EDDINGTON AGAIN: EVERYONE’S MAKING MAGIC
photography by gari askew
For the griots of our ancestors’ time in the motherland, movement was just as important a medium of expression as the sounds from the drum circles. The message finds many ways for itself to be delivered, and L.A. native Eddington Again fully comfortable being a conduit for the message—he’s always had an effortless ability to incorporate dance in his musical projects both past and present. In time for the release of his Sweet EP (on local Newbody Records) and in preparation for his coming full-lengh 9 this summer, we sat down and chatted about the perils of early fame, the joys of Solano Canyon, the beauty of freestyling, and the legend of Tommy the Clown. Eddington Again performs at Resident on Mon., July 30. This interview by Senay Kenfe.
Here we are in Chinatown, Eddington—you say you live nearby.
Eddington Again: Yup, it’s like a Chinatown neighborhood near Elysian Park—Solano Canyon. The thing I like about Solano Canyon in particular is that it’s in the middle of a forest, and that’s my vibe. I catch a lot of my vibes around trees and nature.
What’s on the mood board? When you’re making music?
Eddington Again: Uh, colors—purple is my color. That’s my birth color. Grape royale. Like Prince!
Eddington Again: Yup! [And] I wanna say like all my influences—like Dipset, Death Grips, Clipse, Santigold—I’m like infatuated. More music makes more music for me.
And you’re a very accomplished dancer as well. You got some moves.
Eddington Again: I grew up in the krump era—we was krumping in the streets.
Krumping was very big out here. A lot of people who are not from L.A., they don’t know. I think I might have seen you in a couple videos krumping.
Eddington Again: Probably! I used to dance with Tommy the Clown. And I danced with Tiny Kids Crew a few times, I was good enough, but I was too young. And I was living in the I.E., and everybody in the I.E. was wacker than the people in L.A., so they was eating us up. I’d come up here and try to battle and get my skills up.
But you weren’t successful.
Eddington Again: Nope.
Tommy the Clown was a local legend, the man who took all the kids around, krumping at birthday parties.
Eddington Again: He’s still doing it!
Taste of Soul, last year, his new cast—
Eddington Again: Yup, new generation!
Is that interesting for you to see that lineage? ‘I was doing that at that age.’
Eddington Again: It’s interesting because now it went all the way back around. The moves that we were doing in like 2004, 2003 … they went from that and then evolved to this hyper-technical dancing, and then from then, it went right back to original clown dancing, which is what they’re doing now. They incorporate krump sometimes but for the most part, what they do is just entertain. It’s real simple moves and shit, so it’s like hella interesting. But I still get the same hype when I see it. I turn back into like 16 years old.
How do you incorporate elements of movement into your music? Is there a connection?
Eddington Again: For sure. It just all comes down to the actual instrument and the beat because that’s what I go off of. All of my music, I base if off of the beat that I want to first, and then the shit I write … I write shit just off the top sometimes. It could be considered poetry because there’s no instrumental behind it, but once I find a beat, then all that shit just comes back up. I was dancing before I was recording. The beat is always what inspired me. I hear the beat, and I just go in.
I feel like dancing—I guess in a technical sense they’d call it modern style, but the fluidity of it, it’s very much stream of consciousness-like. Which I feel flows into you, because you are an exceptional freestyler.
Eddington Again: How did you know that?
We may or may not—in yesteryear—have been in a session or two!
Eddington Again: That’s true! For sure, for sure—I forgot about that!
Freestyling is a very big element, here in L.A. especially. How did freestyling help you discover your voice? How did you go from that into the structure of writing songs and lyrics?
Eddington Again: I want to say freestyle helps me to pick out different melodies I’m going to use, like something that’s like catchy to myself. At the same time, I’m really involved in just art and creating in general, so I’m making like pop, catchy, and avant, so I take it like pop—something that reminds me of an older song, something that feels familiar—and then I like stretch it out, like, ‘Oh, this is dope.’ And with free-styling, free-styling is just fun—you can do whatever the fuck you want, just get into and just let it flow, and that gives you the confidence to keep going. And I’m low-key lazy too, so if I don’t feel like writing, I can just freestyle.
And you’ve done that?
Eddington Again: That’s how I made Sweet.
Great record. Let’s talk about it. Where did that come from? Where was that recorded?
Eddington Again: Downtown L.A. I used to live with Dylan from FRIENDZONE, and I just came home from partying one night and I was like, ‘Yo, can I get on the mic?’ I just sang it. And he be doing shit … like every time I freestyled, like if he liked it, he’d fuckin’ make the shit and then release it the next day without telling me. Like I’ll log onto my Facebook and be tagged in some shit. Luckily he’s talented as shit! So he did the same thing with Sweet. I didn’t even care. I was just into it, and he was like ‘This is so good!’ and I went to sleep and the next day he’d finished it!
Do you feel like you have like so many concepts and ideas in your head that sometimes it’s crowded?
Eddington Again: For sure! I feel I have a lot of concepts and ideas and I’m trying to make shit happen at the same time. Like strictly survival, and then it’s getting my music to people so I can survive off music. I feel I have a lot of backed up ideas I can’t execute without money, and that could be my own doing. Like telling myself ‘I can’t do this shit for free’ because people need to get paid, you know what I mean? Which is true! But at the same time, there’s still people out here, if they feel it and they’re inspired, they’re willing to fuck it up.
How do you feel about the revolving door where artists have to be their own manager, their own booking agent, their own publicist, and also create the art?