In a world, continuously disconnected by a global pandemic and ever-destabilizing modern infrastructure, it’s hard to reconnect. Yet reconnection plays a major role in London-based singer, producer, and multi-instrumentalist EDEN's life and ICYMI proves that there is hope for everyone.
In case you missed it, a phrase that perfectly encapsulates the motion and tribulations the young singer had to endure to get to this moment. The album explores sentiments of loneliness and sheer disillusion with passion and navigation. Yet despite being lost and struggling to find structure in his personal life and interpersonal relationships, the album buoyantly finds purpose through the struggle. There’s a beautiful parallel present throughout the album. The presence of noisy, vigorous industrial production is layered all over the project while being accompanied by hopelessly optimistic and vulnerable lyrics intertwined with lush, soft vocals.
ICYMI is a layered, multi-textured experimental pop art piece that finds its strength in its relatable lyrics and experimentation and comfort with production. The process was largely inspired by the personal events that shaped EDEN's life over the past few years.
The influences can be boiled down to “just life in general,” according to the London creative. "It was basically made throughout the pandemic,” he said. "When the pandemic happened and I moved back to my parent's house so I went back to help out and it was this really 'weird back to square' one kind of feeling."
"I've been running around doing tours, meetings, then suddenly the world stopped and I was back in my childhood room and that song [Call Me Back] came pouring out by the second week of the pandemic and that really kicked off the whole process," he added.
The production on ICYMI proves to be some of EDENs strongest yet, with the influence coming from multiple avenues. “Lot of international music from Latin music to African music,” he stated as a major influence, "there was a long period where I was listening to no music in English. I have a big appetite for art and culture and I’m interested in so many parts of music and art in general and it would feel dishonest to not reflect that."
"It just felt super right and I knew that would be the opener"
What kicks off the album with a strong identity and sets the tone for the emotional and near ambient atmosphere is the intro “A Call." The track is a spoken word poem, appropriate for its retrospect on how disconnected the singer’s grown from reality over the course of a few years. One that sets the stage for a concept, lost in broken relationships and how despite being lost, there is a journey to be had.
"I basically write all the time. I’m always taking stuff down in this never-ending scroll of a note," the singer stated on the origin of the poem. "A Call" was a poem that I wrote that was titled something different originally and there was two things around that time that happened. I was making “Sci-Fi” and the beginning part was a remix to one of my friend's songs and I accidentally played an ambient song," he added. "I accidentally opened Spotify and it turned on some ambient music and I had a drum pattern over the ambient song and I was like ‘what the fuck, this is crazy."
"So Sci-Fi started as an ambient reggaeton song and I’m into a lot of experimental ambient [like Laurel Halo] and lot of songs they’ll have a poem,” he stated. "It just clicked like I should try that as well."
“The ambient sound in the cars playing is from 2018 when I was walking around Berlin super depressed and the poem skips so much time and space in a Christopher Nolan way where you don't realize the time is jumping…it just felt super right and I knew that would be the opener,” he shared.
EDEN's lyricism is reflective of the current emotional status, with most songs detailing personal relationships. He utilizes analogies to pop culture to explore and describe said interpersonal relationships in songs such as “Sci-Fi” and “Modern Warfare.” When it came to how “Modern Warfare” came to be, much like many others, the singer found community through the act of gaming with friends. "It’s not about video games, but it is a joke. I've always had a PlayStation but during the pandemic, for the first five months, it just became a way for 16 of my friends to play and hang out in the evenings. It was all just super casual and fun." He continued: "there was a lot of different versions of this album and “Modern warfare” and “PS1” are synonymous where people associate it with a red herring."
"There’s a lot of fun misdirection. False equivalencies like with the titles, they are misleading but I hope they make more sense after listening to the songs."
“PS1" is the same. It’s about me circling around the MOMA in New York. It started with a guitar and the drum loop at the beginning and it started so simple and now there’s so many layers and things going on. It just really resonated with the time," he said. "It’s shredding the line between alternative pop and r&b for me and it feels nice to verge on a space where I haven’t been to in music and it's nice to have something that reflects that part of me.”
“Sci-Fi” was one of the leading singles for the project and acted as one of the strongest teasers, with a snippet released over a year ago. As one of the strongest tracks of the project, it also displays just how strenuous and trivial the process was.
"I think the album went through a couple variations," EDEN added. "Initially I was working very fast, working my ass off in the beginning of the pandemic and then burnt out and did the completely didn't touch music for a month or two. I kept tweaking it and it got to a point in late 2020 where I shelved everything and started again just to see how that felt and then that felt like a step up."
"And then I was super excited again in 2021 which was a really difficult period where I wasn’t feeling great, the world was still upside down and I was still suffering from seasonal depression and it got to Summer 2021 where I thought ‘let me try something new' and put this on pause and I made "Balling." I was like ‘holy shit yeah’, and then I put the second album in the bin and started again and in all of these evolutions, there were so many songs that kept coming back like “Call Me Back”, which feels like the real centerpiece of the album."
"It took so long but for me, it was a lot of trying to figure out what really is the root of how I feel and whats resonating the most. It was a lot of trial and error which is something I never really indulged in before. There wasn’t really a deadline. Nobody expected anything so I gave myself the time and space."
One of the major themes in ICYMI is reconnection, a topic that is important to EDEN as it relates to reconnecting during a period with a lot of uncertainty.
“At that point, I got back to social media in a SOCIAL way," he stated. “I never really found for, or cared about [social media] but at the start of 2021 so I finally starting using social media socially. I started following friends and people I was hanging out with and finally opening up with and I think Modern Warfare is about that in the sense of taking the means of our time, like social media, and taking what I want from this and not indulging in the shit," he added.
There’s a more nuanced concept behind the name of the project, hidden right before our eyes.
"I always get the title of the album before any music is made and I was sitting on this title since most of 2019," he stated. "It comes from a place of wanting to catalog or archive my life and experiences. In a direct sense, in case you missed it, this happened. In a past, future sense, in case you missed this..the reality of something is multi-faceted and there’s pros and cons to everything and it can be really painful but really beautiful and really euphoric at the same time."
One of the evident themes is the idea of closure. Musically, ICYMI starts with a poem that is an open call to find balance and structure during the madness, and the closer “Reaching 2” brings that finality.
"I think the album closes a really big chapter that was my entire life til now and when it was done, I was already done and already working on something new and there’s some real sense of making peace with myself and the things that led me here," EDEN stated.
"It’s so reassuring for me like it’s okay and the album closes this chapter and makes me feel reborn as cheesy as that sounds."
"I’m already working on the next release and I’m excited on moving forward towards where everything is going to be. It took a lot of revision, a lot of revolution and I think it was a healing and therapeutic process."
As “Reaching 2” brings the album to a glitchy end, the sensation of closure can be found yet mountains away.
Waiting someday to be claimed in a more connected world.