1. If anyone could play you in a movie, who would you pick?
Right now, I think I should play myself in a movie. But if, like, there was some sort of weird time portal and I was a guy from, like, the ’50s or something, and I was dead now — which also brings into question who I want to be when I’m older — I wanna be badass and cool, so Christian Bale.
2. What’s the first album you ever bought?
Probably like Raffi or something. [sings] Oh, baby beluga in the deep blue sea, that’s a great record.
3. Describe your style in three words.
Theatrical, diverse, eclectic.
4. Craziest fan story?
What I can say about my fans right now is that recently I’ve been very excited and very encouraged about how encouraging they have been about the music — and the amount of positive response I get, both on social media but also in real life. So people will come and just be like, “Ansel, I’m so excited for your music!” Which is, like, so nice that people are aware and excited about it. I like it when they know my name, because that’s always really nice. Hopefully that happens more as time goes on. And I’m not, like, that guy from that movie.
5. Which emoji do you use the most?
I feel like emojis change up depending on what my mood is. My mood is changing all the time. But when I think something is funny, I like to post the tears-all-the-way-down emoji, or the skull, like, dead. It’s very New York. Or say, like, I’m deceased and put the skull, like something on a meme page.
6. What’s your biggest pet peeve?
I feel like I have a lot, because I’m also a big Seinfeld fan, so I grew up with Jerry, and he has a lot of little pet peeves. Like only little things, you know what I mean? I hate it when people don’t swipe their metro cards right. Another metro one is like if you don’t buy or refill your metro card in like 20 seconds, what are you doing? Go to the booth, get the guy to help you. You’re holding up the line. I can hear the train coming right now!
7. What’s the most memorable concert you’ve been to?
Recently I went to the Prince concert in Atlanta before he died, very lucky. I happened to be there, it was the last concert he ever played, and it really influenced me. I had seen another show before then, a big pop star show, that I was not very impressed by. And then I saw Prince, a guy who’s well past his prime, and he put on one of the greatest shows I’ve ever seen. So it really let me know, hey, Ansel, if you’re going to do this music thing, don’t be a joke. Like, work on your craft, and really work.
“Prince was one of the greatest pianists I’ve ever seen.”
This was also the same time I was filming Baby Driver, and Flea from the Red Hot Chili Peppers was also in Baby Driver, and this guy is still obsessed with music. I’m like, “What have you been up to this week?” He’s like, “Oh, I rented a keyboard.” All he does is practice playing piano and bass. Like, all he does is practice all day. I mean, so amazing. Eventually he came into the studio when I was in Baby Driver and played bass for a track of mine, and not only did he just play for five minutes straight that [was] perfect immediately, but then, like, there was an organ in there, and he just started playing on the organ too, and I recorded that too. I’m like, okay, never mind, the bass player from the Chili Peppers is also the organ player on this song too. He’s just a real musician. Seeing Prince made it clear — he’s not even known as a pianist, but Prince was one of the greatest pianists I’ve ever seen. He played the piano so well, and the medleys of his own songs, it was clear everything was happening impulsively. It was dope. So that was influential.
8. Last person who texted you?
Probably Warren, my brother. Because he’s directing my “Thief” video, so we’re all over each other about it.
9. Last book you read?
Boys in the Boat.
10. Who’s your doppelgänger?
I get a lot of tweets and stuff and people say they look like me, and sometimes people are right. They have a really similar nose and chin, and really similar eyes and marks on the face in the same spot. And then my brother, too. My brother takes pictures as me all the time. He said he’s given up. He doesn’t care.
11. Favorite reality show?
I used to be really into Jersey Shore and Hell’s Kitchen, but it’s been a minute since I’ve watched reality TV. Although I’ve never watched Keeping Up With the Kardashians, and then it was on at my agent’s house, and it was a special episode that showed all their best moments, and it looked pretty great.
“I have a crush on Daft Punk. I don’t even know what they look like, but those robot suits are so sexy.”
12. Celebrity crush?
I have a lot of man crushes, guys I look up to. I have a man crush on Tom Hardy, and also Christian Bale. But then also, like, musicians. I have a crush on Daft Punk. I don’t even know what they look like, but those robot suits are so sexy.
13. What’s one thing you can’t live without?
I need to rock climb or play basketball. If I don’t do that for like a week or so, I start going kinda crazy. I feel like as humans we’re supposed to be hunting for our food and running around, and if I don’t do anything physical I start to go crazy.
14. Guilty pleasure?
In my house in Brooklyn I’ve built a movie theater, and now I play video games on the movie theater screen. Mostly 2K right now, the basketball game. It’s so fun.
15. Go-to comfort food?
I love Chinese chicken wings, the three-part ones. For whatever reason all the chicken wing spots take off the third piece. I drench it in a duck sauce and hot sauce combination. It’s the best.
16. Dream vacation spot?
I just wanna go back to Thailand. Thailand’s the greatest. Also Africa was crazy. Going on a safari in Africa — I think about it almost every day. There’s no service, you just have to go and look at animals all day and then come back to your camp and sit around the fire. It’s great.
17. Hidden talent?
I’m a good skier, but it’s been a minute since I’ve skied because I’m so scared of hurting myself. My sister was a skier, she was a serious skier. My mom was a ski instructor, so we used to ski a lot.
18. How did you get into dancing?
My father really pushed me in that direction. He loved dancing, and he showed me Gene Kelly, Fred Astaire, and was like, “You want to be like these guys.” And I was like, “Yes, I do.” I love Gene Kelly.
“It’s usually just a picture of my girlfriend. I’m constantly having to change it because I take more pictures of her than anything.”
19. Background wallpaper on your phone?
It’s usually just a picture of my girlfriend. I’m constantly having to change it because I take more pictures of her than anything. I take a lot of pictures of my girlfriend.
20. Name something on your bucket list.
I want to go to Iceland, go hiking. As much as I like vacations, I like going adventuring and hiking and stuff.
21. Biggest fear?
Having my hands tied, I guess. Not literally, but I don’t like having my hands tied, I like always being able to do something about stuff. I would hate not being able to do anything about something that was really terrible.
22. What’s one thing you want fans to feel from your new music?
I want my fans to like my music for the music, and to be excited about seeing me perform it live. I have some fans who will love anything I do, and I love that about them, and that’s really nice of them. But I think there are some people who are a little more picky, and I want the picky people to be happy too.
23. Best piece of advice you’ve ever been given?
I think I’m still really figuring out what the best advice is. As you get older you start hearing more and more of it. I’m still trying to figure out which mottos you should live by. I’m trying to figure it out.
24. Favorite place to visit?
I love going to my family house in Long Island.
25. Favorite song of 2016?
I really liked the song on Mat Zo’s album called “Too Late.” It’s really dope. Still into it.
“Sometimes I’m obsessing too much about the way my music sounds and if it’s all perfect or whatever.”
26. What’s the last thing you searched for on Google?
Right now I’m all about looking at old artists. Sometimes I’m obsessing too much about the way my music sounds and if it’s all perfect or whatever. Yesterday I was listening to “Superstition” by Stevie Wonder, and that record’s kind of like a mess in a great way, there’s a lot of things going on. I was like, I need to relax about making everything so clean and perfect. The reason I say that, though, is because I’m always googling, like, documentaries on other artists right now and hearing about how much work they put in, so I’m probably googling [someone] like Stevie Wonder.
27. What do you hope for in 2017?
I would really like to put out a lot of music and have people hear it. I have goals like, it’d be nice to have a song go to radio, but also I just want to have music come out. I feel like I’ve been making a lot of music over the last year and a half, and I’d like to just get it out there.
Special thanks to Burberry for providing wardrobe.