HUGE thanks to ECKOES...
for telling me about her latest track, Without Prejudice, and how it came to be. I ask her whether there are plans for more material and whether we can see her on the road – she highlights a rising name to watch and a few albums that are very important to her.
I ask which artists inspired her growing up and whether she has a favourite musical memory; what she would like for Christmas and the advice she’d give to any artist coming through – ECKOES selects a great song to end the interview on.
Hi, ECKOES. How are you? How has your week been?
Fabulous to both.
For those new to your music; can you introduce yourself, please?
Clash Magazine just described me as “A multi-dimensional artistic entity” and I don’t think I can ever top that sentence. So, I’ll just leave that there...
Your new single, Without Prejudice, is out. Can you reveal how it started life and its story?
I’d love to say ‘the song just wrote itself’ but I’d be lying. I sat on those piano chords for about half a year before I could find a top-line that did them justice. My producer, David Ezra, almost stopped listening to my ideas: he was so sick of the hearing them. Then, one day I knew I had something; sent it across and we were like - this is it.
I’ll never forget the feeling that day in the studio when we both knew something magical was happening and you have to work quickly because that vortex to wherever inspiration comes from doesn’t stay open for long. Our responsibility is to let it flow through us and not get in the way. Two-three hours later, we sat back to listen and I’m pretty sure I cried I was so proud of it.
Might we see an album or E.P. next year do you think?
Absolutely. There’ll be an E.P. next spring.
Can you give me an idea of the artists, older and new, who inspire you and compel your own sound?
Artists like James Blake and SOHN give me life because they create experimental Electronic music that still manages to be beautiful yet unpredictable. I listen to Björk when I’m slipping back to my comfort zone; a Dutch Iranian artist, Sevdaliza, for her brave use of instrumental space. I have an old-school R&B core so you can often hear a deep Missy Elliott drum.
Do you already have plans for 2019?
Yes! I was selected for as an INES 2019 artist (Innovation Network of European Showcases) so I’ll be performing at a bunch of festivals abroad. I also just signed a deal to take my music to China, so the first trip to Beijing will be in January. I’ve never been before and it’ll be a massive adventure in general. And I’ll be playing a Spotlight 2019 Session for Ticketmaster on 14th Jan - a few days before I leave for China -, so it’s already looking like a great year.
Have you got a favourite memory from your time in music so far – the one that sticks in the mind?
Getting play-listed on Apple Music’s ‘Best of the Week’ two weeks ago was an outer-body experience, because I scrolled down and it was Meghan Trainor, Sean Paul; ECKOES, Muse; Bastille, Coldplay…and it’s not that I’m striving for Pop success (or Without Prejudice wouldn’t have been 5:30 minutes long); it’s more that they have the machines and teams to get them there, to get them heard, and I have just me and my song. I was so proud.
What does music mean to you? How important is it in your life?
Ha. Well it’s the reason I think I’m alive, so I guess pretty important yeah. I feel super-lucky that I’m someone who music/art comes down through. I get to create things that connect people; that connects me to people. However hard work it is. I’ll always be so grateful.
Which three albums mean the most to you would you say (and why)?
Paul Simon (and Ladysmith Black Mambazo) - Graceland
Pretty much raised me. My dad played the video of their Zimbabwe concert (that couldn’t be in South Africa because of Apartheid) on-repeat. The harmonies, the songs; the context - just everything about this album is beauty.
Whitney Houston’s (double album) Greatest Hits
It was a lesson to us all on piercing people’s hearts with your voice.
Alanis Morissette - Jagged Little Pill
It was so, so raw. It was magical.
As Christmas is coming up; if you had to ask for one present what would it be?
A few more hours in every day?
If you could support any musician, and choose your own rider, what would that entail?
Oooooo. I’d open for Michael Jackson FOR SURE, just to be in his presence. And anything I ask for will look basic and normal compared to his rider, so I’d go all-in.
My band, Max and Luigi, would love random things like bumper cars and a carousel. I’d get mountains of lightly salted Kettle Chips to wade in. (Post-show of course; I’m not mad).
What advice would you give to new artists coming through?
Make sure you love the process. The making the music itself, the performing and the practicing. Because, if you do, you’ve already won, every day. But, if you don’t, then this industry will break you.
Do you have tour dates coming up? Where can we catch you play?
I’m playing a Spotlight Session 2019 for Ticketmaster on 14th Jan at Camden Assembly (formerly Barfly). Tickets are free on their website.
How important is it getting onto the stage and delivering music to the people?
It’s massive. Live is Queen - and everything else just serves her. It’s where we all get to experience this one moment in time all together. It allows me to bring my recorded music to life; share the visual aspect and connect with people in a magical way. I absolutely love it.
IN THIS PHOTO: THABO
Are there any new artists you recommend we check out?
Not so new, but I just discovered THABO. His voice gives me chills. It’s so divine.
Do you get much time to chill away from music? How do you unwind?
I don’t get much time to be honest, but when I need to reboot I go and see my little niece and nephew - who I am obsessed with. Little people are so all-consuming and joyful. I have to get out of my head and just enjoy the present because, to them, nothing else exists.
Finally, and for being a good sport; you can choose a song and I’ll play it here (not any of your music - I will do that).
A friend of mine and inspiration, Terri Walker, has just re-blessed the music industry with her presence. Her new track, Breakout, is a must-listen