EDDINGTON AGAIN: EVERYONE’S MAKING MAGIC
photography by gari askew
Eddington Again: I think that makes it harder but at the same time, I think that builds character. And it builds social skills, and it can bring you down. But when you fuck something up and you’re like, ‘Oh, damn—I accomplished that. I really went in and I booked that residency with me and a homie and we packed it out every fucking week!’ … that builds me up. That makes me feel like more of a person, you know? More recently I’ve been like not trying to dwell too much on success, as in like personal accomplishment because I feel like it’s so easy to get caught up in that and like, tell yourself you’re your own productivity—because you’re more than that. It takes away from the art but it also builds the human, you know?
There’s maturity in what you’re saying. Do you feel this comes from your experiences, and the music scene here? Like you were doing Red Bull Sound Select—what did you learn from such a visible showcase, and what comes afterward?
Eddington Again: That’s when I was in my group Oddience. And that shit popped up really weird because I shot the video with my friend Pablo [Balderas]. I met Kevin through Pablo, I shot this video for another project called Oddience, and I linked up with Kevin, and my sister was like struggling—living in Compton, she almost got kidnapped and some shit like that. I was like, ‘Yo, move in my room out here in L.A., and I’m going to move in with this dude that was staying next door.’ So I moved in with him, and she moved out here, and she wasn’t really doing nothing but like smoking weed and hanging out with her ex-boyfriend, so I was like, ‘We about to make a group!’ and we started doing music and we shot a video to it. I didn’t know what to think about it because this was like my second group I was in, and I was just experimenting like I always do. We made the video and the video came out great! I didn’t know how I felt about the songs because I ain’t never really like made music with these people, and I just emailed it out—email blasted my friend who used to work at Interscope as like a runner, so he had all these email addresses. He gave me the email addresses, and then I blasted the video and the next day I got a letter from this dude from the Recommender, which is this blog that like writes shit in London, and I didn’t know that everybody in the industry listened to him. He wrote this long ass thing about how we’re the next up and coming thing! I’m shook, I’m like ‘What the hell?’ and all the emails started coming in—Interscope, Capitol, Universal, it was this whole spiral. They flew us out to New York to meet with some people. I forgot they name cause at the time they mentioned Ariana Grande—this was like in 2012, so it was like those type of people! And I hooked up with people in New York and then we hooked up with this other manager who was managing like Lykke Li, Arcade Fire, Paul McCartney, and we signed with him and from there he got us a deal with Universal, and from then on, we went to SXSW. Red Bull Sound Select hit us up separately—a pal recommended us—and Red Bull Sound Select basically signed us. So they were like booking us for shows and helping us promote our music, and getting us paid, you know? So all that shit happened at the same time. And to me I was overwhelmed, personally, because I didn’t expect that shit to happen—it just happened in like six months.
Eddington Again: It was heavy as shit, but then it lasted like two years. And Red Bull Sound—we ended up getting dropped from the label cause we split with the manager and they didn’t know what to do. They were like, ‘This dude brought you over here and you all dropped him so we’re going to drop you.’ Which is fine because they ended up paying us out. But at the same time, I still didn’t know what the fuck to do, and we still had Red Bull Sound Select, who booked us for Bilal and we wasn’t even ready to do that shit—we just did it because they asked us to, and the crowd was mad rude! Hella rude! They was not feeling us at all. People were, but you know how Black people get, man. If they don’t like that shit, they—“Where Bilal at?’ ‘Do you all get to open for Bilal? Shit, I shoulda gotten to open for Bilal!’ I was like, ‘I cannot believe this shit.’ And I forgot, too, because I’m from here! Ooh, that shit was rough. So anyway! It was like a crash course, honestly, on how the industry works and how to deal with stuff and how to deal with so many people at once … and like try to maintain your sanity, how to stay creative, and stay centered and grounded through at all. That shit was crazy as hell. And then I came and started doing my solo shit. It’s been slow and steady, but I have all this information and knowledge from that experience to where I’m not like too thirsty for anybody because I’m like, ‘I don’t want that shit to take off like that again’ unless it’s real people who are really inspired—not hype.
So you’re appreciative of the pace you’re at right now because it’s a pace that you’re dictating.
Eddington Again: Yeah. I’m down for things to pick up, but up until now, I didn’t have a solid idea as to what Eddington Again was and where it’s going. Now I do.
I feel like the mental pressure of early success, that explosion … do you feel like a lot of young artists are not prepared to deal with the stress?
Eddington Again: Hell yeah! Everybody think they want that shit but it’s not even—you could end up fucked up. If you don’t know what you’re doing, you could end up an alcoholic, you could end up broke, all kinds of shit. It fucks with your confidence, it fucks with your mental health, you get paranoid. They had us going to SXSW—we ain’t never even did a show before! They had us on a plane, flying us out there, for showcases and shit—stupid, drunk, not even knowing what the fuck we doing, sounded horrible, and then they were lying to us when we get off the stage. ‘That was great! That was beautiful!’
But you knew it was trash.
Eddington Again: Hell yeah I knew it was trash! Because I’d just gotten off the plane and I was hungover and drinking again—shit, the DJ was late.
And these are people that outside of your sister, you don’t even really know.
Eddington Again: No, not really. We all just met!
So that jam that connects you all is relatively new. It wasn’t prepared.
Eddington Again: It wasn’t prepared at all. Swear to God, from the first video we dropped, I was like ‘Damn! Well, I guess we a group! I guess we together!’
How do you feel about navigating social media? Now more than ever—obviously, I think you’re talented—but with talent and music and the way it’s marketed and commodified, if it’s packaged in the right way on social media, it will blow up exponentially. And it will hit a certain level that used to take five or ten years of touring.
Eddington Again: I don’t know, man. You got Bhad Bhabie, and there’s people that don’t need to be in the public eye, making the kind of music that they’re making. And then I kinda feel like people just make music to be famous and it’s not about the quality of the music, it’s not about the art, it’s not even about the passion or the purpose, it’s just for the Instagram followers. So you get a lot of artists that kind of like sound alike, and they got little bops—it’s good or whatever, but you know that shit’s not going to last. There’s no substance. Everybody’s saying the same lyrics. And then you got these people who feel like purposeful and passionate about creating magic, and they’re looking at this shit, like, ‘What the fuck is this?’ And people don’t want to talk to you if you ain’t got 15,000 followers … but the people with 15,000 followers got 15,000 followers cause they got some curvy-ass thick girl who’s like thirst-trapping everybody!
Or it’s paid followers.
Eddington Again: Yeah.
So what’s the next move for you?
Eddington Again: I’m working on my album right now. My first album.
What’s it gonna be called?
Eddington Again: 9. I was born nine pounds nine ounces on 9/9/86. So nine is just a recurring number in my life and I figure since it’s my first record, call it 9, make it nine tracks. So I’m going from there. I just dropped a Sweet video, I just dropped a lyric video for ‘Who Knows Today,’ this track I made with these two kids from the Bay Area that this label hooked me up with. They just appreciated my music, and said they don’t want to sign me but want to be involved? I think they just watching me to see if I blow up, which is fine.
That’s how it typically goes. They want to see what can you for yourself before they can do something for you.
Eddington Again: Exactly. And they got some dope acts. And I got a show coming up at Resident on July 30—that’s gonna be dope. I’m just enjoying my community, enjoying my people. I think everyone is doing really dope-ass, really creative, beautiful stuff, and I feel really confident and almost comfortable? I’m still anxious all the time but I feel comfortable with the people who are around me. Everyone’s making magic and I’m happy doing the same.
EDDINGTON AGAIN WITH ALICE TM, JUPITER BLACK AND CALLIE RYAN ON MON., JULY 30, AT RESIDENT, 428 S. HEWITT ST., DOWNTOWN. 8 PM / $10 / 21+. GET TICKETS HERE! EDDINGTON AGAIN’S SWEET EP IS AVAILABLE NOW FROM NEWBODY. LOOK FOR EDDINGTON AGAIN’S 9 LATER THIS YEAR. VISIT EDDINGTON AGAIN AT EDDINGTONAGAIN.BANDCAMP.COM.