The Los Angeles-based duo Lost Kings teamed up with musical.ly/YouTube sensation Loren Gray to record the pop track "Anti-Everything."
The song and its accompanying music video are playful rejections of societal expectations and banal trends, as the video features Gray's deadpan delivery of the opening lines: "I hate drinking coffee in the morning / I hate that place everybody goes / If it's fun I'll probably think it's boring / Just like that song everybody knows." Each verse adds to the litany of Gray's dislikes, but just when her soft voice begins to sound droning, the chorus shifts the song to its main point: "I'm anti-everything, but I love you / I'm fucking miserable 'til you walk into the room." It's a hate song mixed with a love ballad that's driven by Gray's breathy vocals.
"Anti-Everything" is the second track on the Lost Kings' EP Paper Crowns. The creative minds comprising Lost Kings, Rob Abisi and Nick Shanholtz, have released other tracks from the EP including "When We Were Young" feat. Norma Jean Martine, "Stuck" feat. Tone Styrke, and "Drunk As Hell" feat. Jesper Jenset. In total, the unreleased EP's already accrued more than 70 million streams worldwide.
Rob and Nick first met when they were both struggling to find motivation for their individual music projects in L.A. They told Popdust that when mutual friends introduced them at Rob's 25th birthday party, something "clicked." After meeting in Nick's apartment to mix music together, they realized, "We should do this together."
When settling on their name, "Lost Kings" best captured their story. As Rob recounts, "When you first come to L.A., it's easy to lose yourself." They both hail from the East Coast (Rob is from Boston and Nick's from Baltimore) and moved to the West Coast to pursue lifelong dreams of music careers. However, the party culture of Los Angeles challenged their ability to stay focused on their goals. "That's the 'Lost' part," Rob says. But they were able to re-focus by collaborating in Nick's apartment, even after working long days at their full-time jobs.
Part of the duo's success is from how in tune their music videos are with their sound. When asked to describe the creative process behind their videos, Nick describes, "We're very involved in every facet of the creative process. Our videographer actually travels with us, and we'll have creative meetings. When people hear our music, we want them to have a visual experience and be able to picture it. When they see the video, we want them to think, 'That's exactly what I pictured.'" For instance, while touring in Croatia and Ibiza, the pair had an "insane experience" where "the views had the perfect summertime vibe for 'Stuck.'" Traveling with their videographer allowed them to capture the scenery for the music video on the spot.
When Nick and Rob wrote "Anti-Everything," the music video for which has been released exclusively to Popdust, Gray was already on their radar. The song was written one day in Nick's apartment when they were "in an anti-everything mood." Once finished, they immediately thought of Gray. "Everything lined up," Nick says. "She heard it, liked it, her schedule was free. She killed it." Rob adds, "She recorded a great version of it. We were in LA to shoot the video...It was great working with her. I can't say enough good things about Loren." On working with the guys, Gray has similar praise: "Making this video with the Lost Kings was just an all around fun experience. It was a two day shoot, and we shot at an amazing house with incredible views of the city. The guys and their team are great. The video really captures the vibe of the song, and I'm so happy everyone finally gets to hear it and see it!"
When asked what advice the pair would give their younger selves about collaborating with other artists, Rob says, "Be patient. It's a long process, and it's easy to get frustrated. From writing and mixing to waiting to see if schedules line up and recording, just be patient." They say that's advice they're still trying to heed, but it's paid off for them so far. Wiz Khalifa featured on their track, "Don't Kill My High," a "dream" for the duo, as Nick speaks highly of Wiz as someone they've "looked up to and listened to for so long." Currently, at the top of their list of acts they'd love to collaborate with is The 1975. They're both fans and say, "The 1975 would be a dream."
Popdust asked the guys, "As a rising EDM act, are there songs on your playlists that might surprise people? Some country? Some Ariana Grande?" They gladly shared, "Love Ariana. She's everywhere, you can't escape her!" Rob's also had Mumford & Sons' latest album, Delta, on repeat.
Lastly, when Nick and Rob were asked to describe each other in three words, they both gave earnest responses (which was an appreciated sentimental moment–but we also had a laugh over a response they once gave to EDM.com: "big dick energy"). Rob said, "Passionate, hard-working, inspired." Nick said, "Calm, cool, collected."
Lost Kings will begin headlining The So What Tour on January 17. Watch the exclusive debut of the music video for "Anti-Everything" feat. Loren Gray above.
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