words by Eamon Whalen
For nearly three years, Corbin (FKA Spooky Black) has been one of the most enigmatic and captivating figures in Minnesota music, helping to bring national shine onto the Twin Cities music scene with an enthusiasm that hadn't been felt in years. His trio of projects, the leaving EP, TheStand4rd and Couch Potato, are not only some of the most interesting music to come out of our region lately, it's some of the best.
Yet for all intents and purposes, Corbin has outright rejected the spotlight that was basically served to him on a silver platter after his "Without U," video, recorded when he was only 15, became a widspread internet sensation. There's been no shallow attempt at a viral follow-up, essentially zero social media presence, no trolling of his elders and little to no press access.
Instead, Corbin is content to play in the shadows and make free-form, anti-pop music with his friends like "Destrooy," a haunting, ambient new song that was released today with this message:
fingers tight around my arm, quiet you slept
too long since my heart has beat this hard, hide my breath
cornered, calm my nerves,
destroyer, ive done this before
call it, im wasting your time
dont soften it, leave me to die
All of it may seem self-indulgent until you realize that maybe Corbin didn't want money, fame or fans with dubious intentions before he even turned 20. That now, for the first time ever, his career and music is in his hands and under his own control.
This past summer, I was in the basement of a bar in Northeast Minneapolis where Corbin debuted new music at a surprise show for an audience of maybe 75 people. Some songs were similar to "Destrooy," but there were also a set of songs produced by Shlohmo that were more up-beat and vibrant, delivered with an almost stand-up comedian-level timing. It was one of the best sets I saw all year, and good reason to believe that despite what he may have you think, Corbin isn't going anywhere.