Idris Vacuña aka Eyedress is is a Filipino musician and producer based in Manila. Born in Quezon City in 1990, Vacuña moved to the United States at the age of five, he grew up in Phoenix Arizona and San Clemente California, when he was 15 his family relocated back to Manila. He released his first record in 2014 titled ‘Hearing Colours’, his second album ‘Shapeshifter’ came out in 2015. His latest album entitled 'Manila Ice' was released on 2 June 2017 by London-based record label Lex Records. The album is entirely produced, played and written by Vacuña.
"The album cover represents the chaos that is Manila.
It's just really chaotic and messy but also really bright
and colourful and laid back at the same time."
Manila Ice has been described as a celebration of the Manila music scene. Can you tell us about the collaborations on the record and a little more about what it’s like to be a musician in Manila right now. What’s the scene like?
The collaborations on Manila Ice are all different in a way. I like all styles of music and I felt the artists I chose to collaborate with all represented a different part of the music scene. Some artists were into the indie guitar thing, while some were more on the R&B and hip-hop tip, then there's the jazzy classically trained type. I just wanted to showcase how I can get down with all the different types of artists and their scenes and unify everyone through our love for expressing ourselves and creating what we love.
You scored Raya Martin’s film How to Disappear Completely. How did this come about? Tell is about your relationship with film and the visual/creative thought process behind your own music videos?
Raya just hit me up and asked me if I had any beats he could use for his film so he came over one day and I played him all the beats I had at the moment and he chose what he felt fit the film. At the time I was living at my parents’ house and doing lots of psychedelics so that's what the music was inspired by. As for my music videos, I usually make them with my best friend and he just thinks of stuff on the spot we usually just try to look for trippy locations and come up with ideas for shots on the spot. It's all about just going out there and doing it and not really thinking too much.
You grew up in the US and lived in London for a while before moving back to The Philippines. How has this shaped your music? You described the album cover for Manila Ice as a ‘representation of everyday life in Manila’. Tell us about more about the artwork.
I think growing up in America helped me discover more subcultures like the punk scene and more underground DIY indie scenes and skateboarding also helped me appreciate all the different kinds of music as skaters were always diverse and more open to a wider range of genres and movements. Living in London made me grow up because it was the first time I was on my own. I've lived with my parents all my life so London really helped me discover who I was without people telling me how I should be, I felt free being there and that anything was possible. The album cover represents the chaos that is Manila. It's just really chaotic and messy but also really bright and colourful and laid back at the same time.
“London really helped me discover who
I was without people telling me how I should
be, I felt free being there and that
anything was possible.”
The new record is playfully quaint yet melancholy with a hazy shoegaze vibe. What inspired the record – tell us about the journey to making it.
I just looked to the past for the most part. I just tried to make something that sounded old with modern day techniques. I sample myself a lot so sometimes I'll just record myself playing then cut up the best parts. I don't really think too hard about what I'm gonna do. I'll like create the skeleton which is usually like some chords and a beat then I'll add more layers till it feels done. As for lyrics I just sang about personal shit I was going through at the time. I tried to be as vulnerable and honest as possible. But yeah now that I look back at it I was just being angsty and going through all the emotions people experience in their 20's. I also had a baby amidst making this album so you could say I really got my priorities in check and matured a bit while making this album.
What are you working on right now and what can we look forward to?
Working on a new album been filming a lot of short films/music videos for different side projects including Eyedress, my main thing, but yeah there's that and I put my side projects out on my record/clothing label Babe Slayer. It's just a platform for me to put out stuff with local artists all things that aren't necessarily Eyedress or wanted by my label.
What are you listening to right now, and what PHL artists should we look out for?
I been listening to Tay-K, Chris Cohen, Infinite Bisous, and Cigarettes After Sex a lot. Look out for Jess Connelly's new mixtape and B.P. Valenzuela's new album. Also my homie rhxanders is gonna be releasing some new music soon and OWFUCK gang are always dropping really good trap bangers.
“I just looked to the past for the most part.
I just tried to make something that sounded
old with modern day techniques.”
Manila Ice is out now. A fluorescent green vinyl limited to 1000 copies is available via Lex Records.