"I just hope people accept it," the electronic music star tells EDM.com. "I hope people like it. It’s not just EDM, it’s not just rave music. So I hope people take it for what it is and listen to it."
One of the most genuine cuts from the 13-track album is the confessional “4:30,” a languid tune featuring Cotis, who croons, “I just smoke all my days away. I don’t feel nothing, yeah. I just smoke all my pain away.” The song's aching lyrics provide fans a glimpse into life following a breakup as its protagonist searches for redemption from someone they presumably hurt. Taking the lack of response to heart, they resort to smoking to relieve their heartache.
Blunts & Blondes, whose real name is Mike Guard, says this project traversed down a different path than he’s used to. He meshed electronic music with elements of hip-hop, R&B and other genres.
“It’s kind of hard to curate an album with different types of music that kind of sounds cohesive at the same time," Guard says. "So that was a challenge, but I think I handled it. I think I did it pretty well."
On the titular track, Guard chronicles his struggles with self-esteem and anxiety, trust issues and honest experiences with cannabis. Here, he produces a brooding, intoxicating bassline that somehow also invites fans to head-bang. An exemplary crying-in-the-club moment.
Although Guard has openly professed his fondness for marijuana—his namesake refers to the drug—he did not in any sense glorify the substance. He says he had his first experience with cannabis at the age of 14, when he and his best friend smoked after baseball practice. But he quickly found his relationship with weed progressing in an unhealthy fashion and eventually quit smoking altogether during his senior year of high school due to drug testing.
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But, like a couple that takes a break to reexamine their relationship, Guard and ganja soon found their way back to each other.
"When I went to college I started smoking again and I was really confused as to why I kept on going back to marijuana. I was so fine without weed for senior year—why do I keep going back to it?" Guard digresses. "So I just eventually stopped trying to fight it. This is what I like, this is what I wanna do. At the same time, I kind of made a decision that I was going to do my own thing. I’m not going to stop smoking. That’s when I found music in college."
Despite experiencing an at-times vacillating relationship, Guard says that marijuana is "so spiritual" for him. "It’s fun getting high, but without it I don’t think I’d be able to handle anything," he adds. "I don’t think I’d be able to do what I do. I don’t think I’d be inspired the way I am. I think I’d be really mean."
The track showcasing Guard’s growth and versatility the most is "Mirrors." Here, he interpolates delicate keys with a hypnotic, intricately layered bass drop. The album's final track, “My Life is Good,” is a jazzy, trumpet-filled number with a scintillating dubstep arrangement. The feel-good song wraps up his insightful album with a statement.
“All the other projects I’ve put out... I’ve just focused on putting the best dance music or record I could put out at the time," Guard says. "But this album, it’s not just supposed to make you feel good. It’s supposed to make you feel what I’m feeling. I’ve put a lot more feeling and thought into it rather than just trying to make you turn up."
“I think the album is just like a testament to my resiliency," he adds. "I’m proud of what I’ve done, I’m proud of who I am and I hope the album can show that."
Take a listen to Story of a Stoner below.