“I don’t like to say what I think the songs are about or what they mean to me. I think it is important that people walk away with their own experiences and thoughts about the song without a preconceived story in their head.” -EDEN
The magic is in the mystery for Irish musician Jonathon Ng, aka EDEN. While many of today’s musicians are airing their dirty laundry for all to see, the level-headed twenty-year-old is a much needed breath of fresh air. His songs speak to the human experience without revealing his own and in turn have captured the ears and hearts of the many who flock to his shows. Despite his elusive nature, or perhaps because of it, his EDM-tinged sound has gained a massive following. His 2015 debut album, End Credits, garnered millions of online streams despite it’s lack of promotion and he then sold out his very first US tour.
EDEN’s meteoric rise from bedroom recorder to the big time may seem like it came out of the blue but in fact the singer-songwriter and multi-instrumentalist has quietly been working towards a music career for more than half of his life. At the age of seven, his parents put him in violin lessons and this quickly branched into an aptitude for guitar, piano, drums and songwriting. Since then he’s released countless singles and two albums – the aforementioned End Credits and 2016’s i think you think too much of me. Now he is set to go on the road, including a June stop at much loved NYC festival, Governors Ball.
The Untitled Magazine caught up with EDEN and go the scoop on the method behind his music. Check out the full interview below and don’t miss him on tour this summer.
Untitled Magazine: Can you describe your upbringing in Dublin, and how you become involved with music?
EDEN: My parents put me and my siblings in music classes when we were quite young. I started learning violin at age seven. Even though I hated violin, I found that I was pretty good at music in general so I began to teach myself guitar, piano and drums and that eventually led to writing songs.
UM: Who were some of your early influences?
E: They come from a variety of genres and people – everyone from Michael Jackson to Queen to artists like Slipknot, Skrillex or Hans Zimmer
UM: Your ability to play multiple instruments is quite impressive! Do you think you will ever add additional musicians to your live show or will you remain solo?
E: I’m not sure, it is definitely something I would like to play around with. In the beginning it was a really fun and energetic environment to be in a band but I’m also a control freak with my music. I don’t know if that would be the best situation for my stress levels.
UM: You are only twenty but your music covers quite mature themes, such as sex and drugs, is your songwriting influenced by personal life experiences?
E: Yes, but it is never about one specific thing or moment in time. It’s more complex for me. For instance, it’s not like I had a shitty Monday and wrote about it the very next day. It is more like I had a bunch of shitty days for a while and those would then be combined into one song. The songs draw on the way I feel, think, and all the experiences that I have gone through.
UM: How did you come up with the concept for the video for “drugs?” Can you tell us also what the song means to you?
E: It may seem like a cop out but I don’t like to say what I think the songs are about or what they mean to me. I think it is important that people walk away with their own experiences and thoughts about the song without a preconceived story in their head. I feel that if I explain what I meant in writing the song then it makes the listener’s own interpretation wrong.
UM: How did the VR experience come about with “drugs?”
E: A cool company in the States called SAMO wanted to take the song and create a whole VR experience with spatial audio. We worked together on coming up with the concept and it turned out pretty cool.
UM: There have been many MJ covers but your version of “Billie Jean” is a completely new take on the classic track. What made you decide to re-work that song?
E: That particular song is a song that I have loved to sing since the first time I heard it. I immediately attempted to play it on the piano while I sang along. It was as consistently in the back of my mind all these years, so it just felt right to make a full cover of it.
UM: Are there any other songs you would like to cover?
E: Yes and no. I think there are a lot of beautiful songs that I would love to sing and do a cover of but I’m focused on working on my new music at the moment.
UM: You went from releasing End Credits with no promotion to gaining tons of fans, including, Lorde. How do you feel about how the year has progressed for you?
E: It’s been pretty crazy. The size of the fan base has been a steady build but in terms of what I’ve been able to this year, it has been absolutely astronomical compared to before End Credits. This year I’ve toured twice and have made multiple videos working with other directors and cinematographers. It’s been a wild ride
UM: What can we look out for next from EDEN?
E: Who knows. I’m not even sure yet but I’m excited to work on new music.