Shaping the Sound of COA

There is no single album that quite matches the level of influence at a forward-thinking level in the realms of pop music this year than ericdoa’s COA. Being the most prominent instance of this coming paradigm shift for the genre, the all-encompassing impact that this album has as it stands today will ring true for the months and years to come as we enter this brand new era.

Of course this status mostly results from the album’s star figure in Eric himself; not a single soul could possibly ignore the masterwork that he put in throughout each and every track without a single miss in sight. His energy was enigmatic; his delivery was entrancing; and his overall musicianship was exuberant and ever-so-perfected as he truly came into his own element as the tried and true pop phenom he was destined to be.

But even Eric could only do so much on his end as a singular presence on the mic. The setting that surrounded him – both physically and inside the music as it came to be – played integral roles in crafting what would end up being this impactful and momentous musical experience. Simply put, if Eric was not surrounded by the immensely talented and equally-prolific figures on production throughout the making of this album, the resulting influence that is has come to display would not just look differently, but would also suffer as a result.

The making of COA was mostly defined by studio sessions that took the ideals of this Internet-based pop scene that Eric is at the forefront of to one of its most physically involved spectacles to this day. No longer were beats being traded over Discord servers and the like; Eric saw himself in the studio working hand-to-hand with the figures that would define this project from a purely instrumental standpoint.

Even though such incredible talents like Delto, Fortuneswan, Grandma, and Skress lent their respective influence on numerous beats here, COA was essentially dictated, crafted, and cemented from an instrumental standpoint by perhaps Eric’s most well-known and closest trio of producers in Glasear, Kimj, and Vvspipes.

These three were responsible – in their own unique manners – for building this unquestionably signature sound that the album comes to exude on a full listen. From its richly dense percussion that goes from the hard-hitting forefront of some tracks to the ideal background of others, to the rough and gritty low-ends that nearly every track here carries with it, and of course the glistening and appealing synth riffs that call back to the entirely pop-centric approach — the trio came together to take their already-defined sounds to the most pristine and spotless place it’s been yet.

As obvious as it may seem now, they accomplished something far more outstanding than a seamless and signature group of beats for Eric to embellish on; these three just so happened to lay the groundwork for what will end up being one of the most defining sounds of pop music’s future, and how fitting is it that such a close-knit group of friends would come to take up this mantle with as much of a natural attitude as they all did.

LL: When Eric first expressed the fact that he wanted to begin work on this album, how did you guys begin work on your own end?

Kimj: I had one of the first tracks to even be considered for the album back in September. That was when I first moved in with Eric and John (Glasear), and once I got settled in I just immediately began looking for beats for the album. Eventually I landed on the first one, and Eric loved it so much after he sped it up, and that’s how “2008” came to be. The work just kept coming in after that, honestly.

Glasear: For me, everything that I wanted on the album had to sound like music that I like to listen to. That’s what I thought about at first, because I knew that I wanted to make stuff that people weren’t expecting for an album like this. It helped a lot that Eric gave us so much creative freedom in terms of what we could do. He allowed us to produce with literally no rules at all, which is so different than producing normally for us because of how other people want things to sound specifically. 

Vvspipes: I just knew that I wanted to make sounds that really had not been out already. Us three really got together to create something super unique from the start. But we really didn’t think about it too much at the time, it was all very natural for us because of how much we’ve worked together. Honestly, the entire thing just came down to us having as much fun as we could with every beat. 

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LL: What did that sense of freedom add to the music itself, especially with a dynamic act like Eric is?

Kimj: Because we were having so much fun together in the studio, that just made the entire album way more fun in itself. The beats that I made for this are easily the best shit I have ever made in such a long time. I think that really helped me level up as a producer by myself, and that’s why everything sounds the way it does. 

Glasear: I think when it comes to the music itself, there’s a lot of psychological factors to it all. To me, the unconscious makes way better music than the conscious. So because we were allowed to be carefree, we really didn’t have to think at all during the process. That helped us make the crazy shit that we did, because subconsciously we listen to a lot of different kinds of music that we were able to tap into without even knowing. And that was all because of the free will that Eric gave us.

Vvspipes: The best music always comes down to how hard you’re really trying. I feel like when you’re trying way too hard and attempting to perfect everything, that’s when a lot gets taken away from the music. Overthinking everything ends up making the beat sound too complicated and just not as good as it would’ve been when you’re just having fun with things and doing it that way. 

LL: The role that the Internet plays in the making of any album today, let alone one in the Internet-based scene you’re all in because of today’s world, is so common and all-encompassing. So how did physically being in the studio for a lot of this process contribute to the final product?

Kimj: It made such a big difference. The amount of amazing songs we made while being all together was insane. It really made the album’s energy so much more real because of how much fun we were all having.

Glasear: Those moments were super uplifting because we were really at the top of our game all together. Like it was really us just not caring about anything other than how crazy the music sounded when it was all coming together. 

Vvspipes: We were just screaming after every single song was finished. Every single track we ran back was insane in that moment and we were just jumping around with how excited we were. I think that definitely helped us make the best music we possibly could at that time. 

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LL: Though Eric plays the main role throughout the album, how do you guys see the impact that you’ve all helped to create with such an immense release?

Kimj: COA is a statement album, and the statement is basically: “here’s what we’re making right now, and we don’t care if you don’t like it today, but you’ll probably end up loving it in a few years.” Because the way things are going now, we want to be the ones known for really coming through with this type of sound. And everything that comes after this will be even better, because it’s all about what the entire album means… that “coming of age” for Eric.

Glasear: I really see this entire album like Lil Peep’s Hellboy in a lot of ways. I think mostly because of how revolutionary things sound and how everyone went as crazy as they could in their roles. It feels like a new wave is coming because of how different things sound, which is cool to think about for me.

Vvspipes: I think the fact that I can listen to anything I did on this album over and over again, and even without the vocals playing a role in it either. Like I really tried to make stuff that stands out completely on its own, and I think that helps all of us play the role of innovating these new sounds too. We never want to make “mainstream” sounds, and that’s why we push each other to be as unique as we can. There has to be a point in music where things start to change, kind of like a paradigm shift in science, and this album is us just starting that shift for the music world.

LL: You guys were very adamant about going against the mainstream in order to craft the setting for this album, but now that it’s being hailed as a sign of pop’s future, how do you explain that contrast?

Kimj: For me personally, nothing is going to stop me from making the kinds of stuff that I do whether it goes mainstream or not. In the end it’s really just about the music and how it sounds. But making this album and seeing the success that it ended up having really made me have fun with music again, and if this can be a living because of that – even if its us doing everything independently – that’s the goal for life. 

Glasear: It goes back to how I really just wanted to make music that I enjoyed listening to, and that came from a lot of not well-known people as well as mainstream artists, but in other genres besides pop. I was going through a bunch of post-hardcore Japanese stuff, to anime soundtracks, to even just Porter Robinson when getting inspiration… all stuff without a lot of pop influence upfront. But then people like Charli XCX, Alice Gas, and Blackwinterwells are also different in ways but still have that mainstream type of sound sometimes. So in the end I wanted to incorporate all of my favorite parts of their music into what I was making here, and I think that takes in both the mainstream and other sides of my influence. 

Vvspipes: I think a lot of that also came from how I was just trying to do different things but still have that appealing sound. I really feel like I came into my own this summer while listening to a bunch of Its2ezzy beats on YouTube, because his stuff is just so different but amazing at the same time. So I kind of took after him and really made sure my loops were inspired by his stuff, and I think that’s where my sound came into play. 

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LL: COA seems like the first mark in a long line of albums that you three will inevitably all work together on in a similar fashion. How do you guys plan on moving forward from here?

Kimj: A lot of what makes this album so unique from our perspective is how we really tried to stray away from things we had all already done up to this point. So because we’re always trying to innovate, that is what we’ll continue to do forever. 

Glasear: We’re already working on new sounds now, so that’s one thing. But when Kimj and I were cooking up recently, I was kind of reflecting on some of the sounds we didn’t get to incorporate on COA, like with the other genre influences we really wanted to add. But that just makes us want to add those influences to what we’re making next even more. 

Vvspipes: We really just want to keep moving forward as we already have, and while we’re doing that, we want to keep setting the standard. I hate when I make the same shit as before, even when it’s just a similar sounding loop to another one I’ve already made. There’s something that always tells me that I have to keep trying new shit out for it to feel meaningful. 

Stream COA below: