Q+A: 5 Minutes with eevee and cliffe

eevee and cliffe have us under their hypnotic embrace with their latest collaborative single ‘villain’ via the imprint Secret Souls which is run by eevee. Both remarkable sounds, this latest release crosses between genres and the result is stunning. ‘villain’ speaks on regret and follows the narrative of feeling horrible about hurting the ones you didn’t intend to. Heartbreaking and acoustically rich, this latest track will attract the most closed-off of minds with its spellbinding production. This latest track follows from their previous single ‘so easy’, and showcases their many sides as creatives and collaborators. We had the pleasure of asking cliffe and eevee a few questions about their craft and upcoming projects in this exclusive interview.

Stream/ download: ‘villain’

Set the tone for us. Why the arts?

eevee: From the day I started making music I was immediately drawn to it, it felt like a part of me. Like I get lost for a second, forget everything around me and I’m in another world. 

cliffe: It’s the only place I completely let out what’s in my head. The people closest to me know how private I am about my emotions, but when I’m in the moment with a song, I let go of all reservations. It’s the only form that feels right to me.

The lyrics speak about regret and remorse. Do you believe forgiveness should always be considered or given?

cliffe: I believe forgiveness should be considered if you feel it’ll help release your anger, but it’s not something anyone is entitled to, ever. Anyone can decide what’s unforgivable to them, and healing has nothing to do with that.

Which comes first when you’re producing – the sound or the idea?

eevee: In the past it was mainly the sounds, like a sample or a drum sound that started my ideas for my music. Lately, I’ve been beginning more with my ideas and concepts, like a certain mood or emotion I want my beat in.

cliffe: The sound is what moves me and inspires the words that come next. The lyrics never come first. What exactly “moves me” is a matter of pure feeling.

Does your material feature any collaborations?

eevee: Yes, I have many collaborations with cliffe, we made an album together. I have a collab with A L E X, Brothel and a few with Divine.  Since 2021, I like to work more with vocalists on my tracks.

cliffe: Of course. A ton of collaborations with eevee for the past year. I’ve also worked with Odelia Rei in the past on ‘cloud9’ and ‘absence’ (which was the first song showcasing my vocals). Beyond that, I’ve sampled my good friend Sleeked, and done verses for Phocks on ‘blew it’ and ringbo on ‘paradise’. A lot of my work also features samples by Timmy Holiday (‘how’, ‘nuisance’, ‘spoke too soon’ and more). An extremely talented instrumentalist. I’ve been following them for almost two years now.

What’s on your current playlist?

eevee: erén – ‘tired of hiding’ and ‘Pretty Girls I Don’t Know Anymore’ by 18 Carat Affair.

cliffe: Skinshape, Sorry, Radiohead, Brent Faiyaz, Knxwledge, Haitus Kaiyote, Lana Del Rey,  and The Neighbourhood to name a few.

Tell us about the chemistry you have with your fans on stage.

eevee: Since covid, I haven’t had many shows but it’s one of my favorite things to do! I love seeing my fans, talking to them,  and seeing how they react to my music. There’s so much good energy in the room. I make my music in my bedroom, so performing and seeing them in person is the best feeling there is.

cliffe: I’ve never performed!

What techniques do you experiment with to get your original sound?

eevee: Sometimes I use plug-ins in ways they are not supposed to be used, but I end up creating pretty unique sounds and effects with that. It’s one of my favourite things to do!

cliffe: Nothing complicated, as it’s more about feeling than anything else. Layering drums, vinyl effects, heavy compression, and lyrics that stick around after the song ends.

Take us through a day in the recording studio.

eevee: I’m a full-time mom, so I’ll describe a day when I take him to daycare. We wake up and I get Isaiah ready for daycare. After I take him there, I go to my yoga classes. When I get home I start making music and usually work on it for two hours and then I have a late breakfast. After breakfast, I keep making music until the end of the afternoon. I pick up Isaiah from daycare and have some time for us. When Isaiah sleeps I make more music until I get tired.

cliffe: If I’m self-producing, then I’m digging for samples. Once I hear something that catches my attention I hit the ground running; Cut it up, lay some drums, mumble some melodies. Write the first word, then next  I’ll “rehearse” the lyrics by just singing them for enjoyment before I hit record, and that energy comes through in the end. I tend to finish my songwriting on the spot, only revisiting and editing words on rare occasions. 

When I’m writing on eevee’s beats, I’m immediately trying to find a pocket when I press play and ideas flood my brain. That process tends to happen extremely fast — eevee can attest to that. The middle of the night is where my writing thrives the most I think. But songs like ‘ur my weakness’ happened at like 9AM when I laid down three ideas right after a coffee.

Was there a specific moment in your life where you thought, “this is what I want to do”?

eevee: When I started making music it was such an amazing feeling! It changed my life.

cliffe: Funny enough, it was when I saw eevee live in concert. I only had a mixtape on SoundCloud at this point that my friends have heard, and nothing more. It was that summer that I dropped my first beat tape isolation everywhere and the track ‘muse’ caught on. When I saw what could be accomplished in music, I knew I had to keep my focus on it for good.

What do you keep close by while you’re playing a set?

eevee: My drink, I have to stay hydrated

cliffe: My pillow. I’ve only dreamed of performing.

Any emerging artists on your radar?

eevee: I love Orion Sun, she did a great performance for the channel COLORS. I saw that she will be touring soon and passing through Amsterdam, I will definitely go to her show. She’s been blowing up lately

cliffe: ivri. What she and tomcbumpz are bringing to music deserves far more attention.

What gets your creative juices flowing?

eevee: Mornings always get me inspired because I know I have the best focus at this time of the day, I can go into a flow state almost instantly when I open Ableton. My matcha inspires me for some reason, it’s the thought that it gives me focus, haha.

cliffe: Coffee and a dope beat. That’s all I’ll ever need. Once I figure out a melody that feels good, I’m more excited to see it through than almost any other moment in my life.

Take us through your collection of gear, tech or software that accompanies your creative expression.

eevee: I used FL11/20, last year I switched to Ableton live and I love it! I recently bought an MPC live, I’m still learning how to use it but I also use it as a drum machine with Ableton. That’s what I use most at the moment; I have a sp404, sp555 and some other hardware but they kinda get dusty in my closet. I need to get them out soon!

cliffe: A windows gaming laptop, a couple of speakers, Focusrite 2i2 interface & mic. Nothing fancy at all over here.

Any side projects you’re working on?

eevee: I don’t have side projects.

cliffe: RAADFORD. A character/alter-ego I started in late 2020 in the phonk scene. The total opposite of cliffe’s energy and lyrics. You might not even recognize my voice.

HASHIRIYA – a beatmaker in that same genre.

Pickurp0ison – a hyper pop project I dabbled into.

This latest release takes a melancholic direction compared to your previous single ‘so easy’. Was this always the intention? 

cliffe: No. It just happened that way.

How have you refined your craft since you entered the industry?

eevee: I’ve used different kinds of hardware and DAWs to fine-tune my sound. I also like stuck plugins, sometimes it’s just simplicity that’s needed.

cliffe: I’m more intentional with my words, toplines, and rhyme schemes than before through repetition.I’ve done a lot of writing drills as well. For ten minutes I think of one word, then a bunch of words related to that word, and do lists under each of those words of rhymes. This gives me a ton of directions to go within the same overall mood/tone/idea.

Breakdown the news for us: what can we expect from you this year?

eevee: I have a lot of big projects coming out this year, it makes me so happy to be able to share this with all of you. I’ll name a few; an EP with Cliffe, an album with sweeep and a solo EP.

cliffe: More singles with eevee leading up to an EP at the end of 2022, and singles of my own in between releases. Beyond that, I have another song with ariose, and I’m always making instrumentals that may end up as collabs, my own songs, or standalone beats.

Famous last words?

eevee: Stay close to yourself. By that I mean, listen to your intuition, allow yourself to dream, and to think big. Try more things in momentum and see what happens. Let the creative juices flow my darling. ♡

cliffe: No matter what happens now, you shouldn’t be afraid, because I know today has been the most perfect day I’ve ever seen.

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     Image credit: Terence munzemba