Ekali has been one of my favorite artists of all time, so I relished the opportunity to catch up with him while on his Crystal Eyes tour. 2018 has been a big year for him, with massive edit packs, huge shows, a full-length album, and a tour to match. He took a huge step as an artist, and has solidified his branding with new gorgeous artwork that has accompanied the “Awakening” mixes and “Crystal Eyes EP.” We got to talk about all of that and more right before his Brooklyn set on the Crystal Eyes tour.
RTT: Hey Ekali, how’s life?
Ekali: Life’s good! Obviously, the tour is all encompassing so I haven’t had a chance to focus on anything other than the tour, but the tour has been really good so I’m happy.
RTT: I’ve noticed that as an artist, you look to balance your hard side with your soft side. On Crystal Eyes, your only hard song is Helios, while the rest of them are softer. Was that intentional?
Ekali: No I don’t really curate things in that manner. With the EP I was just trying to focus on a distinctive mood. For me, summer was ending, I had just been through a breakup, it was a sad time where I was reflecting on my life and I wanted to make the EP reflective of that mood. So whether it’s a hard song or a soft song, throughout the EP you can notice a distinctive mood and distinctive textures, and that’s my only real goal when I’m putting together a project.
RTT: Awakening Radio is something you’ve been talking about lately, what’s the difference between that and the mix series?
Ekali: It’s a bit more laid back than the mixes, and it happens every two weeks so it’s a lot more content I have to spit out. Every two weeks I have to have an hour-long mix, and I thought given this opportunity I could benefit younger artists by putting their music into the mixes. I want to expose people to music they haven’t heard before, and because I have to turn it around so quickly, I’m not as focused on the transitions and making it smooth. I’m just focused on getting younger artists exposed and showing people what I’m listening to. The mix series, on the other hand, is very carefully curated and has specific transitions that I work on.
RTT: What upcoming artists are you looking at?
Ekali: Jaron, who’s opened a bit for me has been amazing. There is a duo from San Diego that remixed my song Helios that go by the name of Fomo, and everything they do is absolutely incredible. There’s another dude I’ve been listening to named Stuca, and he makes amazing deep bass music.
RTT: To quickly change tones, it seems like mental health has been a subject of importance to you lately. Tell me a bit more about your thoughts on the subject and how it’s affected you.
Ekali: It’s important to be able to talk about it, and that people aren’t ashamed of their mental trauma. As you can see from many musicians recently who’ve passed away from addiction, self-abuse, and substance abuse, it’s an epidemic in the music industry. I personally know many musicians who are affected by mental health problems, so it’s important to be able to talk about it and not have it bottled up. I believe it’s something you should address and confront and be ok with other people knowing about it – it’s ok and nothing to be ashamed of.
RTT: Anything else you’d want to add?
Ekali: I’m really enjoying this tour, hope everyone else is enjoying it. I’m excited to get home and work on a full-length album. In between that, I have some collabs, two with 1788-L, and some more with other artists that we’ll sprinkle in. My plan is also to take Crystal Eyes and turn it into something much bigger and much more refined.
Check out pics from the show below, where he went B2B with Illenium, and if you haven’t had the chance to, stream his new EP “Crystal Eyes”
Brooklyn on a Thursday. Monumental show last night. Boundless energy 💎🍃
— 🍃EKALI🍃 (@EkaliMusic) November 2, 2018