really weird and trippy and dreamy and everything I could have ever wanted.' Then just in general, the last nine months of our lives, however long it's been, have felt so surreal and so strange. Everyone keeps saying, 'I feel like I'm in a movie or like I'm in a dream or a nightmare.' And so it just kind of felt like it really summed up this part of my life. It's been a crazy year.

CDM: Are dreams our mind's way of trying to make sense of things that are hard to consciously think about?
TROYE: Completely. And I also think that they're really telling, you know what I mean? You think that you're over a situation, or you think that you have moved on, or that you're fine, or that you're whatever... and then, your brain at night when it can just run free, is like, 'Actually, nope, you're still sad.' So it was just super interesting. My relationship with sleep has just changed a lot over the last year.

CDM: Do you think dreams have any kind of prophetic power?
TROYE: I don't think they have prophetic power, but I do think that they can be sort of self-fulfilling prophecies. You dream something, and maybe it can change the way, or make you realise the way, that you feel about a situation. Or things that you didn't know about yourself, or things you didn't know about how you feel about things.

CDM: When you sing, "Took a hammer to my phone," it feels like a very relatable sentiment during these current times. I know you currently aren't really on Twitter, how have you found that? Do you feel more present in the real world?
TROYE: Definitely, yeah. I mean, I grew up on the internet and I feel like I am the person that I am because of the internet. I have my job because of the internet. I've met so many of my friends through the internet, and still, I have this kind of funny relationship with it, where I do need to put in those kinds of barriers, otherwise it can be an intense place. I think the main thing is that with everything that's going on in the world right now, there is so much that needs attention. I started to feel like the issues at hand that really need our attention and need our support and our voices were being raved about with the same kind of intensity as other stuff that really doesn't matter. The example I always use, because it was kind of the final straw, was TikTok cheating scandals. Those will be tweeted about with the same sort of ferocity and intensity as something that I think is actually really important, like world issues. So, I just think sometimes it's important to try and take a step back and really analyse the things that are affecting the web and the things that are feeding your brain and the resources that you are educating yourself with. I think it's good to diversify and take breaks. I heard about this thing the other day that I thought was super interesting about rejigging your algorithm on purpose. So going onto YouTube and typing in something that you don't see a lot of, but something that you're interested in - something that you feel is going to help your life or whatever. So for example, I've become super interested in architecture, so I will purposely watch a couple of architecture videos every few days. And now suddenly, my YouTube has completely changed and you don't get caught in those same echo chambers anymore. I think it's really important to do that kind of thing because I do think that it's having probably a greater effect on us than any of us could ever imagine.

CDM: Is there a particular significance to the white rabbit in the 'Easy' music video?
TROYE: Yeah... it's kind of sad. He sort of represents my dog in LA, because I had this weird thing where I was going through it, and feeling all over the place. When you've got these sweet animals that are kind of omnipresent and always there, they don't really understand what's going on but their presence is really kind of stoic, and when you're going through it and you've got either another person or an animal around, it kind of holds a mirror to yourself and you see yourself from another's eyes. So I just wanted to explore that. The 'Easy' video is sort of all about descent into-- I don't want to say mania or anything like that, because it's not that, but it definitely is this descent into a dreamlike or nightmarish or super surreal world and situation and set of circumstances, and to have this thing around that is watching that happen, I think it kind of gives you some perspective on yourself and where you're at.

CDM: Why did you choose to incorporate the origami cranes into the 'Rager teenager!' music video?
TROYE: Two reasons. The first is that there's something about bathing in general, I really love bathing and I always feel like a kid when I'm in the bath. There's something really juvenile about the idea of sitting in the bath, playing with a rubber duck, or in this case making some origami cranes. It felt really youthful and reminiscent and that's what the song is about, and I wanted to find a way to explore that in the visuals. The other thing is that it is sort of a little easter egg for the movie I'm doing. I was filming it before Covid, and we had to stop production because of everything. But in the film, my character makes origami cranes, and so I learnt the skill to make them for the movie. I filmed that ['Rager teenager!' music video] really early when I got back to Australia and I was so devastated to be leaving this movie and to be leaving this character and that whole team of people and that whole sort of world behind for an undetermined amount of time. So it felt like a little wink to the character, to the team, and the whole project. I'm excited to get back and finish the film.

CDM: I read a little bit about that film 'Three Months' online. Was it nice to be doing another movie and having another project to work on?
TROYE: Yeah. I really love working on movies because it's kind of like you completely disappear into that world for a little bit. It's kind of like when you're on a tour where nothing else really exists, except for the band and the crew, and that's your world for sometimes months at a time. You don't really have time to do anything else and you don't have friends in every city, so you just exist in that little bubble. Doing a movie is pretty much the same thing where you kind of just fully immerse yourself into this intense separate world, and because I was in Atlanta in a new city with new people, and you're together fourteen hours a day / five days a week. And then on the weekends, you hang out because you don't really have anything else to do. All you're doing is thinking about the character and thinking about the movie. It's really nice, as someone who spends a lot of time thinking about myself - not in a vain way, but it's my job and I'm kind of my own product. It's nice to step out of that and be a part of something bigger than just me.

CDM: 'Rager teenager!' is the perfect ode to how every feeling is so heightened and intense when you're a teenager, but feels like a distant memory as you get older and become an adult. What's the most vivid memory you can recall from being a teenager?  
TROYE: So many. I don't know why this just popped into my head, but when I got my nose pierced, I went out to a club that night, and then I started drinking and I felt this wetness on my face when I was in the club. My nose started pouring with blood because I guess alcohol thins your blood or whatever. It started pouring out of my nose, so I was bloody dancing in the club and had absolutely no idea for a while. I was drunk, so I was also really confused, and it was crazy. I don't know why that popped into my head but it did.

CDM: And what can you tell me about the song '10/10' which is only on the vinyl version of the EP, so we haven't heard it yet sadly.
TROYE: Oh yeah. I think it's really beautiful, if I can say that. I really love it. It was the first song that I wrote from the entire project and it was actually written a long time ago, and there's a lot of hope in it. And I think that it's kind of beautiful to listen to, but in context, also kind of sad because basically '10/10' sets you up for the beginning of the story, and the rest of the EP kind of tells you how it all ends. And so, it's a bit of a rough one, but it's really, really sweet, and I love it so much.

Troye Sivan's 'In A Dream' EP is out now - listen to it below:

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