By: Seamus Fay
Van Buren’s Marvelous Stefan is here with a new project titled Are You Happy?, an EP fueled by smooth, atmospheric production and story-telling verses that bring listeners on Stefan’s personal journey after a break-up. 9 tracks long, I really don’t feel like Are You Happy? has a weak point. The songs flow very well into each other with the transitions making sure there are no forced moments, and the consistent vibe throughout the entire EP makes it very solid as a whole.
My favorite tracks right now are “Grow!”, “Doozy”, “Link Up” because of how strong they run together. “Doozy” distances Stefan from the more emotional and gloomy “Grow!”, and then runs perfectly into “Link Up” which talks of a new crush that the young artist develops and his obsession with her. On top of these three, “Love In The Air” stands out for me, too, being so reminiscent of Kanye West’s classic 808s and Heartbreak vocally and in the production.
Below is a brief interview I did with Marvelous Stefan himself about the making of the project and what it means to him:
What’s your creative process for writing songs?
The creative process for writing these songs are all the same to be honest. I’ll write a concept in my phone one day and in the morning I’ll listen to an instrumental I feel fits my aesthetic and I usually and write and record it all in my room.
Where did the inspiration for the title come from?
The inspiration for the title came from a dark time I had in my life for the whole second half of 2016. I was going through a tough break up and I would always suppress my feelings. Whenever people would ask me like “Yo are you good bro?” or “How are you doing?” I would always respond saying “Yeah I’m doing good” even though I really wasn’t.
In what way does the cover art represent the album as a whole?
The cover art represents the album because of the color and my action. That indigo represents the mood I was in and me jumping represents my attempt to escape it.
What are your personal favorite songs on it at the moment?
It’s hard to choose my personal favorites because it always changes over time but if I would have to choose some my favorites would be “Psycho” and “Grow!”
Which song was the most fun to make and why? Also, which song was the most meaningful for you to make and why?
“Doozy” was definitely the most fun because I literally wrote it in 30 minutes and mixed and mastered it that same day. I freestyled a lot of the lines and just kept adding on from there. It’s also where I got my catchphrase “Pay Attention” from. The most meaningful song was “Love In The Air” because it’s so vulnerable. I wanted people to really feel exactly how I felt at that time. “808’s and Heartbreak” is also one of my favorite albums of all time and I wanted people to kind of get that same feel as that album gave but with my own spin to it.