Eklipse: The value of Experience
Photos: @inconstruct _
‘I don’t wanna talk ‘bout you, I don’t wanna talk ‘bout them/ I just wanna talk ‘bout me, man already know it’s the East Manna Man…’ speaks volume as the hook of this song. It tells of the blasé attitude of its writer, who is not afraid of letting people know how he really feels. These lyrics have seeped into his personality and has become a part of his brand, which he relentlessly demonstrates each time he performs.
Something that I became privy to when I went to his East Manna Man EP Launch night hosted at Junction House. This Newham native curated a night that was the true definition of Grime. Complete with an underground venue that was packed with excited listeners and an intense line up of other artists, who definitely embodied the genre. However, the main man was not overshadowed by the other elements of the night and proved why he is a force to be reckoned with. He performed his entire set with a unique and dynamic energy, which made this baritone rapper very memorable. Eklipse has built up a brand around being a straight talker, and what you see with him is what you get. So when I met up with him one late night, I expected nothing but honesty.
So Eklipse, tell me something interesting about you?
Well… I’m a bad influence still. Yeah, that’s me. A bad influence. I don’t even mean to do it! It just happens. I know that because of me, a lot of people’s lives have changed forever. In the sense that I’m known for putting people on to new things. Encouraging them to explore different options and recognise that there’s other ways. Things they may never have done before. But I say bad influence, because if I’m honest, some of these things may not be the best. But at least it gives them the knowledge that your life is yours! And you can do whatever you want with it.
Is that something you practice?
Most definitely, I do whatever I want with my life, especially in relation to the music. I’ve been on this(music) journey since I was around nine. I started writing poetry first and now it’s evolved to this. It gets more exciting as I grow, as the people around me grow and as the culture grows. The transition has definitely been very mad, but very interesting. I wouldn’t change it at all.
Have you learnt anything important along the way?
Definitely! That people are dickheads (laughing). I’ve been doing this music thing for a while. Throughout this journey, I’ve come across people with bad intentions, with some transpiring into negative actions. There’s a lot of people that don’t really respect the music, the process or the art in itself. They just like the excitement of the industry, of going to live gigs, being a part of all that hype and will just use you for that. The notion is that if you have no clout then you will get no attention. Which makes this whole thing very image based. People are becoming very individualistic and only looking out for themselves. Which is not necessarily bad but it’s getting harder to tell who’s real and who’s fake. People are willing to sell out for a shout out and I’m not about that.
So how do you deal with it?
To be honest, that’s why I work a lot with the team now. I’ve got a good manager, DJ (Lue:B) and producers, notably Jon The Dreamer and Earbuds. But there are others that contribute creatively. We have a positive synergy and use that to create good music. Like at the EP launch, it was the team that showed up and made it a live night.
Yes! I definitely felt that there was a strong bond on that stage that night. How do you feel it went?
It was extremely successful because it’s simply the manifestation of hard work. Firstly, I’m just happy that I’ve finally got my music on these platforms. You can actually search my name and see what I’ve created and that’s a mad feeling. On top of that, the performance was exhilarating and I enjoyed the whole thing.
What did you enjoy the most about it?
I think it’s just the fact that everything is in that moment… everything is about that moment. All the rehearsing, the effort put into the organisation, the promotion… all rests on this one moment. Where you’re on stage and you’re proving yourself to people, I love that feeling. It’s a good feeling.
What have you learnt from performing?
It has given me a lot of understanding. Not only in how to perform better but how to use that experience to make music. It gives a lot of foresight in how to write and record because now I’m thinking about how to adapt these songs into live performances. I’m able to have that foresight and it is very valuable.
So do you think you are making a valuable contribution to music?
Hmm, good question. Yes I am.
And what would that be?
Raw, honest lyrics, dark skippy riddims and being the East Manna Man.
That’s all that’s needed.