Oliver Malcolm Is Water in a Desert on 'Bloodline'

Oliver Malcolm Is Water in a Desert on 'Bloodline'

by Kenna McCafferty

As if seeing our world in a grain of sand, Oliver Malcolm finds the universe in everything on "Bloodline."

The single, released everywhere today, is shared alongside his latest four-song project, Act Two, exploring iterations of Malcolm’s unique sound and self. With charismatic lyrics and singular instrumentation, Act Two nestles into a sweet spot between soul-pop and surf-rock, all supported by his background in hip-hop production.

"I believe that Act Two represents the next step in the evolution of my sound in the evolution of me finding my voice," Malcolm says. "I don't think it's ever like, 'Oh- found it there! Now I found it and now that's it.' You forever get closer to it, but it's something that never really is reached. But I do believe Act Two is just the next step in my sonic evolution, if you will."

Through this process, Malcolm invites listeners to see themselves in him and in everything. The second single off Act Two and a follow-up to "Martian Man," "Bloodline" connects Malcolm and his audience by both blood and water, cheekily asking which is thicker and whether it matters at all.

In the desert music video, premiering here on PAPER, Malcolm is a flash flood. The visual opens in a bare room filled with sand, and, upon uttering the first line of the song, "Bloodline tatted on my soul," Malcolm transports to a vast desolate landscape, as if through the power of music.

"When I was writing the song, I was just picturing a desert and the sand," Malcolm says. "And around that time I had been thinking about how sand is just really, really finite broken-down pieces of rock, isn't it? They're just really finite, broken- down pieces of something bigger that once was. So I feel like that is ultimately the meaning of 'Bloodline:' diving deeper into what we were before and where we come from, like our bloodline."

Before Act Two, Malcolm was many things. A natural musician, Malcolm taught himself to make beats at age 13. Born in Sweden and raised in London, he eventually moved to Los Angeles at 16, and quickly became the prodigy producer behind the likes of CeeLo Green, Tinashe, MF Doom and Joey Bada$$. His debut release, Act One, turned heads for its free-spirited, genre-bending sound with words reminiscent of Bob Dylan and a spirit as free as MGMT.

"There were artists before me that always pushed the envelope," Malcolm says. "That blew my mind, and inspired me to want to listen to them and enjoy it and make my own music. So I feel like I'm now doing that for the next generation or what the kids in the future will be inspired by. And it's almost like you're just carrying the torch, you know? I'm just carrying the torch on to the next generation."

With upcoming shows at Bardot’s School Night in Los Angeles on September 19 and his Winston House release party on September 22, Malcolm encourages fans to share in the experience of others. In the blistering drought wrought by pandemic, political division and rapidly advancing technology, Malcolm is much needed rain, and on "Bloodline" he washes away ego and insecurity to remind us we’re no more than grains of sand, and that’s more than enough.

Stream Act Two by Oliver Malcolm, below.

Photography: Amelie Ripley


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