XOV is a relative unknown in the States, with his iTunes presence consisting of a feature on a Lush & Simon track and an impressive inclusion on the Hunger Games: Mockingjay, Pt. 1 soundtrack, a dark pop single standing tall against a formidable crew featuring Tinashe, Grace Jones, and the woman who discovered him and brought it all together, Lorde.
Damian Ardestani — as he’s known as when he’s not the next big thing in music — may have been raised in Sweden, the holy mecca of pop music, but he grew up in the Tensta, one of the most dangerous places to live in the country. However, it’s from those experience where he draws the emotions he places in his art on songs like “Lucifer” and “Blood Honey,” both taken from his Lucifer EP which dropped earlier this year and is available to listen to here.
As most Swede artists do, XOV has proven himself to have a knack for crafting solid music, with the musicality and rhythm of sensual R&B and an almighty pop chorus, he’s gained approval from the likes of pop titan Max Martin, who he’s worked with in LA.
The latest addition to XOV’s discography is “DTTM (Don’t Talk to Me),” a sound that comfortably fits in his description of his sound, a mixture of Robyn, The Weeknd, and James Blake. Thrown in that blend is a little bit of the tropical house sound that’s been championed on the charts by the likes of Justin Bieber, Jack Ü, and Felix Jaehn, creating one of his most accessible songs by far. “Oh honey, we are, we are survivors / Our kind don’t follow the streams,” he croons over broody verses that bursts into the massive pop chorus that blooms with bubbling synths contrasted by an ominous siren. “Don’t talk to me, talk to me, nah nah nah nah…” While the song could easily be a blunt takedown of fake people or those who put too much focus on the superficial and lavish, it’s interesting to imagine what could have truly inspired the lyric behind the scenes.
Good artists just keep us thinking and craving more.
“DTTM” was released on September 11th on iTunes and is available for streaming on XOV’s SoundCloud and Spotify, the first single in promotion for the North American version of Wild, his mainstream debut full-length.