While I just recently featured edbl, I've had my eyes set on Ed for a long time. I remember I thought to myself - this dude knows what he's doing and truth be told I am a sucker for properly done and consistent artist branding. That and neo-soul guitar beats.
When we started working with Peyotoff early this year I told him about edbl's music and we spend some time listening, exploring his sound and that's when the idea of having him over for a chat was born.
He recently teamed up with our label mate Kazuki Isogai on their Sessions release and I took this as a sign - I had to move my ass and contact him.
Hi Ed! Lets break the ice and hear the most random non-music fact about yourself?
Hey! My party trick is that I can move my ears up and down (:
How do you describe your sound in a sentence?
Feel-good soulful tracks with hip-hop drums.
I read that you and your wife learnt TikTok when the Pandemic started. Still having fun with that? Do you think it helps artists getting noticed these days?
Haha, that's so crazy that you know that, I wasn’t aware it was public knowledge! I don’t think we’ve done a TikTok dance since the pandemic started to be honest, but it was a great distraction at the time. At the start of last year I gave it a go as an artist but I find it to be very hit and miss, and am not sure I have the patience for it given Instagram is my main platform. It can be great for artists though and I know with consistency and persistence it could be a vibe. Never say never!
I first heard your name in 2019 when you released "I'll Wait" with Kofi Stone - did you expect all this love and growth when you started?
I had absolutely zero expectations when I started releasing music as edbl. I’ve been releasing music under Ed Black - which is more singer-songwriter stuff - for a number of years and it never grew or picked up. I felt like the music I was making as edbl was really strong and hoped that people would dig it but I never dreamt of being in a position where its almost my full-time job.
You have been seriously consistent visually from day 1 - something a lot of artists do not think of in the early days of their music. Can you elaborate on the colours / mystic face concept and how did you manage to stay on course with it (that's usually an issue for some)?
Thank you! I got really lucky with a graphic designer Oliver Jack early on. He was a friend of a friend and I saw some designs he did for my friend which were totally different but really dope. All I did was send him pictures of the featured artists and the music, and he came back with pretty much what you see today! I really love that we’ve continued working together and that as the music has grown, so have the visuals.
What's the biggest thing you hard to sacrifice in the name of making music?
The amazing thing about being an independent artist is that I don’t feel like I have to sacrifice anything. When I started out in the industry I was doing so many bar/wedding gigs singing covers and my weekends were always taken up, so I didn’t get much time to hang out with my girlfriend (now wife!) or friends. Thankfully those days are behind me, at least for now!
You just dropped The edbl x Kazuki Sessions with our label mate Kazuki Isogai - how did you guys connect and bonded, was it over the love of guitar-driven music?
I saw a video on YouTube of Kazuki covering "Nostalgia" which is one of my tracks. I thought he did a stunning job and we got chatting over Instagram. Before long we were sending each other ideas and loops. I think our styles really compliment each other’s musically.
One would say that having 2 very skillful guitarists might be too much, but it worked for you guys, what was the process like. How would you describe the synergy?
I think Kazuki is everything in a guitarist that I am not - I can’t really do the really technical stuff that he does so well. I’m definitely more of a rhythm guitarist so the combination worked really well.
You love collaborating and I appreciate the diversity of your companions along the way. Do you carefully select the people who your work with and what are you looking for in a collaborator? Work ethic? Sound? Skills?
For me its all about an artist/singer's vocal tone and writing. If they have a nice or interesting tone that I can hear on my style of beats and they can write, they’re in for me!
You're about to embark on UK Tour in October. Excited? First time such a big adventure and do you think this will span outside of the island into Europe, so the rest of us can enjoy your music live too?
I am extremely excited to tour with the edbl project. I played my first ever show with the project in March this year after 3 years of being an artist, which was an incredibly special night for me. Prior to getting into production I was very much a live guitarist so to bring the two worlds together across the UK is a dream come true.
I would love to play abroad too! Just waiting for the right offer.
Can we expect edbl beats vol 3 any time soon?
Very good question! I love making beats and enjoy the instrumental side of my project, so I’m sure there’ll be another instrumental release.
Up until recently you released all of your music independently via your label edbl recordings. I actually often give you as example for one of the most successful independent artists nowadays. While I run a label, I still believe that's very very possible! What's your take on independent vs label and did you do anything special to make it so far as independent artist?
That's really kind, thank you. I’m not entirely opposed to the idea of signing to a label if the terms are right but I know quite a few artist’s who’ve had a rough time of it and I’ve had such a great experience being independent so am not in any hurry.
I have to shout out Absolute Label Services - they’ve allowed me to remain an independent artist and make and release music in my own time, and whenever I’ve been ready they’ve helped with release plans, timelines, assets and playlist pitching all of which has been integral to where I am now.
If you can get in the studio with any musician, living or dead, who would that be and why?
Stevie Wonder. The guy is an absolute genius, he can do it all, and just to be in a room with him would be phenomenal.
How do you rest from making/listening to music? There are a few folks that don't ever need to do that, but myself, sometimes is just too much. Do you have non-music hobbies or ways to recharge that creativity flow?
Great question! A huge part of my work/life balance is the hours I work. I try to stick to normal hours (9-5) as best I can and keep weekends free, which means I’m in sync with the rest of the working world and allows me a good amount of time off. Exercise is also a big part of my life, if I go for a run or swim in the morning it sets me up for the day beautifully - I feel energised, happier and ready to go!
What are you listening to at the moment? Some new artists we should be paying attention to?
Recently I’ve been loving knxwledge’s Bandcamp releases, Beau Diako’s Nylon album and a beatmaker called Karriem Riggins. I would also wholeheartedly recommend listening to any of my featured artists’ original projects. They’re all incredible.
Any summer plans or projects you are excited about (besides the tour that is).
I’m playing 4 festivals in Chester, Leeds, London and Norwich which should be loads of fun. This year I’m focusing on shorter-length releases so am currently working on a number of EPs which I hope to get out soon! I’ve really enjoyed working with one artist on a collection of tracks as opposed to just doing singles with artists.