:3lon, the singer, producer, and label head of the newly christened PLUR.net, a label aimed at elevating Black and Brown artists, is a self-made icon. Growing up in Baltimore, :3lon, was exposed to the incomparable sound of Baltimore club, the raucous and fun genre headed up in its birth by independent DJs and producers such as Rod Lee, K-Swift, DJ Diamond K and more.
This DIY informed dance scene is an evident influence in the work of :3lon, in terms of their focus on independent production and artistic freedom. However, :3lon’s artistry and styling is difficult to pin down, and often moves in a more futuristic realm, whilst dipping into UK influenced sounds such as Drum and Bass. :3lon’s artistic ties to the UK, can be traced not only in their production but also in their collaborations, specifically their work with producer and DJ Scratcha DVA, on Amapiano infused track Flex, as well as through the broken beats of Fragile, which was the lead track on UK based DJ Producer Sherelle’s VA compilation Beautiful Vol. 1.

:3lon has garnered early praise from key publications such as Crack Magazine and DJ Mag, in addition to receiving love from BBC radio 6 DJ, Mary Anne Hobbs, and DJ and producer Jamz Supernova, who selected them as one to watch in 2023. This much deserved praise for :3lon’s work hints at an exciting future for the independent artist, whose EP Eden was released earlier this month. With Eden, :3lon’s style of otherworldly, emotive, and essential dance music proves that their work is ever evolving, serving to locate where they can be found in the present moment. It’s this prescient and intimate production style that makes :3lon such a master of their craft.
Hi there, how are you, thanks for chatting with me. What are your plans for the day ahead?
Hey there, thank you for taking the time to speak to me! Today I'm focusing on pushing my new EP! I'm going to have dinner with some friends later.
You grew up in Baltimore but now you are based in New York. Both cities have their own historic and multidimensional dance music scenes, do you feel their influence in your own work?
Absolutely. I absorb everything in whatever environment I'm in, especially music. I feel like that's my duty as an artist, always paying attention to my environment.
Did you grow up clubbing or producing? Or have you come into this element of your work a bit later?
Baltimore club music has such an energy that we were all partying long before we were old enough to actually go to the club. So I've been into club culture since I can remember. I started practising production when I was 13 to 14 years old and I've been working at it since.
Mary Anne Hobbs has been quite supportive of your tracks and artistry, how does it feel to have her backing?
It's honestly a blessing. I've been working at this independently for so long and it feels great to be recognised by dope people.
Congrats on the release of Glossolalia, it certainly touches on all sorts of genres and moods. What was your inspiration for the track?
That song is an homage to some of the legendary afro futuristic moments I experienced growing up. I was thinking about how artists like Brandy, Kelis, Busta Rhymes, 702, and Missy Elliott have really pushed the envelope. They were all on some afro futuristic shit without anyone even realising that's what was happening.
What can listeners expect to hear on the Eden EP? How would you define the release’s sound?
This project is definitely moody and cyber. High octane at some moments and sentimental the next. I feel like it's a cohesive body of work. There's definitely an underlying sci-fi fantasy energy I wanted the project to exude. I imagined myself either in a post-technology futuristic environment or a damaged spacecraft drifting in space.
You’ve made waves with past releases Fragile, which was released on Sherelle’s Beautiful Vol.1 compilation, and the track Flex with Scratcha, which certainly amounts to some well-earned and early hype around your work. How did these collaborations come about?
I actually got into contact with Sherelle via my management at first. But then we started chatting on twitter and the rest is history. Scratcha was a similar situation. He was looking for a writer/singer and my manager suggested me to him. Once he sent me the track it was an instant song moment. Immediately I started writing.
I first came across your work via Scratcha and Flex, which is a heater. Can listeners expect more Amapiano styling in the future?
Maybe! I want to write an Amapiano song that has a heartfelt vibe to it.
How did you develop your skills as an artist and producer and label head? How do you manage all these different elements of your artistry?
I did whatever I had to do to teach myself. I practised vocal arrangement, producing, writing, and singing since I was young. I'm a hands-on learner and I allowed myself the space to make music mistakes. I used to find singer friends when I was growing up, that also helped a lot honestly. The label head thing came from me not wanting to wait around for someone to deem my art valuable and taking control of my own narrative, I'm still developing my skills with that. There's going to be a little trial and error but that's ok. I'm taking it day by day!
Can you tell us a little bit about the ethos of your label PLUR.net?
I would love to eventually use it as a platform to highlight some sick Black and Brown artists.
You refer back to independence as being an important element of your work. What does true independence look like for you?
I want to have a self sustaining machine that I curated that allows me to create freely while also inspiring others to do the same.
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