After collaborating with Rihanna on Stay, Mikky Ekko took time out to create what can only be described as a musical masterpiece. A project so emotive and special, that we defy any listener not to be sucked into his world. Ekko by name, and echo by nature, this project lingers long after listening - not only sonically; but lyrically and intellectually.
Complexity in the most intriguing way, Mikky Ekko's album Time left us with a few questions. We caught up with the man himself in High Street Kensington to talk about the album, concepts of spiritual time and growth, and influences.
Your album is called Time. What can we expect?
It's really diverse. There were three things i wanted to accomplish; keeping it as diverse as the music i love listening to, keeping the songs as vulnerable or as edgy as possible, and that i give people a window into who i am as an artist.
So who are you?
I'm such a sponge. I feed on other people, experiences and everything for inspiration. At the end of the day, it's a blend. I'm the type of singer, where if i fall in love with a voice (just like i fell in love with Victoria Le Grande from Beach House, Santi Gold, etc) i'll wind up emulating them. I see it as learning from masters. That for me is what's important.
What are your views on 'time'? Time is in our opinion, the one thing that gets us all.
That's something i think about all the time. It's just a funny thing. I mean, i don't know how deep we need to get on that right now - i really enjoy talking about that type of thing; but really, time doesn't exist... but we've given it a name and a place. This album is very much the opposite of that. It was 250 songs, shaved down to 12, with a couple of bonuses.
Pressure Pills. We love this track. It sounds like a different vibe from you. Tell us more?
Yes it is. That's why it's not on the American release. It was really hard for me not to put that track on the album. It's a true story and it was really hard for me to write. It took me back, and the production reflects the feeling i felt then. Justin Parker did some, but it was primarily me and Clams. When i hear that song i go back there.
So is music therapeutic for you?
Absolutely. It's really the only pure form of communication that i've got.
When a musician puts something into a track, the listener doesn't always feel the same thing; but they will always feel something. Pressure Pills did this to us.
I love that. I love working with Clams - everything i get to do with him, we have so much fun. We work really hard to make the music feel really visual. I'm a big fan of films... Scarlett Johansson is in this movie called 'Under The Skin', and when i saw that, and the movie was over, i knew i'd seen something i'd never seen before. When i get together with Clams, this is what i'm trying to create. Something that leaves people with that feeling.
Do you know any UK producers, or acts you'd like to work with?
I always love what Epworth does; but i've worked with him - although i'd love to work with him again. I really like Labyrinth, Jamie XX... he's incredible. Everyone who hears Jamie XX, wants to work with him. I think we'd have fun.
What about advice for people who want to sing?
You've got to find the one thing that you can do, that nobody else does. And if you don't know what that is, then you need to create it. All the greatest artists know how to create a place where people can go to get a very specific thing. Thats why people get scared when great artists change up their sound, or when Bob Dylan went electric. The most important thing is growing and evolving and being the best... you have to be better than everyone else at what you do.
So, how do you like to make music? What's your process. Does it start with lyrics, or sounds?
All those things. For me there's no right way. There's only what needs to be said, or what doesn't. The most important thing is a point of inspiration.
Does it take a long time for you?
Sometimes, it really varies. Pressure Pills was half the song in 5 minutes, and then the other half, was about three days. I think that's a pretty long time to write a song. We started it and then came back to it several months later - so i guess in reality it was several months; but i try not to work on a song for more than 2 days. Unless i know it's got something that's really important to say - because i feel like the momentum of the emotion you were feeling can be lost. It's like a fire starting, and you come back to it three days later, and instead of it getting bigger, it's just burnt a lot of shit. It's like getting lost in a forest and not being able to find your way back.
We are Who's Jack Magazine. Do you have a special Jack in your life?
Maybe Jack from Fun/ Bleachers?