UPDATED (6/17, 3pm EST): Eyukaliptus’s new album has dropped. Check it out now.
Set to graduate high school in just a few weeks, Ithaca-based musician/producer/singer/prodigy, Eyukaliptus, is busy perfecting his craft. The eighteen year-old is incredibly playful (a video of him running into a field was used to promote the new album), yet he embodies a profound calmness, which manifests in his music. When I ask him who he makes the music for he says, “myself,” but this doesn’t mean he isn’t generous with it–his Soundcloud is filled with songs he describes as hip hop, that he has produced by himself and in collaboration with others, exhibiting prolificacy that both delights his fans and leaves them hungering for more.
I’ve been one of those fans for more than a year, getting hooked on his shorter projects and singles that feature a lush combination of deep bass, chilling synths, and complex piano riffs. Within hours, Eyukaliptus will release a project unlike anything he’s shared before. Self-titled, “Eyukaliptus” is a debut album that builds upon his pre-established style, adding his smooth melodic vocals (reminiscent of Frank Ocean’s falsetto) into the mix, creating an element of sonic depth and lyrical meaning.
In this debut, Eyukaliptus takes his music into a different space, reflecting growth, change and hard work. The production is stellar and the passion is tangible. I had a chance to ask Eyukaliptus a bit about the album and what he’s got in store for his future.
ReadCONTRA: Do you remember the first time you made a beat?
Eyukaliptus: I remember playing my first beat for my music class in middle school. It was pretty funny. I don’t remember making it, though.
How has growing up in Ithaca influenced your music?
Ithaca is super wavey. The concentration of hippies is ridiculous. Definitely influences my music. If you’ve been to Ithaca, you’d understand.
What is your creative process like? When do you get the most work done?
I just lock myself in my room for a few hours, and usually come out with something interesting.
Your single, “Winstons” has so much depth- from the vinyl crackle to the synthie melody to your voice floating above it all. I got so wrapped up in the sound, what I didn’t realize until I saw the artwork that went along with it, is that you’re singing about Winston cigarettes. What do you try to convey in your music? Is there a question you’re trying to answer?
Winstons is basically an anti-cigarette song. For all of the songs on the album, including Winstons, I was just feeling some type of way. That’s usually why I write music.
What sets this album apart from your previous stuff?
I just started recording my singing, which is cool. It took me a while to get good at it, and I def plan on getting better.
This is incredible-do you have any favorites?
D’angelo and Bilal are the best.
Yeah, one of my favorite aspects of your music is your ability to put together a tight production while simultaneously killing it with the singing; what’s your favorite part about making music?
Definitely just going with the flow. I’m really pumped about the singing because I’ve been making beats for a super long time and it feels good to do something different. I also just love playing instruments and doing anything musical for some reason…I guess I was just born that way.
Speaking of going with the flow…the first time I ever saw you you were doing an eerie solo set with just your keyboard. You were sitting cross legged on a pillow on the floor. Can you tell me about your approach to performance?
I definitely focus on making my set adjustable so I can body whatever vibe I might feel. With that show I was definitely feeling the pillow vibe!
You’re graduating from high school in just a few weeks. How is this transition affecting your music and how you see your future?
I haven’t made too many tunes besides the album. I’ve just been caught up in high school life. I’m really excited to focus on music again in the very near future.
What’s your favorite track on the new album?
Be sure to check out Eyukaliptus, dropping soon. In the meantime, follow him on Facebook and Twitter.
Jesse Rolfe contributed to reporting; image courtesy of Gnatas.