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It only takes a couple of minutes of conversation with Firstworld and Millionyoung to understand why the two musicians decided they wanted their first post-pandemic concert to be together. Speaking with New Times, they’re cracking themselves up, interrupting each other to interject with a joke — or three.

Firstworld (AKA Kris Alvarez) and Millionyoung (AKA Mike Diaz) met in 2015 when they performed in Fort Lauderdale as part of different projects. The two made such a strong connection that night that Alvarez eventually joined Diaz for a year, backing him up on guitar.

Years later, as Alvarez was working on his upcoming Firstworld album, Pop, which is set to drop on November 5, the first person he sent the unfinished songs to was Diaz.

“Mike gave me a good Pitchfork-sized review. There was one song he liked but said it sounded too much like Neon Indian, so I cut it. But I needed one more song for the album,” Alvarez says before getting to the punch line. “I said, ‘Fuck, Mike, I’m going to purposely make another song that sounds like Neon Indian.'”

That song wound up sharing the same title as the album, with its lyrical theme emerging from Diaz’s critique.

“The song is about how music has become so derivative,” Alvarez explains. “It’s about letting go of the anxiety of worrying that people think you stole a sound from another song. We can create things that come from what already exists, and people will accept that.”

Diaz agrees. “If you embrace an influence in a song more directly, the song works better. It’s why sampling is so popular.”

The album has been in the works for a long time, according to Alvarez.

“It was a culmination of songs I wrote over two and a half years, but I didn’t conceptualize what the album was about until the very end,” he notes. “I write music mindlessly, even the lyrics. I just write.”

It wasn’t until Pop was finished that Alvarez could see how the record came together thematically.

“The entire album is about anxiety. How to cope with it, and how to deal with it when dealing with other people,” he says. “The album cover represents the sound of the album, but the way it looks also interprets what anxiety does to relationships.”

A video for the title track was released back in July. Alvarez says he left the video entirely in the hands of director Melanie Sarria.

“I trust her with everything,” he says. “I said, ‘Do what you want. Don’t tell me anything about it. I just want to see it at the end.'”

And on the heels of Pop‘s release comes the show on Thursday, November 11, at Gramps. The night will feature local newcomer Wan, whom Millionyoung and Firstworld discovered randomly on a night out at Las Rosas. They describe his sound as a very groovy blend of ’80s disco and ’90s R&B.

Millionyoung will take the stage for the first time in two years that night.

“I’m going to try not to cry, but I’m not going to make any promises,” Diaz says. “It’s me and another multi-instrumentalist. We’re going to have lots of visual stuff. We’ll have an epilepsy warning before the show and the lasers go off.”

“I will cry,” Alvarez says jokingly. “I will milk the tears, so people in the audience cry with me. I’ve never worked so hard for one show. I’ve been very monastic about it with my head down working on these songs. I’m going to give it everything I got, and I’ve got crazy things in mind.”

Firstworld. With Millionyoung and Wan. 9 p.m. Thursday, November 11, at Gramps, 176 NW 24th St., Miami; 855-732-8992; gramps.com. Tickets cost $10 via eventbrite.com.

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(this story/news/article has not been edited by PostX News staff and is published from a syndicated feed)

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