Locating Vulnerability: Che Ecru Interviewed

Boston prodigy on learning to open up through his work...

If you’re an avid SoundCloud user, then you will be more than well acquainted with Boston’s very own hailing prodigy, Che Ecru. Although an enigmatic figure to many, the promising artist who’s best known for his refined pen game, seductive production, and all-round quality artistry has recently graced our soundwaves with the deluxe edition to his latest album entitled, ‘Til Death’.

Since his emergence back in 2015 with key tracks including ‘2 AM’, and ‘Bebe’, Ecru has created a cult-like following that have patrolled his growth over the years. Stumbling across his love for music from a youthful age, he began to pick up various instruments before accidently discovering Ableton and eventually taught himself how to produce. Unlocking a new level of exposure with Drake and Chris Brown’s 2019 hit, ‘No Guidance’; a track that sampled his 2018 release ‘Before I Die’, the ever-growing prodigy unveiled three quality projects in what was referred to as a “terror dome” of a year AKA the pandemic.

Groveling through the “mainstream” sounds that keep the Tik-Tokers of the world functioning, the multi-instrumentalist has carved a lane of his own that stays true to his identity. Referring to his Spotify catalogue as a library of books that he’s still yet to read, Che Ecru is an attentive musician whose enthusiasm for understanding the roots of each and every song lies at the forefront of his craft.

Clash got the opportunity to catch up with Che Ecru over Zoom for a chat about all thing’s music, his creative process, his latest ‘Til Death’ deluxe album and more. Tap in below to see what he had to say!

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I would love to take it back to the beginning with you. Could you talk me through your introduction to music and what it was like growing up in Boston?

It was nothing too complicated. It all just happened by accident! My father was always into a variety of music, and I developed a relationship with music over time because I was an only child. Being at home, what else am I going to do? Over the years, I picked up different instruments and different forms of making music, I think I might have started with guitar, then I ended up trying to DJ, to recording myself, rapping a little bit, making beats, and singing a little. During that time, I picked up the skills that make what I do now possible!

I read that you now live in LA, did you feel that the move was imperative for your career and all-round trajectory?

I think so! It’s liking having somebody telling you it’s snowing outside, you look outside and it’s not really snowing – you can run into the people that you think are there, as seen on TV, which is cool you know? It makes you believe in something. But I moved there so I’d be more available for anything that I needed to do, I’ve always wanted to go back a lot but staying for the next opportunity makes me feel somewhat safe. I’ve learned so much over here. I’ve become such a more well-versed person.

You are known for your production and song-writing – which side of the artistry came first?

Songwriting was the first, I used to write a lot.

When did you start learning production?

I don’t know if I can give you an exact date, but I learnt how to make beats because my friends mom took him to get a birthday present and I was there, I found this thing – I don’t know what it was – that had Ableton on it; I got to make beats all because she got me that random thing.

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Locating Vulnerability: Che Ecru Interviewed

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Are there any artists or producers that have helped influence you over the years?

Travis Scott, for sure! The Weekend, Partynextdoor, this dude named ZanMan too, he’s really good! Even people like Big L, I used to rap, and I think that’s what taught me how to write – a lot of Justin Bieber too!

I’ve found that when you come up in conversation people like to throw around the word “underrated” – would you agree with people that call you that, or do you find it frustrating?

I don’t even care really! If they’re talking about me then that’s cool! Underrated only in a sense that it’s not blown up, I’m not underrated…I’m hardly rated! *laughs* I don’t know how many people would need to give an opinion on me to make me not underrated, you know what I’m saying?

You recently shared the deluxe edition to your ‘Til Death’ album. What’s the meaning behind the title of this project?

It kinda says forever, that album has a sense of attitude and mood to it. I wasn’t too sad; it wasn’t one of my saddest albums you know? It was very me! I have a range of emotions where I’m either happy or I want to get more personal and stuff. That album is really cool and diverse, it shows a couple different sides to me. It was all recorded in the same place too in LA .

How long did it take to complete?

Those songs range over a few months, I want to say maybe two months!

That’s not long at all!

Yeah! It was just a time where I was really locked in at this studio, and I had all the time there to not be distracted. I finished a lot of the songs in a very short amount of time.

Is that how you tend to work best then, in general? Just locking yourself in and banging them all out at once?

Yeah, I work best alone! I don’t really need anybody to help me out for the most part, if I do, it’s cool but it’s a change in process. Even with writing and saying how you feel, it can change the environment if there are different types of people in the room. There are certain things that I wouldn’t say around girls, or certain things that I wouldn’t say around my boys. So, if I’m alone, I can just take shots in the dark!

Sonically, I found this project has a very seductive feel to it. What inspires this almost dark sound when you went to produce these beats?

I think about the listeners sometimes! If a girl is listening to this, how long would she play it for? Even now, to the point where I’m questioning where is the girl playing this? Are you playing this in your bedroom? Is it late? Are you not trying to wake people up? Do I need to make softer beats so it’s not pounding every time you try and listen to it louder? Some of the instrumentals have lighter sounds so it doesn’t shake the room in certain settings. What makes you want to move and feel good? Especially with the females, what is going to empower you? What makes you want to stand up and forget the negatives in your life? I like my music to be sexy. That’s the type of stuff that makes me want to create more, I try and make my music sound really attractive – especially with the lyrics, you’ve probably heard it…

Lyrically, do you find it easy to be vulnerable?

Very, yes! I think that’s one of my strong points.

Do you ever find it daunting know how many people are going to listen to it?

Yes and no. With the releases I put on SoundCloud initially, yes, because there are certain things I’ve said on that core-fan base platform, where I want people that really care to know, rather than just the masses! Overall, I am a very vulnerable person. I like to let my sides be shown, take me for whatever it is. I think it comes across in my music and translates pretty well.

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Locating Vulnerability: Che Ecru Interviewed

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What are your favourite tracks from the album and why?

‘1000000’ is amazing, I love how that song is seamless. I wrote it in such a fashion where it wouldn’t stop flowing! I love that song a lot. ‘Para Ti’ is really cool, I pushed the boundaries with that one. On the deluxe, I really love ‘CANDY’, that song just sounds like a visual experience – at least for me – even though it’s part of an audio file, it doesn’t sound like it came from this year. Credits go to Aaron Bow and Teddy Walton who produced that song. Oh, and ‘36000’ that’s my theme song! (laughs) 

We can’t not talk about the whole Drake and Chris Brown sample on ‘No Guidance’ – how did it all happen?

To be honest with you, I was just at the house one day and I got a phone call telling me that it was going to happen, and I was like oh man ok…! *laughs* I was sampled, I didn’t need to be there, I just needed to receive the news and give it the green light! The highlight moment for me was when we got the file back and I heard Drake singing my lyrics – that’s the moment I realised how real it was. It was insane, I look up to Drake a lot when I was younger, his music and his artistry. Back in high school I used to try and emulate his sound just to learn how to make my own stuff he’s a huge influence, so it was a full circle moment when that happened.

Yeah, it’s huge! It was such a big hit as well!

Yes, 8x Platinum – hopefully getting Diamond soon!

Putting the music aside, what do you like to do for fun? What makes you happy?

At the moment, because I’m so poised into making music, I don’t do too many things. I actually do less, in order to save my time in a way – I’m not going to go rock climbing because I can’t afford time in the hospital in case something goes wrong. I play it safe! I play video games, ride my board around town, and hangout with my friends, I’m like an old man with it honestly. I’m not that exciting! (laughs)

You briefly mentioned earlier that you’re an only child – join the club hah! Would you say you’re introverted at all?

Erm, I have trouble with that word because I don’t know what confirms it or not! I don’t know if it’s my attitude or how I carry myself that makes me introverted, or if it’s because I like my personal space? If I was around my people like myself, I wouldn’t feel so closed off! I don’t think I would be seen as introverted around people who are like minded. But I do see how I could be perceived as introverted!

What’s something in your playlist that supporters wouldn’t expect you to listen to?

There’s this song called by this really cool Japanese girl; I love Little Dragon; I don’t know if they would expect that but in the same breath, I also listen to a lot of house music! You’ve got to love all music if you’re into it man! I have this old Timbaland album that just got put onto platforms recently, I also really love jazz! I tend to study music a lot, I don’t tend to go looking for more. It’s like I have a lot of books and I haven’t read them all yet!

What can we expect to hear next year?

I don’t know! I want to say we’ll see what happens because I don’t have a lot in my plans, but I have been making a lot of new stuff recently. It sounds a lot different – next year is going be a lot of high-quality music, the next calibre! I am trying to improve and stop smoking too, my voice has been improving a lot but still keeping the same integrity. I guess we’ll see!

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‘Til Death’ deluxe edition is out now.

Words: Elle Evans // @elleevans98

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