Aaron Fontwell drops the lavishly textured debut single “Crystal Coated”
The lavishly textured “Crystal Coated” blends a beat-heavy sound with gritty, guitar-driven alt-rock and embodies what Fontwell calls “Polaroid music.” In the past year, Fontwell began collecting vintage Polaroid pictures and turning the walls of his studio into an ever-growing mural that has inspired his music. Also a visual artist, Fontwell created the cover art for “Crystal Coated” from an image taken from his Polaroid collection.
“I feel like I lived a previous life around the ’60s or ’70s, like I was some wild character who lived for a very short but crazy time,” says the 24-year-old Clarkson, Ontario-based artist. Along with feeding his fascination with that era, Fontwell’s Polaroid collection has proven integral in informing his genre-defying, emotionally charged alternative sound.
“Crystal Coated” is the first track to be released from Fontwell’s upcoming EP, which is informed by his admiration of music from the past. “I’ve been trying to figure out what makes it feel so good,” he says. “Not just obvious things like the quality of the lyrics or vocals, but the way songs are arranged and mixed and engineered. I’m trying to tune into all those deeper elements and interpret them to make something new for today.”
A near-lifelong musician who started self-releasing his own material via mixtapes in eighth grade — and later achieved massive viral success with a series of remixes in the early 2010s — Fontwell names creative frustration as a key factor in carving out his path as a singer/songwriter. “A few years ago I’d started producing for other people, but I’d get really frustrated when there was no work going on. So I decided to try writing songs, thinking that when the time came I’d find a singer to pitch them to,” he recalls. Through that self-directed process, Fontwell ended up creating a handful of songs showing his melodic finesse and sonic ingenuity — and, unexpectedly, finding his true voice as an artist.