EKOH is not your average artist, he’s here to stand out amongst the rest.
Hailing from Las Vegas, the rising star prides himself in his unique, distinct, sound, blending the realms of alternative and hip-hop into one melting pot. With his versatility to switch between singing, songwriting, and rapping, EKOH is best known for his captivating hooks, comic book references, and undeniable flow.
Speaking on his sound, EKOH states it’s “a little outside the normal realm. We do a thing called Heart Hop, it’s what I branded. It’s a more genuine, heartfelt take on a lot of the more mainstream-sounding music. I keep everything very close to heart and very truthful to my own life, my experiences, things like that.”
And not for nothing, EKOH has been through hell in back, from struggles with substance abuse to issues within the family… but thankfully music would be his saving grace. Since 2017, EKOH has been building his fanbase independently, creating endearing bodies of work that evoke emotion and feelings from anyone who listens. Most recently, he unleashed his new project titled The D3tour, the latest installment of the album series (The Detour in 2018 and The De2our in 2020).
AllHipHop: What was it like growing up in Vegas?
EKOH: Vegas is a weird place to grow up in. Most people that grow up there, drugs are really big. Opiates are really big in Vegas, a lot of people got locked up in that. I was caught up in that for a little while, but the music scene in Vegas has always been tough. We don’t really have community in Vegas, like a lot of other cities have. If you go to LA, it has a big community, especially in music. Places like Denver, New York, spots like that, but Vegas never really had never had a professional sports team. We’re not used to rallying around one thing. We’re not used to having community, especially in music. It’s been building up in the last decade especially, but for a long time it was difficult.
AllHipHop: Biggest influences coming up?
EKOH: Growing up, Tupac was my #1. I was really into more underground s###, so a lot of Jedi Mind Tricks, Atmosphere, Murs, people like that.
AllHipHop: What’s your journey with substance abuse? How did music help?
EKOH: I went to rehab when I was 18. I got into drugs real early. It took a lot to get me into rehab, but once I finally got in there, I was lucky enough where I stayed sober since going in. The music was always a big deal therapeutic-wise, to express yourself and find a place to put all that energy into. Those feelings you have, or give back to other people that are in the same position as you were. Self-expression is incredibly important period. When it comes to addiction, it’s a lifelong thing and the recovery has to match that. I try and fit as much of that in my music as I can. Even if it’s not on the nose, it’s at least somewhere I can put my energy and my time, instead of into something that’s going to take me back.
AllHipHop: How’d you get your name, EKOH?
EKOH: The definition of an echo is evidence of sound traveling. I always wanted whatever I did, my sound, my music to travel as far as possible. Reach as many people as possible.
AllHipHop: The D3tour album out now, how are you feeling?
EKOH: I’m feeling good. I’m feeling relieved. It’s always a relief to put out an album. Once it’s out and your fans receive it well, there’s a huge weight off the shoulders. I’m glad it’s finally out, I’m glad people are enjoying it as much as they have been. With the pandemic and everything, it’s been creating as much as possible. To be able to continue putting out music and put out an album, it’s been great. This one in particular has shown the most growth for me as an artist. Even when I listen back — the sounds we’re doing, the type of music that I’m making, the type of production, the features — all that stuff is for me the most mature project I’ve put out. The closest to where I’ve always wanted to be as an artist.
AllHipHop: Why the name, The D3tour, with the 3?
EKOH: It’s the third installment of this Detour series/ trilogy. The first one started really as a way for me to try new sounds, try doing different stuff with my music either lyrically or production-wise. It was a scapegoat for me to say “Alright if people don’t like this, I can tell them it was a detour from the norm. I can go back to what I was originally doing.” But I fell in love with what I was doing and the reaction was so well, I said “I’ma stay doing this for a little while and keep doing more of that.” That turned into The De2our, which was the album that came out last year, just continue more into The D3tour. This will be the last Detour at least for now, I ended on a trilogy. I didn’t want to go to 4, 5, 6. I wanted to end it on a third one. What started off as a sidetrack, a little side mission, ended up being what the main mission is all about.
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AllHipHop: What does the album cover represent?
EKOH: Each album cover was more of the journey. The first one started off going down a path of a nice road or a dark one. I tend to go down the harder road most times, the second album cover is more of that. The third album cover is really where it gets to the most difficult. You can tell in the artwork that it’s the most f##### up, the most destructed and torn apart. But on the horizon, there’s finally a destination.
AllHipHop: Why are you the “Martian”?
EKOH: Every once in awhile you get songs I feel like are bonus songs, that I didn’t intend on making or writing. I just got the beat. That song was a freebie because I was waiting for a session, and my session got pushed back for a day. I was in Atlanta, so I started writing to this beat. I like beats that make me feel a different way from my norm. That one was more of a confident, swaggy, more laid back vibe that I hadn’t been doing before. I wanted to play more with the delivery and the lyrics. I’ve always felt I’m outside of the norm: a little bit different, a little more weird than most people. I’m not going to fit in most places. People gotta come to me because I don’t necessarily get accepted into a lot of places. I have to really show my worth before people start letting me into a circle.
AllHipHop: Why do you feel like that?
EKOH: It’s paying my dues. I don’t even know if it’s necessarily true or if it’s the way I’ve always felt, and I project that out. I’ve always wanted to earn my spot. I’ve never wanted to be given respect, I want to earn it. I want to earn my spot in music, and I’ve finally done that. Even in the local scene, I was never really totally accepted or accepted by local publications. I was written off like “he doesn’t matter.” I went to the side and did my own thing, completely outside of the scene or what everybody else is doing, and built my own s###. I don’t need anybody else to cosign me or do anything to be successful, to do what I want to do or to make a living. To me, that’s where it’s all at.
AllHipHop: Talk about the independent grind. What’s the reality of it?
EKOH: It’s definitely a grind, for sure. If you want to be an independent artist and you don’t think you’re 100% a business owner, you’re totally wrong. If you get into music just to make music, that’s probably not going to be what you’re doing. I got into this to make music. I ended up having to learn Photoshop, Premier, how to edit videos, how to direct videos, how to mix my own music, how to engineer my own music, how to make merch, how to buy garments, all this different stuff. How to market, how to advertise, how to make content, how to be unique, all this different stuff I never got into music to do. I got into this to make songs and play shows. If you’re doing it independently, you need to learn how to do everything. You need to at least have an idea of it. I finally got to a point where I’ve had to grow the team.
AllHipHop: How big is your team now?
EKOH: Oh, it’s like one person. [laughs] It was always essentially me doing everything. Now having management, having a booking agent, it’s still completely independent but growing a team is nice to do. To have people that are in your corner that you don’t have to do everything by yourself, is nice.
AllHipHop: What songs mean the most to you on the project and why?
EKOH: “Firefly” is a song that hits home with me. That song’s about when you grew up listening to music, you’re so enamored by the magic of music and it means so much to you. You start doing it for a living, and the magic starts to go away. It’s more stressful than it is fun. You don’t listen to music the same way you used to. You’re comparing yourself. You’re feeling anxiety because “Oh, I should be making music right now. I can’t really sit here and listen to it.” You forget that you started it because you’re a fan. That song for me was a reminder that I started off this sh-t as a fan. No matter how much the numbers matter or the monthly listeners, I have to remind myself I started this because I’m a fan.
AllHipHop: I hear you spitting on “Villain,” talk about being a lyricist. Do you feel they’re not as seen nowadays?
EKOH: Honestly, everything comes full circle. Everything comes in phases. Everything’s a cycle, it’ll be back around. If you look at the way music works, it always goes in a cycle. A year and a half ago, pop punk and rock music: nobody would be caught dead with a guitar on their f-cking song. Pop punk was big a decade ago, now it’s back. Everything eventually cycles back, there’s always going to be an audience for lyricism. Then again, I try and make stuff that everybody can vibe with. I don’t hate on the other side of the music that’s not lyric-driven, there’s a way to blend the two.
AllHipHop: Talk about your love for comics and wanting to be part of the Comic-Con world.
EKOH: Growing up for me was rap, comics and skating. That’s what I grew up doing to escape. Everybody finds their own thing they use to escape from the world when they’re younger. For me, a big thing I was into was comics. When I was younger, it was not cool to be into it. Nobody f##### with it at all. It was more some s### you’d get made fun of for being into. Same thing as being a cycle, eventually it all came around and now that s###’s cool. I got lucky I was always into it anyways, so that always had a place in my music. Because my music is all me talking about the s### that I like, that’s really all it comes down to. That just so happens to be stuff I was super into. I always wanted to be more involved in that world if I could be, because it’s the world I was always a part of even before music.
AllHipHop: What’re you most excited for, going on tour?
EKOH: I don’t even have a particular city, I’m just excited to get out and meet my fans again. See them in person, be able to talk to them. It becomes this whole weird separation of are there actually people listening? Or is it just a name on a screen? There’s this disconnect. I run off the human connection. Being able to get back into a venue, see people in person, and connect with the people you know are listening, that’s the s###. That’s what I’m most excited to get back to but other than that, more music’s coming. More videos. There’s no letting up on the gas. We’re gonna continue pushing, dropping music and content as much as possible.