Queens-native Skype Williams has made a name for himself in New York’s queer nightlife scene—DJing parties like Papi Juice, Bubble_T, and the legendary afterhours, Spectrum—as well as in the art world, with projects at galleries like 47 Canal and sets at institutions including MoMA PS1 and Performance Space.
But don’t let the rarified names fool you: Skype loves pop. That’s why for his debut EP, Sorry I’m Late, he’s crafted a six track ode to love, sex, and the city that raised him. It’s equal measures boy band and hip-hop, a raw and authentic—if still lighthearted—meditation on gay life and making it (or trying to) as an artist. “Work made by gay people doesn't necessarily need to be like Troye-Sivan-twink-lily-white-lithe-pastel-pink-pop,” Williams said of his approach to his album. “But it doesn’t have to be turbo-homo-DL-thug-shit, either. It can exist somewhere in the middle.”
Melodic and honest, Sorry I’m Late tracks the highs and lows of growing up and living in New York, of loving and losing, as the saying goes, without ever losing its—and Skype’s—unabashed sense of humor. “I wanted to make something that was upbeat, something that sounded like the city,” he explained. But he wanted to avoid the traps of overly “uplifting” music. “I still wanted to keep some sarcasm and humor in what I was talking about.”
New Yorkers got the first taste of Sorry I’m Late this past Saturday at No Bar, the recently-launched gay venue at The Standard, East Village, conceived of by chef and creative director Angela Dimayuga. The narrow hotel bar was packed with people dancing, chatting, drinking, and making out. DJs, including New York mainstays like Oscar Nñ and hon2ou provided sounds, and at midnight, Williams took the mic in the middle of the crowd for an ebullient performance of his track “Not Your N***a,” singing and rhyming along with rapper Cakes da Killa—“the Diana Ross of lower Manhattan,” as Skype puts it.
“It felt like I was having a conversation with the audience rather than performing for them,” Williams said of his first live performance of the album. “Performing with Cakes was great because it was like the audience was in our living room watching us have an argument.” After the “argument” wrapped up, Skype celebrated with a bottle of Moët, pouring champagne right into fan’s mouths before fashion iconoclast Telfar Clemens took control of the DJ booth for a party that went long into the night.
Like any good party, this past Saturday’s included, the album is its own sort of community. In addition to Cakes da Killa, it also features singer and songwriter Miho Hatori of Gorillaz and Cibo Matto fame, who Skype’s been listening to “since [he] was a child,” and New York-based DJ hmurphii, who also opened the release party.
For those who didn’t get to join in on the debauchery, the album is finally dropping just in time for summer exclusively on Out, so pop your own bottle of bubbly and take a listen below.