A deeper look into the reality of being an upcoming artist in the 21st century.
The future bass sound has been around for a little while now, and very few have managed to break the mould. Stretching past the standard set by the likes of The Chainsmokers, Flume & Illenium, EQRIC and JESSIA have taken the sound to new heights. Fuelling the soundscape with abstract synths, roaring bass lines and incredibly emotional vocals to pierce your soul, these two have demonstrated there is so much more to the sound than what’s to be expected.
But like all incredible pieces of art, there is so much more to a piece than what lies on the surface. Most people appreciate a masterpiece but never fully understand what went into creating such a beautiful form of human expression. Today I had the pleasure of getting the inside story behind this emotional song, with the artists themselves, Eric & Jessika.
‘Mirror’ is about the fear of the unknown. It’s about the pressures that we put on ourselves to have everything in our lives figured out in such a short amount of time. We end up feeling lost and empty. We try on so many different personas until we don’t even recognise ourselves in the mirror. This song is about the burning question we all face, ‘Who Am I?’.
When I hear the chorus, the drop, I’m hit with a blend of emotions, a hint of frustration and a sense of loss.
EQRIC: Yeah I guess you could say that! Sometimes when I’m cramped up studying/working on music for hours on end, I get this feeling of being lost in my own mind. I really wanted to encompass that feeling into the production of this song.
The lyrics match ever so perfectly with the feel of the production, there must have been some inspiration behind them, Tell us about it!
JESSIA: I was going through a sort of quarter life identity crisis. I had this pressure on me to be further along in my life than I was, comparing myself to teenage prodigies and setting unrealistic goals for myself. On one hand I know I am young and I am proud of my accomplishments. But as an artist, there is always this little voice telling you that you should be doing more. I wrote this song about the internal battle between who I am presently and who I’m telling myself I should be. It was honestly an exhausting place to be in but I learned to relax and show myself more compassion. I needed to silence the expectations put on myself and just be happy with who I am today.
I believe a lot of artists can relate to that, there’s a lot of pressure on upcoming artists these days that mostly goes unspoken.
JESSIA: Yeah I think perfectionism is at an all time high with the rise and influence of technology and social media. We live in a filtered world and people are drowning in this unrealistic idea of what life should look like.
EQRIC: I work extremely hard trying to balance my studying & music career, I have to sacrifice a lot of my time in life in order to keep pursuing my goals. Sometimes I feel like I have two identities, split from the struggle of balancing career and real life.
Do you think the world we live in makes these kinds of identity issues more present in our lives? Especially with artists getting younger and younger, with expectations of yourself having to be a lot higher, sometimes unrealistically possible?
JESSIA: I don’t think the pressure is any different for young artists. Look at Michael Jackson, he started so young and probably had to face the same pressures we do, perhaps even more. The big difference between now and then is that today we are more open to talking about it. Mental health awareness is on the rise and that is amazing! As much as we are bombarded with unrealistic goals, we are given more and more safe spaces to talk about and recognise the issues young people face.
For the aspiring producers out there, tell me, how did you approach producing this masterpiece?
EQRIC: The production came first, I started out with the drop chords and melody, which drive the emotions of the song. Then built a draft of the drums for JESSIA to write to. She sent me a rough draft of the vocals, similar to the final song. We made some slight adjustments to fit the analogy of Mirrors & Reflection, then final production began. We had worked on a bunch of songs together over the last year and a half, so our creative flow was already in place. For this one I really wanted to try and experiment with some Flume inspired sounds, and some more ominous sounding synths.
‘Even when I’m together, I’m miles apart. Feeling like I’m running forever to get back to the start’
JESSIA: This is about the split in my personality, the inner conflict between doing okay and I’m not doing enough. Like I’m as close as I can be, I’m in my own head, but I have opposing thoughts. ‘Running forever to get back to the start’ is about feeling like you are doing so much but dwelling upon the idea that you’re not getting anywhere.
‘Shine a mirror, Shine a mirror on me. See my reflection who am I really supposed to see’
JESSIA: That’s about looking within and asking yourself, Who am I? Who do I want to be?
When it comes to writing, what about music inspires you? Do you use it solely as a form of expression, or personal therapy?
JESSIA: It’s different in each case. Sometimes I write about others stories, it really depends on what comes out that day. It is therapy though. Especially after finishing a song, it’s like a breath of fresh air. I was able to articulate exactly how I feel. Most of my creativity and ideas come at the most inconvenient moments. I’m usually out doing something and I have to drop everything I’m doing and quickly record a voice note to capture the idea before it’s gone!
There is so much more to a piece of music than just sounds and words. It’s a true expression of what it means to be human. EQRIC & JESSIA’s ‘Mirror’ gives us a perfect chance to reflect upon the struggles we all face in our lives.