Interview: 2017 Must-Know - EDEN

EDEN explores love, nostalgia, heartbreak, fame, and more within his EP, ‘i think you think too much of me’ - with the 21-year-old Irish artist showcasing his mastery of empathy in a refreshingly frank way. Previously existing as The Eden Project, he made EDM/dance/drum and bass, but now as EDEN, his focus is in songwriting and instrumentation.

Fellow New Zealander Lorde praised his song ’sex’ by saying the following: “It does something very simple and intense to my brain - you managed to make it sound just as messy and emotional and twitchy and kind of in love and definitely freaked out as that situation feels.” We have to agree, and the rest of the EP expands upon that feeling - it’s the type of EP that you can endlessly find new aspects of.

With his very own record label MCMXCV which he releases EDEN music under, we’re excited to hear what’s to come.

MUST-LISTEN: ‘rock + roll’, ‘sex’, ‘XO’, ‘Circles’, ‘drugs’.
YOU WILL LIKE, IF YOU LIKE: Lontalius, James Blake, Troye Sivan, LANY, Wet, SOHN, Banks, Tove Lo, Lorde.

CDM: I love your ‘i think you think too much of me’ EP, it’s so rad. The first four songs’ titles, ‘sex’, ‘drugs’, ‘and’, ‘rock + roll’ touch on some clichés of the entertainment industry - do you think these old school ideals about the industry are something that still exist, or are something that have been romanticised over time?
EDEN: Definitely something that has been romanticised over time, I mean, I guess they are lots of things that existed in some sort of fashion, those kind of clichés and shouldn’t exist, but certainly not much anymore. I guess that is what you kind of associated with back in the ‘80s, how crazy the record industry was - at least as far as I’ve seen, it’s not really as much like that anymore.

CDM: I love the line, “I can’t love you when I can’t even love myself” - do you think it’s an important lesson to learn, that often you have to learn to love yourself before you can properly love other people?
EDEN: Yeah definitely, I think so much of how we interact with other people comes with our own expectations of how we are expected to be treated, or if you’re just not okay or insecure about certain things about yourself, kind of often it's just how you relate to other people. It’s important to just be okay with yourself, it’s a difficult thing to get comfortable with or get used to thinking about, but it’s an important aspect of life.

CDM: ‘rock + roll’ is my favourite song on the EP, I love the references to musical legends - Hendrix, The Rolling Stones, Sinatra. Do you think that musical legends of our time exist? It’s so easy to think of older generations’ examples (like the ones you list), but it’s strange to think about what musicians are gonna be legendary when we’re older.
EDEN: Yeah it’s a weird one. I think I read some article or some statistics of Drake, his numbers right now are really similar to… I guess it’s a different world that we have with streaming now and a whole lot of different ways of consuming music than they did back in the day, the scale of him as a brand and as a musician is quite similar to Michael Jackson when he was in his prime, which I thought was really interesting. But also it’s interesting to think, is there ever going to be another Bowie equivalent who was just a pop culture icon for his entire life? I don’t know... it’s hard to say. I’ve never been one to make predictions or try to guess things ahead of time!

 

i just want to live like the ones before : @nkios

A photo posted by EDEN (@iameden) on

CDM: It’s a super nostalgic song too - you sing, “I just wanna live like the ones before.” Do you think that our generation has an inherent sense of nostalgia for previous generations?
EDEN: Yeah, and I mean that line as kind of a trap in that it’s a lot, but that is kind of what the whole song is about - pining for an idea of something other than what it actually was. In saying that, I want to live like it was before, it’s cool we could live in the ‘50s and they all had really good style and stuff - but also while being sexist and racist and a whole bunch of other things that weren’t great. So it’s kind of just that a lot of people tend to idolise things that at least portions of, aren’t really accurate.

CDM: And is the talking at the end of that song a real voice memo of yours? It adds another layer to the song, which makes it so much more relatable, of the girl talking about trying to discover what she wants to do with her life.
EDEN: No, I wish. I like to keep those things a secret, but I can say it’s not me talking unfortunately. That’d be really cool, but…

CDM: How does your songwriting process work?
EDEN: It’s really different for each of the songs, for example 'and' was a song I think I wrote in maybe a day or thereabouts, not very long at all, but then you take a song like ‘drugs’ and that went through multiple versions. ‘drugs’ I wrote almost completely on guitar before I started producing the instrumental for it, ‘and’ was the other way around, I made the instrumental and the lyrics and a cool idea at the same time and maybe that’s why it was quicker. It varies and kind of depends on where the spark of inspiration comes from.

CDM: Do you write your lyrics specifically for the songs, or do you write poems or prose and then evolve them into song-form?
EDEN: Oh no, it’s definitely specifically for the song, although I do really like poetry and stuff, but for me when I’m writing it kind of feels more like I’m uncovering something rather than I’m physically writing something. I don’t really feel like, “Yeah I made this,” it’s more when I finish writing songs, this is how it’s supposed to be and I feel like an archaeologist that has uncovered something and that’s just the way it has always been. It’s very hard for me to explain. <laughs>

CDM: Lyrically, do you have a favourite song that you’ve written?
EDEN: Not really, and that’s a really hard question to answer, it’s like asking which one of your kids is your favourite kid. Not that I have any kids or anything. <laughs> I don’t know... I’m always tempted when people ask me, to say a song that gets the least love because I feel protective about all of them, but if one song is not getting-- not that the songs get hate, but the least popular song, I’m just like, “Guys, pay more attention to this one!”

CDM: The EP explores a variety of instrumentals - piano, guitar, synths. When you’re songwriting, do you know what particular instrument you want to be using for a particular song, or does it happen at random each time?
EDEN: Well, somewhere in between knowing and not knowing, and that’s kind of a non-answer. The ‘i think you think too much of me’ EP, everything is very deliberate. I knew I wanted this song to sound like this, and this song to sound in a different way. It’s not necessarily the instruments that I know I’m definitely going to use, guitar or something, but the overall sound I have a better idea of, I know it’s definitely going to sound this way and I guess that’s something that is really hard to put into words until it actually happens.

CDM: As well as your own work, you’ve produced songs for other people - for example, ‘Heights’ by ATO. How do you find that process differs to your own musical creation process?
EDEN: I like it a lot actually, because it can push you to do things, or explore sides of music or types of ideas that you’re working on that you wouldn’t have thought of yourself. So it depends, because I’ve worked with people in that it’s for them, so everything I make is tailored to what they want for their project, but for example when I work on hip-hop projects-- with ATO it was very much a collaboration of those things, so I’ll give him an instrumental or an idea that he wouldn’t have thought of that he can work off, and he gives me back stuff that I never would have thought of, and kind of bouncing off each other more. It’s quite fun actually. It also allows me to explore a whole other genre and style of music that I wouldn’t be doing myself, I mean I’m not a rapper by any stretch of the imagination. <laughs>

CDM: You had New Zealander Lontalius support you at a couple of the American tour dates, which is rad - we love Eddie! Do you have a favourite song of his?
EDEN: Yes, but I don’t think it’s out yet. But from the album, my favourite song is probably ‘Glow’. ‘Glow’ is a really great song, I love that one.

CDM: At what point did you transition from The Eden Project into EDEN? Was it an obvious transformation for you?
EDEN: Yeah. I mean, I guess in terms of music I was building towards the style that I do now for a while, but then with the actual change of name that was definitely a hard kind of border, like, “This is over, please don’t expect any more big EDM drops in my songs.” I definitely wanted to separate the two - and not in a huge way, just as a definite split. Because I’ve seen other people try to move on from projects and it can get very messy especially when there are songs that were pseudo-hits or just very popular for the old name, but I’ve tried to do it as cleanly as possible.

CDM: When can people expect to hear an EDEN album?
EDEN: I have no idea! I wish I did, but I’ve just been home for maybe three weeks, maybe a little less from tour. I’m just trying to decompress for a while and see what comes from there. Hopefully it’s an album - maybe it’s not an album, maybe it’s an EP, or maybe it’s one song. I’m really eager to just get new music out, so I’m working on a couple ideas. I just wanna let things go where they wanna go - I’m not gonna try to force myself to make an album if it’s not going to be great, I’m very much just enjoying letting things be how they’re supposed to be, and seeing how things work out!

CDM: You put so much thought into the visuals behind your music - through videos, merchandise, and I’ve seen images from your live show which are stunning. Is it important to you to be involved in these aspects of your career? And why do you think that the visual representation of your sound is so important?
EDEN: I guess it’s important to me because up until a year and a little bit, maybe 15 months ago, I didn’t have anybody working with me on this project - so everything was from me. So when you come from having to build up a project from making all the music, all the visuals, all of that side of things, it’s hard to let go of it a little bit - I’m kind of a megalomaniac when it comes to things. I’m very controlling. <laughs> So for me it just feels like it needs to be a certain way and I guess that’s the same for music. In the same way that I feel like I’m discovering something and it just has to be that way, it’s kind of always supposed to be that way, it’s the same for visuals and stuff. At least for me with videos, I can let go of the reigns a little bit and hire/work with people that I love their stuff and I can be like, “You do your thing,” and I’ll have absolute faith that it’s gonna come out in a way that I love - so that’s been a nice thing I’ve been able to do that I haven’t done before. I’m very attached to every aspect of this project - from music to visuals to everything in between, to the live show. I just want to make something that is very me, I don’t know if that sounds self-centred or not but it’s the truth.

CDM: If E.D.E.N. were an acronym, what would each letter stand for?
EDEN: I have no idea! It’s probably something that I’ve thought of before, but it’s a difficult one to work out!

CDM: You’re one of our 'must-know’ artist picks for 2017... who are yours?
EDEN: Definitely Lontalius, this band I love called Microwave, this other group called Hairspray - they just put out a new EP that is really dope, I love that. There’s a lot of people! I could list people forever, all my friends! Listen to my playlist on Spotify, basically, that’s all the stuff you need to listen to.

EDEN’s ‘i think you think too much of me’ EP is out now - click here to purchase.

Watch the ‘sex’ music video below…