Sparse, jarring and modestly beautiful miniature pop symphony Boy on The Lake is your introduction to the world of Daniel Briskin, a north London-based producer, multi-instrumentalist, singer and songwriter whose both your average 18-year-old and very far from being your average 18-year-old.
Drawing on art, cinema and pop references spanning decades, PMR’s latest signing has a unique vision that’s accessible and esoteric and, as millions of TikTok hits attest, effortlessly charismatic. (To put it another way: he’s a pop polymath without being a dick about it.)
Recorded with Klaxons founding member Jamie Reynolds and JONAH at a studio in Margate, the haunting and lightly symphonic Boy In The Lake is Daniel’s debut release and was written after he watched Mean Creek, the 2004 cult indie film about a lakeside prank that spirals out of control. Attempting to empathise with the coming-of-age story’s antagonist, Daniel “Saw someone feeling weird, remote and small, and it struck me that so much of human nature is based on a need for validation.” That starting point led Daniel to compose a meditation on isolation and redemption. “The last line of the song is ‘follow if you can’,” Daniel adds, “and with that the mood shifts. In the end the song says: ‘I’ve been this person, but please come with me on this journey I’m trying to have.’ It’s about self-growth.”
The song’s brought to life through an artwork collaboration with Joe Cruz, the white-hot visual artist who’d caught Daniel’s eye through work for Jacquemus and Stüssy. The pair met last year and hit it off, creating a series of images that blends Cruz’s layered, unconventional approach to portraiture with Daniel’s own reference points like Gummo, surrealist art and his favourite Italian Renaissance painting. This is all complemented by an expressive and immersive video by in-demand director Lone Wolf (A$AP Ferg, Lil Yachty, MadeinTYO).
Boy In The Lake is just the beginning of this distinctive new talent’s journey. Daniel’s forthcoming mixtape Forever Was A Feeling, also recorded with Jamie Reynolds, is an extraordinarily and immersive body of work. It captures the claustrophobia and euphoria of late adolescence, mixing nostalgia with an overwhelming relief that the whole thing’s nearly over, all seen through the eyes of a realist who can’t help being a bit of a dreamer. The result is dark pop, with a glimmer of light never too far away.