By Toby Levi
New York-based band Ed From Space is electrifying and fresh. Led by Peruvian singer-songwriter Eduardo Kirschbaum, the band has created a sound unlike any other. Their debut EP is inventive, yet captivating. We caught up with Ed before the release gig for their latest EP, Yellow Nights.
HONEYSUCKLE: Your last EP From Space, Butterflies! was a solo project. How has the dynamic changed since transitioning into this new band format?
EDUARDO KIRSCHBAUM: There is more collaboration in terms of ideas now. I am the bandleader, but there is a lot more input from the other members. I wrote most of the music, but the bass player wrote some of his parts, as well as the drummer, who is very free in his style. We’ve also got a song with the keyboardist from the Lemon Twigs, my friend Tomasso. All of the songs were constructed together, whether playing them live or during a recording session. The only song I composed 100% by myself was “Pretty Eyes.”
The production was slightly different this time.
I made [From Space,] Butterflies! after my first semester at Berklee. It was during the break and I was in my home country of Peru. The EP was produced by the great David Chang, one of the best producers in Lima. I wrote the songs, but he wrote many of the parts, hired the musicians, booked the studio, and handled the logistics.
Having had that experience, I wanted to fully produce my next EP. I wanted full control over the music. I knew I needed a good team because I couldn’t do everything by myself—I’d lose my mind. Saguiv (Assassins of Youth) worked on the EP as the engineer and we recorded everything in his basement. He helped me find the adequate sound for each instrument. I did record the vocals myself, which is something I’ll never do again. I need someone else to be running the session, to press the button; that way I can concentrate on singing. Some of the songs came from my home studio, while others already had a structure because we had played them live several times before.
I really wanted to leave my ego on the sideline to be able to work with the input of those people involved. My goal was to serve the music as best as I could.
It’s been a year since you left Berklee and landed in New York. Has this time been liberating for you as a musician?
One hundred percent. Life is completely different. When you have assignments, when you’re forced to compose a song, you have specific academic parameters. You may think you’re doing your best to get out of the box, but it’s not really freedom. When I was finally done with school, I felt I could really write what I wanted, without rules. Just letting it flow out. It’s liberating. Obviously, my growth as a musician is a direct result of having gone to school, but it wasn’t until leaving that I could taste the fruits of my labor. It sucked to be trapped in the learning aspect of school when all I wanted to do was create.
Who were your influences when creating Yellow Nights? What were you listening to at the time?
I was really inspired by the Neo-soul vibe of D’Angelo and Hiatus Kaiyote. Hiatus especially for the crazy atmospheres they construct. For the solos, I was going for a David Gilmour Pink Floyd style. I’m not sure why, since I had not listened to them actively in a long time. There’s also quite a bit of Radiohead in the crazy destructive moments. Like in the fourth song “I’ll be Getting,” which borrows from Vulfpeck.
To answer your second question, I was so intensively focused on the EP that I couldn’t listen to much of anything; the influences were in my mind before starting production. Actually, when the seeds for the songs initially started around three years ago, I was listening to Matt Corby’s Telluric. That album inspired me to kickstart the EP.
How much do you value being able to produce yourself and freely release music?
It’s amazing. Nowadays it’s what everyone is doing. Nevertheless, it’s a different sound. Ideally, I wanted a studio sound, which is super clean, but I really think we achieved a great sound given the circumstances. Obviously, as an independent artist, I have to do the best that I can with what I’ve got. Sometimes things didn’t turn out as good as I would have liked, but that’s part of being independent. It depends on the sound you need to make it work. Some songs require lots of expensive gear, while others may sound amazing with just a laptop mic. Sometimes you can choose between the two. You must do what the song needs.
This is your first project living in NYC. How did the city influence your music?
Our band is now completely New York-based. We’ve been playing around venues in the city and really absorbing the mist. The city absolutely influenced the themes of the EP. There are several buildings on the cover with something different happening in each. I wrote almost all of the lyrics from my balcony, smoking cigarettes and watching the city, the people, the windows. The different stories all happening at once, the craziness of events all happening at once. It’s like inside of everyone there is this building with different windows where different things happen—the many facets of life and our interpretations of other people’s relationships as well as our own. It’s a trip to the endless possibilities within yourself, micro-universes of sorts. Each song is one of these micro-universes. In the song “Rooms,” for example, the lyrics are like an omnipresent being. It’s completely influenced by New York and the physical movement and events that surround you.
Your music has evolved quite a bit since From Space, Butterflies!, which was emotionally intense and atmospheric at times. Have you purposely strayed from that or was there a natural evolution into what your music is now?
A little of both. On the one side, I felt that people’s access to that music was a bit limited because it required a strong emotional investment. It was a lot of work for the listeners. It was something I needed to express, to release from my mind. But after I was done with that, I wanted to balance it towards having fun. Still connecting with ourselves, but through something more upbeat and engaging. Music that you can vibe to without having to pay attention to the lyrics, but that still has a meaningful message if you want to hear it. But it is an evolution from the previous EP in a way; this one borrows some ideas, sound, production factors.
You always sing in English even though you grew up in Peru. Do you have any plans of making music in Spanish anytime soon?
Well, most of the music I listen to has always been in English, so I have organically emulated it through my own music. It’s all I have absorbed through music, almost all of it. Recently, I have opened myself up to other languages in music a little more. But it’s more natural for me to write lyrics in English. I think that in a weird way I am forcing myself when I sing in Spanish. Perhaps I will develop my Spanish singing in the future. Who knows?
Would you like to tour Peru at some point?
For now, I’m in New York, but I would absolutely love to play there. It’s a different audience. I played in Mexico a while back and it was epic. I would love to go back there. The people are all in.
You can check out Ed From Space’s new EP “Yellow Nights” on all streaming services, and you can see more at the following sites:
LINK TO EP: