By Hannah Burkhart, Contributor
[Photo provided by EKKSTACY]

Editorial content warning: self-harm, attempted suicide

Q&A with Vancouver artist EKKSTACY.

First off, let’s get some background perspective on you as an artist: what encouraged you to launch your music career? How has your life changed since you started making music?

EKKSTACY: I have loved music since I was young, and I grew up in a home that also loved music—especially my dad. It was a stable home. I was a happy person. I wanted to start music when I was 14, but I was too nervous and I hated my voice. I didn’t have many friends either, so I didn’t know who I’d show my songs to. So I kinda just didn’t try. 

Late grade eight, I found SoundCloud and all those artists that were blowing up in 2016, 2017. Then my parents got divorced right before high school started—literally a day before the first day of school. This was the first time I was really sad. At this point, my taste in music was extremely diverse. I’d go from indie, to trap, to metal, back to indie to trap metal and almost everything else. I had become completely obsessed with music. 

Early in high school, I had no real friends. I was the weird kid that didn’t fit in. I was sad about my parents, lonely almost all the time, but I didn’t really show it. I was obnoxious and loud because I didn’t know how to express myself. Slowly over time, I started to make friends. We all skated together; it was fun. 

By grade 11, I had fixed some of the things I hated about myself, and now I had brothers. Shoutout Justice. Shoutout Callum. Things weren’t looking up, but they were fine. But early December, everything changed. I wanted to start doing drugs, so I just started with smoking weed. Just my luck; apparently, I have “drug-induced psychosis.” I lost my mind that night. I went insane, jumped out a window, straight through the glass and tried to kill myself. I lived.

After that, I got diagnosed with PTSD and panic-level anxiety. I had never been worse. I couldn’t sleep; I couldn’t go minutes without flashbacks and dissociation—not to mention the physical pain my body was in after falling 15 feet onto concrete. I needed something to do. So, I finally started music. 

Where are you from? What is the music scene like where you’re from? How do you separate your music from local music? How do you separate you as a person from your hometown?

EKKSTACY: I’m from Vancouver, Canada. I hate it here, but I feel like most people hate where they are from—too many bad memories and unwanted attachments. I don’t fit in with the scene here at all. I don’t want to either; I’m on my own, how I like it. People in my hometown don’t like me and I never liked them. Simply.

Every publication and label likes to assign its own idea of an artist’s genre, but what would you consider your music to be? What separates you from other artists?

EKKSTACY: I have no genre at this point. A year ago, emo trap or trap metal would’ve worked. At this point, I just define my music as “sad.” I’m different from other artists because of my perspective. I’ve been through things most people will never understand, but I express myself in ways a lot of people can relate to. 

My voice is unique, I don’t sound like anyone else and the way I mix my vocals is unique. 

What types of ventures do you pursue outside of music? Any business ventures or hobbies?

EKKSTACY: No. I skate sometimes.  

Your most streamed track on SoundCloud is “Feelings!” with 202.6k plays. When I listen, I hear a sound I have never heard before in your voice. The lyrics indicate that your feelings are on the last straw—at a point of numbness—as if your heart were torn apart by a girl you loved in the past. Why do you believe this track is so popular?

EKKSTACY: Fuck that song.

Your most streamed song on Spotify, with 435k+ streams, is “uncomparable”. From the sound of it, it’s an emo anthem about someone in your life who could never be replaced, yet you can’t treat them the way they deserve. Is this how you would like it to be interpreted? What motivated it? 

EKKSTACY: That’s perfect; I like you. I made that song about my ex-girlfriend. I’d never loved any of my girlfriends. I loved her. Love is hard—love is scary and it’s too much for me to handle. I became obsessive. I kind of self-destructed. That song helped me, though, and it also helped my family. 

There’s a lot more to that song than people understand. I was fucked up when I made that shit. I got home from school, started drinking, cutting, and recorded that. I’ve since quit self-harm. I don’t talk about it in my music anymore, either. It’s too bad of a habit to keep up. 

What is your outlook on your future in the music industry? What are your goals?

EKKSTACY: My future in the music industry is alongside Ryan Carrigan and the rest of the vault. That’s all I’ll say. 

Do you have any favorite collaborators? 

EKKSTACY: Massiimasiio and Herhexx are the only features I have on my page. I don’t do much collaborations anymore. However, I’m in a collective called contracult with pasteldrip, suisside, palmsveneta, ilostmari, killsho, x10derrick and wendelstyzer. We all work together on songs. pastel is probably my favorite to work with.

Your new song, “stupid kids”, dropped Nov. 20. What inspired it? What are the lyrics about?

EKKSTACY: I made that the same day I started to drop snippets of it, which was like Tuesday. In the hook, I said: “I’m feeling so many ways / Don’t love myself anyways / Feel like I’m staying the same / Feel like I’m staying the same.” 

My lyrics usually speak for themselves; I’m simply speaking on how I’m in my head, wondering if I’m good enough—being insecure, wondering what’s next. 

“stupid kids” is available on SoundCloud, Spotify and Apple Music.

Listen here:

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