April27, TikTok’s Most Mysterious Musician, Premieres A Haunting New Release
We’d describe “prayer1,” which premieres exclusively on NYLON, as “like Burial, if he ever made hymns.”
Imagine a tunnel connecting a temple and a nightclub. Inside that tunnel, there’s ... something playing the most sorrowful yet banging instrumental music. It sounds sad but also like an Eastern devotional — but also something you could rave to. That’s how the mysterious musician and producer April27 described his new song “prayer1” to garner millions of plays on TikTok.
Premiering in full exclusively on NYLON, “prayer1” is the debut release from the London-based music-maker, who describes his sound as a “surrealist horror love story.” He’s not the first to craft an out-there concept to attract ears to his music, which has now spilled off of TikTok, but what sets “prayer1” apart is that it’s actually good. It samples his real-life grandmother singing devotional music that’s been layered under cold, thumping, industrial beats; it’s like Burial, if he ever made hymns.
And in the music video below, we find more clues into who April27 is — primarily, that he’s heavily influenced by indie horror flicks and video games. The visual, directed by Kyber0114, opens with a faux A24 logo and then a video game’s loading screen, with prompts viewers to start a new game or quit, and eventually turns into something reminiscent of the infamous Slenderman game, with the viewer exploring the woods as a white figure pops in and out of the screen.
“‘prayer1’ is the first ‘level’ in a series of levels where the listener explores the tunnel between a temple and a nightclub,” April27 says of the video’s concept. “I used to make video games, so I really wanted to structure this world similar to one.”
It’s unclear if subsequent “levels” will mean new songs, but for now, hear “prayer1” below, and read on to learn more about April27.
What are you up to right now? Describe your surroundings.
I feel like Dr. Frankenstein. I just spent the last few weeks hunched over my laptop like a goblin, trying to animate this 3D monster for the “prayer1” music video, obsessing over things like the eyebrows, the nose rings, how she moves, and how all these features play together like a symphony to make a character that truly represents liminality, sorrow, longing, and expired beauty. Physically I’m in London, but spiritually, I’m with her.
What’s your earliest music memory?
I feel like devotional music was such an eternal part of my upbringing without me even noticing. It’s so common in Indian households to have a maternal figure always singing lullabies and prayers. We would gather around and chant together for hours. I didn’t realize how profound this effect was until I later started writing my own music, and always found a sense of safety in melodies that looped and moved in the same way a prayer did. It inadvertently shows itself when I am producing, or playing an instrument.
You describe your music as a surrealist horror love story. What about horror stories compel you, and what’s your favorite horror film?
My favorite horror film is a South Indian Tamil film called Chandramukhi. It’s the story of a dancing spirit who was wronged in a past life and possesses those who don’t dance with her (this is also a horrible synopsis of a truly incredible movie that haunted my childhood for years).
I love horror now primarily because I used to hate it as a child. We have a feeling of control when it comes to horror — we know that we are watching something designed to terrify us, but somehow feel in control because we can walk away at any time. This feeling is obviously false because the images live on in our head anyway, as Chandramukhi did for me and so many. It felt so apt to use the themes of horror to describe this feeling of liminality.
Now that you have amassed a curious audience from TikTok, what do you hope they take away from your music?
I’m honestly just treating TikTok like a dream journal at the moment. I think the whole point of creating this “monster” character is for people to see an exaggerated version of themselves in her — but also so that I don’t ever have to be on camera and make people feel like I’m “marketing” my music to them. In an ideal world, I just have dreams, make music, animate and post them on TikTok, and then retroactively come to understand the meaning of these dreams afterwards. If people feel like they watched or heard something they didn’t expect to on their timeline, then I’ve done my job.