Filipino bedroom producer/singer wunderkid Idris Vicuña, better known to the world as Eyedress, has been causing quite a stir of late, dropping two solid projects, signing with Abeano – a one man operation run by XL’s Imran Ahmed , under the XL Recordings umbrella – and has the music industry waiting with baited breath for his upcoming debut solo album. We had the chance to catch up with the 23 year old for a quick chat. Here’s how it went down.
Hey Idris. So let’s kick things off with a nice cliche question. Where did the Eyedress moniker stem from?
It’s just a pun on my real name, Idris. It’s also how you pronounce my name correctly. Most people don’t get the pronunciation right at first…
Before focusing on music, you tried your hand at a variety of crafts, from graphic design to making clothes, and even tried becoming a director. Tell us a bit about that…
When I was like 16 I began my journey to becoming “someone.” I just didn’t really know who exactly I wanted to be. First I wanted to have my own street wear brand so I would always draw t-shirt designs in my little notebook, eventually I would have some designs made but they weren’t that great… it got really expensive and at the time I was really broke so I started focusing on working for someone else. I started designing some graphics for The Cobra Snake. Did that for a about 2 years… but it didn’t really go anywhere. Two of my designs made it to t shirts and he would send me free shit all the time… he even gave me a camera for all my work, but eventually that ended as I realised I wasn’t happy doing someone else’s work. I also had a meltdown due to drugs and I got into lots of trouble with the cops…
my life was such a mess that I just stopped doing everything for a while. I tried to be a good kid and enrolled myself into this one year film course.
I eventually gave up on that too cuz I fuckin’ hate school and having to deal with my classmates. Also my professors would just talk about themselves the whole time so I just got fucked up again and got into more drugs and fucked up my life more. By that time I was out of school so I started working on a skate video and spent two years doing that… Whilst I was making that it, I was also playing a lot of gigs with my old band Bee Eyes and we kind of got famous over here… then our bassist left for Spain to study, which gave me time to focus on my solo stuff Eyedress and yeah, the rest is history.
What drove you to music?
When I failed my college entrance exam, I realised music and my talents were all I had left so I really had no choice but to pursue that and give it my all. Sounds fuckin’ cheesy but its true. After I failed that exam, I felt like the biggest loser/nobody and I guess it all came out in the Eyedress thing. I’m really glad that happened, even if it sucked at first, it was the push that I needed.
You moved back and forth between Manilla, Arizona and California… Where do you feel more at home and in your element?
In manila. Eyedress started here and most of my defining moments occurred here. The magic is definitely in the Philippines… I think it’s because the environment of my city is so shitty, like once you step out of my village there’s just grimy ass ghetto everywhere and seeing that everyday really inspires me to make art that makes this place more bearable. It’s really a beautiful place though. You go out of town and there’s so much greenery and far out beaches it’s almost surreal… cuz the city is so fucked up and poorly planned, but when you go out of town it all makes sense. There’s so much hope for this place. Before I left for London a few months ago I wanted to give up on this place, but being away from it for a few months helped me realise that all of it was coming from here.
You’ve recently gotten married (bigups), how has that changed your life? And has it affected your music in any way yet?
It’s changed it so much. My music used to have this dark undertone before because I was always so miserable and was doing drugs and getting into dumb shit. But now that I’m married it’s helped me clean my act up and I feel it’s made my music brighter and more blissful… getting rid of the dark undertone and leaving all that in the past. I guess there’s still an element of darkness but it’s not really present in my current situation of being happy.
It’s also helped me focus on writing about the people around me, not just my wife, because I can only write so many love songs, but now I’m writing music about my friends and their lives. It’s really nice.
I think it’s affect on it is a good thing. I won’t be whining about being heartbroken anymore but things are still a bit hard because me and my wife are still long distance. She lives in Tokyo, I live in Manila, and am just working on some paperwork so that we can finally live together… Once all that’s done things should be good. I’m really comfortable around her… I can make anything when she’s in the room and she’s just cool with everything.
So you moving out to Japan with her? Our you both moving to London?
I definitely want to move to Japan. That is the dream I am currently working towards. No plans on moving to London. I love the place but it’s just not for me.
So focusing on your music a little… I heard that for “Nature Trips” you tried to go for a Nite Jewel vibe… What are some of your main influences?
Definitely Nite Jewel mixed with Chromatics and Glass Candy. Love that stuff! Been following those bands since I was in high school. Probably My Bloody Valentine, I love the way Kevin Shields sings. I’m also really inspired by Crass and Rudimentary Peni… a lot of Punk music I grew up on really wears off on my music. I like too many things though. I love old Modest Mouse, Built To Spill, I love Dinosaur Jr and Sonic Youth, I also love Keith Sweat, Josef K and The Fall, Vincent Gallo and Cody Chestnutt. And don’t even get me startded on rap shit! Definitely heavily inspired by Three Six Mafia as far as my beats go… also Flying Lotus and the whole Brainfeeder gang. Love it all.
How would you explain the transition from “Supernatural” to “Hearing Colours”? And what can we expect from your upcoming debut album?
Supernatural is like a preview into my world, and with Hearing Colors you get all of me. You can expect more of this producer singer crap and a guitar album to solidify my being. I’m actually in the middle of it right now so I can’t really say.
I just bought a synthesiser and a guitar so there could be a marriage between the computer generated sounds and those instruments… so it should sound like a lot of things.
Nice. When is that expected to drop?
Should drop early next year.
How would you describe your music in 5 words?
Dreamy, surreal, beautiful, blissful and mystical. NOT ETHEREAL HEHEHE!
Your old man is an animator… One that one, if you could be a cartoon character, who would it be?
I’m actually working on animated video for “My Hologram” so you’ll see who I’m about to be. But really I would want to be Stewie from Family Guy, he makes time machines and comes up with really good insults.
What would be your dream collaboration?
Interesting. Would that be Vincent Gallo the actor/director? or the singer/songwritter? Or just the whole package?
Definitely the whole package! He’s a master of all trades so it would probably be music, then music video slash short film he could even act in it haha!
Where do you see yourself at 40/50 years old?
I see myself with my wife settled down in a nice house with a kid hopefully. I could die before that but let’s hope not. Hopefully I’m sitting on some classics (albums). Hopefully I’ve made a film by then and have a full on brand. I’ll definitely be be a baller!
Last words… uhh I struggle with loving myself so I would like to say that loving yourself is the key to happiness because hating yourself obviously is a miserable state to be in.