To describe ericdoa’s last two years as a whirlwind would be an understatement. “I just posted my music on SoundCloud and nobody really expected what happened after that,” the Panamanian-Puerto Rican artist and producer tells NME over Zoom.
What did happen after that was ericdoa’s rapid ascent. Starting off uploading music online at the beginning of the Covid-19 pandemic, Eric quickly found friends in likeminded musicians via the internet, despite living in isolated times.
First emerging as part of the hyperpop and digicore community alongside pals like midwxst, aldn and angelus, last year ericdoa (pronounced as eric d-o-a) then followed in the footsteps of his friend and collaborator glaive to sign a deal with major label Interscope Records. Along the way, he’s also found fans in The Kid Laroi, Trippie Redd, PinkPantheress and Addison Rae.
Now aged 20, ericdoa is heading out on his first headline tour and gearing up to release a new project, which is an encapsulation of two years of experiences with his best friends and collaborators. He explains that this next release was inspired by: “leaving our rooms and going outside, seeing all these beautiful cities and travelling – all of this made it into 14 songs and you can really feel how eager and happy we are,” he says. “You can tell within my voice, the way they made the beat and arranged it. We’re excited as fuck!”
For the latest in NME’s In Conversation series, we spoke to ericdoa about his love of video games and world building, soundtracking Euphoria, evolving beyond hyperpop, and why people should expect the unexpected when it comes to new music. Here’s what we learned.
He almost threw away ‘sad4whattt’, his track that appeared on the Euphoria soundtrack
Last month, Eric’s track ‘sad4whattt’ was featured in hit US television series Euphoria. “We sent through five or six demos [to the Euphoria team] and they sifted through the pack and picked the one that I was literally not going to release,” Eric explains of how the song was selected.
A massive fan of the show (and particularly of creator and showrunner Sam Levinson), Eric adds that he thinks ‘sad4whattt’ worked well in Euphoria “because it’s super high energy… It’s super upbeat, then it takes you right back down, then up again…and that’s what that entire season was!”
New single ‘lifeline’ is about being signed to a major label
Written when he woke up at 5am with a “crazy hook idea”, Eric’s latest single ‘lifeline’ is an autobiographical track. “The way that I wrote ‘lifeline’ is about the whole experience I’ve had for the past year-and-a-half of being signed to a major label,” he says of the tune, which was originally intended to sound like a corny ’00s pop song.
“It’s about how big companies and conglomerates can act as a lifeline to people… Having something large that can help you in your life.” Eric adds that this can be a two-sided coin though, saying: “large things in your life can be a lifeline but who knows if that’s a good or bad thing?”
He made a playable video game to go with ‘lifeline’
The music video for ‘lifeline’ mimics a retro video game, with a tiny version of Eric jumping over a heart monitor beat and getting hit by bats, as he collects coins and loses lives. Fans can even play a version of this game online. “Me and my manager came up with the concept for it, and I sound designed it all, too,” he explains.
This isn’t the first time video games have informed part of the ericdoa world though. In fact, even his name came from a video game: “I was playing Dead Or Alive, which is known as DOA, and I thought ‘ericdoa – that’s hard!’”
“When it comes down to ideas, I’m basing pretty much everything off of a video game,” he adds, citing Skyrim and Fallout among the games that he was obsessed with as a child.
Building an immersive world beyond music is crucial
“I have an obsession with world-building, and I think it’s the most important thing when it comes down to music,” Eric explains. “People really love when there’s something associated with what they hear, when they can really picture something.”
It’s this love of world-building that’s Eric’s USP: “It’s a major keypoint to my music, because I have this whole world and lore behind it…lore is very important when you’re an artist because it helps people to interact. It’s something tangible that fans can see and read into.”
His upcoming project is going to be unexpected
Eric recently revealed on Twitter that his next project is complete, and he warns fans to expect the unexpected with it. “You’re not going to know what genre it is at first,” he says. “I want it to be a conclusion that people can make, rather than someone thinking ‘oh, I know what’s coming next’” he adds.
“It’s one giant question mark, and that’s what I want with music, for people to not be able to expect what’s going to happen on it; because if they did, that would be horrible!”
ericdoa’s new single ‘lifeline’ is out now on Interscope