Erick the Architect

Authored by

As we delve into the vibrant world of Erick the Architect, the visionary artist whose latest album "I've Never Been Here Before" is his love letter to life after Future Proof, a tremulous relationship, sobriety, newfound love and environments. With an eclectic blend of sounds and influences, Erick seamlessly fuses his love for his Jamaican roots with his experiences in Flatbush, creating a musical tapestry that transcends boundaries. As he opens up about his creative process, his relocation to LA, and the profound influence of his role as an uncle, prepare to journey through the mind of a true innovator in the realm of modern music.

What has life been like since Future Proofing? We spoke of the before, but what has the after been like? 

I think I had to make that project. And I have that mentality to even continue with life, aside from music in itself, just like as a person. So all the values that I established in that project, as I was healing for other people, you know, because of the music, it was healing for me just to accomplish it. since then, I think that I thought I was this pretty advanced spiritual thinker and shit. But now I just feel almost as if, if I didn't make that - I I couldn't make this project. A lot of transformative energy has happened, in the sense of  relationships. And even when I named the project “I’ve Never Been Here Before”  it was mainly because I decided that I was okay with losing things, you know. So sometimes you gain things in life, whether it's a relationship, habit, a person close, there's so much anxiety around, like, losing stuff, like phones, and wallets and keys and shit. And this was the first time that I felt solace in losing things. That's probably because of the Future Proof concept. That's probably because I was already preparing myself for an immense change within myself and also, naturally within the world. 

I mean, on the subject of like, losing things and regaining new life, do you think losing things kind of brings in a lesson? That's also a blessing in a way.

Yeah, I think 100% I think that normalcy is needed in life, but you can't determine what's next. If everything that you're doing is permanent, you feel like nothing can change. You know, the food you eat every day. The people you talk to. All of that can be changed tomorrow. I think even the idea of thinking of there's a possibility that none of this will be here, and not in a morbid way or pessimistic way, but in a realistic way. Realistically, [simialr to the ]music [that has been released lately]-  I don't want to hear that shit. Like but I still want to play Marvin Gaye, I still want to play Tracy Chapman, I still want to play Elton John. I still want to play Amy Winehouse. I still want to play with these artists. I don't want to listen to the shit that's out there - my interest in it has changed a lot. And that's maybe just because of my mentality and what I'm looking for, you know, what the message that I want to hear right now?

What's your approach to music now? I loved your feature on the Jungle album, that was such a fun feature to see. 

It’s crazy but really simple because I work with Lydia who sings in Jungle. She was on Future Proof - she sang in the choir, We didn't use it for that project. -, that might come out, maybe in a deluxe or in the future. But anyway I haven't stopped recording, I'm recording every day.  I’ve already started other projects I’m training myself and not in an exhausting way. But just when you have the spirit, you know, you're in a flow state. I feel like if you have something to say, I think some people may say after they finish the album, they want to chill out, you know, and I do at some point. But as far as the creativeness I've never really taken my foot off the gas. The creative process for me now is a lot different because even in my studio, I finished my project in my living room. So I've moved all my stuff to my living room in my house. so all my recording equipment, I moved, where I'm sitting right now. And I had all the artists come to my living room, instead of my studio, and it had a different energy because it was so open. It's not like, the studio field where you feel like you have to make music, you're pressured somewhat, you know, I’m surrounded by so much musical shit. This allowed me to be just free, and then that energy ended up spilling over into the person that I was working with. 

On the subject of change, you mentioned ‘I’ve Never Been Here Before’ being a massive topic of kind of not knowing where to be - a sense of floating in the air. I know you're an uncle,  and that's a big responsibility. If I'm accurate, I think your nephew might be around 15 or 16 - How do you approach that as a figurehead in your family to the youth?

I'm glad you asked me that. Because, you know, both brothers have children. So I think that my responsibility as an uncle was a great question. My responsibility as an uncle is one thing you know, I'm Uncle Eric, and they are old enough to know what it is that I do. But also don't live in embarrassment. I feel like I can walk with a certain level of pride, and my brothers can use me as an example to say, look at what Eric is doing. I don't smoke weed anymore, I really don't drink hard alcohol. I've been sober pretty much this year so far, but I haven't smoked since like, the beginning of last year., I don't want them to see me indulging in things that I don't do anymore. And if there was a conversation, I feel like I'm good enough to be able to explain to them why something is being done, why they shouldn't do it, and why you should wait to do anything. And I feel like my brothers allowed them to listen to the music because they know there's a deeper message there, you know, and they aspire for their dreams through mine. That makes me work harder. And it makes me feel good to know that one day my nephew can come to my show.

Your Caribbean-American upbringing and the diverse environment that forged his childhood. talk to me more about that. 

I'll take it to my dad, being from Jamaica…even just New York energy.  I live in LA, it's hard to sometimes find the products and the food that you grew up with. So it's hard to find yam and beef patties and shit like that, that you enjoy. But when I see it here, I can identify if it's close to the authenticity that I'm used to, or if it's just wack. So I'm helping other people learn about my culture through exposing whether this is real or not, and that's fun to me. [telling people] : That's not really how sea moss should be consumed, Or I can say: that’s not Irish Moss, bro. Like, Yo, that's not how jerk chicken is made. And then there's just the stuff that I was raised to, like, make sure you clean your house. I made sure to make your bed after you wake up. I have to instill these values into maybe a kid that I have one day and I'm going to take the same shit that my family showed me. Growing up in Flatbush is a melting pot of culture. You know, there's not one kind of Caribbean descent Haitian, Jamaican, Grenadian, like Bayesians everywhere. So, in the summertime, there's all this culture and language and communication and style. artists like Peter Tosh, Bob Marley, and Gregory Isaac -  I dream one day that have that kind of influence where you can rise up and really influence change. That's kind of what I was saying earlier. It's like, those are the artists that I've been listening to because they really made music in a time of peril.[ I think ] how can I apply that to my life? Even if it's not the same genre. - although I do have a dancehall song on my album

Are you enjoying LA? 

I like it because it's a change of pace. Because New York is so fast, right here, over here you can relax. You can be a part of nature quickly drive 10 minutes and go see some mountains in New York, which would take about four hours. 

We spoke of Future-Proof pillars last time, you noted mental health, copyright and ownership, Recycling, diet and carpentry - what are the pillars for 2024

I'm so happy you have that as a reference, because it's like, you know, since we spoke I built my, my whole studio and all that shit. Like, I went to Home Depot, and I bought some wood and a friend of mine had carved out these slices of wood in my garage - that's where I keep my books and equipment - it's cool to just be part of something that you and your friend built together. I will say this, knowing that, that's what I told you and what my mentality was, then, my mentality for this year, really is very simple. It's I'm tired of bullshit art. I'm tired of being quiet. And I think that if this can apply to artists, or myself, or whatever, it doesn't matter what you would choose to do with your life. I feel like this is a time to really put forward your ideas and don't be quiet, be unapologetically yourself. That's what I'm doing this year. I'm tired of it. I'm tired of it. I'm watching so many people limit themselves because of insecurities that only they created.

You’re a pretty suave guy, I saw you in the green on the COLORS - how do you approach your style when it comes to fashion 

I think J. Cole had a line where he said, like, damn, I don't want to misquote the guy - he said he didn't know if he didn't fuck with it clothes like that because he didn't have any money. So like, you know, if you don't have money, can you dress nice? And, you know, I think style is such an important identity. But you know, not being into fashion is still a style. I always use colours and palettes to hone into [my perception]. If somebody doesn't know who I am, what was their what is their perception? And even if it's 10 feet away, or 20 miles away, if they see one color or one identification of me, what is that feeling exude? Before you even click play? I went to school for graphic design - I love that shit. I just, you know, it's how colours and textures play on your innate feelings. 

Any last words?

I worked on this album for five years. So the last time we spoke, this album was being made. There were songs that I had that weren't on Future Proof that I had on my computer when we spoke last time, just shows you how long I've been working on this shit. And I didn't change it. It's not like, Oh man, I need to go back and work on that more, there are at least three or four songs that are the same as when the last time you and I spoke, which means that, you know, timelessness can be achieved by consistency, by doing it every day by treating it, like a job, but also understanding that this is something that you're doing to make a change in the world.