Many artists are drawn to New York City, but Royston Langdon never intended to make New York City his home until he visited the city for the first time. His outstanding new album Everything’s Dandy is, as Royston puts it, “a reflection of the re-gentrification of places and the real and meaningful memories they leave in their wake. How our own growth, over time, leaves us with a shifted perspective on ourselves. The once familiar now gone, never to come back except through the ghosts of lovers, places, objects.” Everything’s Dandy drops May 4th.
Is Everything’s Dandy a tribute in a way to New York City?
It’s not so much a tribute as it is me using the city as a sort of metaphor for my own personal experiences around love, fame, money, drugs, death, personal despair, rejection, humiliation and ultimately the transcendence of all of it. Though not without the inescapable suffering that those changes inevitably bring with them in order to survive. Everything’s Dandy is my way of manifesting my own peculiar embarrassing elephant within my own inner-room from the other side. It’s as openly and honestly as I can be from where I am today. I became very wealthy for a while. Had personal insight into being a part of NY’s re-gentrification, the rise and fall of celebrity culture etc. It’s not something most have had experience with. Awesome, in the truest sense of the word. To be at the center of this massive comedic tragedy. My insight is unique. And that joke isn’t lost on me. My own struggle really started when I started to recognize the disparity between my inner-self and what I was holding up around me, mainly on behalf of what I thought I should do and be. Bullshit. And because of this misalignment of my true artistic values within that, the walls had to come crashing down. So, I just literally expressed the evidence of what was left in the rubble. After all, isn’t sorrow just old joy? Now, NYC feels like a sort of collective ‘dreamland’. A shared fantasy for the rich, the visitors. Sex In The City en masse. Now she wants to be governor. Bonkers. She’ll probably get in too. Makes perfect sense to me. We’re all supporting the fantasy. That’s the reality. Odd. NYC is over for artists (besides me of course). Nevertheless, I still find all this very fascinating and beautiful. There’s a beauty to this neon forest, lest we are by diverted by the ugliness of some of its trees. Perhaps it’s time to move.
Why did you decide to make New York home originally?
I didn’t. I just happened. I came for a two-week holiday to visit my brother, Antony. He convinced me I should stay, start a band, get a job. It all sort of happened to me. I was very apathetic myself about my own destiny back then. I was a naive, free male and 21-year-old kid. Nevertheless, even that indifference has had a funny way of handing down my sentence of marvelous destiny ultimately. You couldn’t make this shit up. Unbelievable.
Can you pick out a few songs from the album and talk about what inspired them?
No. I want the songs to speak for themselves individually. That’s why I’m a songwriter and not a journalist. It’s a collective musical work.
Your son recently moved to London whereas you moved to New York from the UK. Why do you feel many British people, particularly artists, are drawn to New York City? What drew your son to move to London?
I don’t know. I can only speak on behalf of myself. For me as I mentioned earlier, it was the romantic idea that came out of the Bowery and the Factory via books and records. CBGB’s. I’d read about it. The Talking Heads. The Ramones. Couldn’t have ever dreamed I’d be signed by Seymour Stein who signed them.
Everything’s Dandy will be released on vinyl. Do you see vinyl making a strong comeback? Has vinyl ever really went away?
It is available now actually. I made vinyl for myself because principally because I’ve never had one before and I used to buy them as a kid. There will only ever be 300 copies on Earth. It has already made the comeback. I do think that there is something about the fact that it’s an analog and that that works better in art/music subjectively. It brings something magical unto itself that wasn’t there. Statistically I think vinyl’s done wonders for artists’ and the industry of the art. I still love albums. The turning over. The size of the art. The credits. It’s an experience. They were my friends when I was a kid in my bedroom. They have a life of their own, like you and me. They are beings.