“I was obviously inspired by Quasimoto/MF Doom,” Eydress aka Idris Vicuña says about his debut album’s felt-tipped pop cover artwork. “I always found it cool how they presented themselves as cartoons,”
For Vicuña, rendering his experiences as cartoons has helped make sense of what he sees as the sometimes pretty senseless challenges of daily life in the Philippine capital he calls home.
“The artwork is a representation of everyday life in Manila,” he says. “It’s hard to hail a cab on a busy day out here. Everything is chaotic. You got the news blasting mad negativity. You hear about things like corruption in the government and police killing innocent people in the president’s campaign on the war on drugs.”
A disturbing backdrop then to a cultured and compelling record, composed in the wake of the birth of Vicuña’s first child, when he was just 26. Splashed with colour, and a child-like aesthetic that’s not afraid to go to some pretty dark places, the record evokes parallels between Vicuña’s own childhood, and that which he is fostering as a father.
“My dad was an animator, so growing up I was surrounded by all types of cartoons and claymation films etc,” he says. A doubtless magical environment for a child to be part of, matched perhaps only by Vicuña’s own bedroom set-up of instruments, software and synths on which he made Manila Ice from scratch.
“I learned how to draw when I was five so I’ve been at it for quite some time now, though I’m not as good as my dad, he can literally draw up anything in seconds. He used to draw explosions page by page the 2D way it was crazy I remember after a days work I’d come visit him at the office and he’d show me all the layers he drew.”
While the artwork on the record may be a synthesis of childhood experience and his surrogate hip-hop family – the likes of DOOM and Madlib that have helped shaped his sound too – Vicuña’s music stretches out in several other directions. Manila Ice may at its heart be a beat-maker’s album, but Vicuña is versatile enough to introduce elements of motorik krautrock and shoegaze into an uncanny tapestry that will just as likely appeal to fans of Connan Mockasin as Lord Quas.
Manila Ice is set to be released on Lex Records on 2nd June. Pre-order yours on atomic green vinyl here.