As EDEN says, “I think the magic of any art form is that it speaks for something that you can’t otherwise explain.”
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Musicians often use personal experiences to fuel their songwriting and production. And while most artists would love to write a hit that speaks to millions, what happens when a song isn’t interpreted the way the artists initially intended it to be? Jonathon Ng, more commonly known by his stage name EDEN, has no problem with that. The producer, singer-songwriter, and multi-instrumentalist is no stranger to going against the grain. His experimentations with pop, alt-pop, hyper-pop, and electronica have helped give the Irish musician a global following ready to consume his latest musical journey. And that much holds with his recently released latest studio album, ICYMI.
Work began on the LP during the start of the pandemic following a major event that happened in his life the previous year. EDEN allowed himself to simmer in his thoughts, feelings, and emotions, which is how ICYMI ended up becoming a sonic odyssey of loss and life that plays on electronic, R&B, dance beats, alternative pop, and much more.
It’s experimental through and through, but still demonstrates EDEN’s mastery of production and the pen. And while EDEN saw this project as “an attempt to catalog ephemerality”, ICYMI can also be an album that can mean different things to different people. It’s a sonic journey with a preferred path, but one that it’s ok to deviate from, which is what makes this album a true trip.
Following the album’s release, NYLON Manila got the chance to speak with EDEN where he opened up about his new project, dealing with writer’s block, and more. Read on below for the full interview.
How would you describe your style of music?
Weird pop music I think? For a while it got pretty alternative, but I think now I’m really enjoying coming back into a more pop landscape.
What was the inspiration behind ICYMI?
ICYMI came from a point in my life where everything was suddenly completely changed. There were a couple things that happened at the end of 2019 leading into the start of the pandemic in 2020 that really reshaped everything for me.
Out of all the songs of ICYMI, which song was your most favorite to work on? Which one was the hardest?
My favorite to work on was maybe Closer 2 or Waiting Room. Both of those songs came together in such a fun and intuitive way. The hardest was maybe Sci-Fi. I had to restart work on the production of that song maybe three times.
How do you manage to experiment sonically in the album all while making sure it remains thematically cohesive?
I think if you are being yourself honestly then whatever direction the music might explore will always feel like it belongs to you. I am so interested in so many types of music that it really felt natural—the diversity of the album is kind of how I see the world.
You wrote every song on the album. Where do you get the inspiration to write?
For this album a lot of the inspiration came from personal experiences. Because of the pandemic, I just let what I was making breathe. This led to things being continuously written over the course of years, which gave the project an incredible sense of time dilation that I loved.
How do you deal with writer’s block?
It depends. Sometimes you just need to completely switch up your headspace and get away from the work for a while. Other times it helps to keep making music but to focus on something completely different—I like to remix random things for fun as an escape sometimes…or DJ.
ICYMI is your third full-length studio album. How do you make sure that the music still sounds fresh yet retains your classic sounds?
The way I think about music is that it should just reflect the moment—so I don’t try to put too much forethought or design into what the music will end up sounding like. I’ve changed so much from who I was a year, two years, or five years ago, how could the music ever stay the same?
The album deals with a lot of heavy themes. With that being said, has it ever bothered you that people may not get what you are trying to say in your new LP?
Not at all. I think the magic of any art form is that it speaks for something that you can’t otherwise explain. If I could just write down what emotions or ideas I wanted to convey I wouldn’t have to spend years making the music. So, for me, it might mean something and for someone else it might mean something slightly different. It would be so boring if we all listened to it and got the same thing out of it.
If ICYMI will be the first time someone will listen to your music, which song/s on the LP should they listen to first?
Start at the start, end at the end. Or if they really want a crash course, maybe play Closer 2 and Reaching 2.
Which song/s on the album are you excited to perform on your upcoming tour?
I’ve never had something as high energy as Closer 2 before. I can’t wait to play that live.
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