As an emerging force in the UK music scene, edbl has an exquisite skill in blending music genres to be seen in his upcoming release ‘2010 Mixtape’, rooted in edbl’s love of old school hip hop. Get familiar with him via this VIPER Presents interview…

What five words define your sound?

Soulful, jazzy, hip-hop infused fun.

Tell me something unique about your creative process?

I think what’s so integral to the project is collaboration and over the years I must have had sessions with over 100 different artists at least. I wouldn’t say it’s necessarily unique but one thing that’s really important to me when working with people is to just sit down and catch up for at least an hour before creating anything. Creation can be such a personal process so I think it’s really important to feel comfortable around each other before jumping straight in to making music. 

Which song of yours would you like people to hear first?

Probably ‘The Way Things Were’ as much as that might seem like an obvious answer!

What inspired you to make that song?

The rhythm of the chords came to me initially, then when I picked up a guitar the chords came out pretty quick. I made it just for the fun of it, always with the intention of having another artist on it, which is why it’s so nice to see it doing so well on streaming platforms now. 

What’s the most vulnerable you’ve allowed yourself to be when writing/making music?

I try to open up as much as possible when creating. Because generally I am less involved in the lyrical side of the project there’s less space for me to be vulnerable but I have a track called ‘JK’ which I also wrote the words and melodies to – it’s about my grandad, and features some of his last words to me before he passed. 

What’s the best/worst experience you’ve had on stage?

Best experience would probably be playing at Cross The Tracks festival in Brixton in 2022. It’s a soul, jazz and funk festival that’s been going for a good while and it’s in a park right by where I live – the lineup is always amazing. We got invited to play and were on one of the bigger tents but really early on – for soundcheck the tent was basically empty but for the show it was PACKED! Probably the most people I’ve played for. 

Thankfully in terms of worst I haven’t had any major clangers beyond breaking a string or playing completely the wrong chord briefly (which I actually do quite a lot on my live shows) (laughs).

What is your favourite song to perform?

Probably ‘Never Met’. It’s one of my favourite tracks but it never picked up many plays/much support on Spotify etc. so playing it live is a great way to showcase it. I sing the chorus on it and the rap verses are super groovy and super fun to play with the boys. 

Which artist/song/album made you want to make music?

Hard to pinpoint exactly. When I started learning guitar I was really into bands like Green Day, Blink 182 and Sum 41 and some of their stuff was easy enough to play on guitar so the feeling of being able to play a song you love has always stuck with me. But generally I think making music in order for it to be the best should, and does, come naturally. Seeing how far Tom Misch has taken his career as a fellow guitarist and beat-maker in a similar style is massively inspirational. 

What’s the meaning behind your name?

My full name is Edward Black, so I just took the first two letters from both! I can’t take credit for the idea though – I stole it from my cousin Emily whose MySpace name was ‘embl’ and I thought it was really cool so took it for myself haha. 

If you weren’t making music, what would you be doing instead?

Hard to imagine really, I’m so used to having a creative job that I struggle to think of doing something where I wasn’t creating. I did always like English Language in school and dabbled in a bit of music journalism and always liked the idea of that as a job! 

What’s success to you?

There’s definitely a lot of bench marks and targets I have in my mind to keep on growing and building as an artist and I feel like that will never change, but honestly the fact that I am in a position where I am making enough money to live from my own music is success for me.

What moment in your life/career forced you to change direction?

Before I started making music as edbl I was in a writing and production duo for a number of years which really helped me find my feet with doing sessions and meeting new people all the time and producing/writing a song in a day. Musically though the duo was more pop-oriented and I realised that my heart wasn’t in making commercially-driven music, and also learnt through the duo that I loved making anything left of centre whether that be R&B, indie, soul or anything really. I left the duo at the end of in 2017, spent a full year touring in 2018 as a session guitarist and then when I got back to making music in 2019, the edbl project was born. 

Where can people keep in touch with you?

Instagram is my main platform for sure, but I’m also on X and TikTok – all are @edbledbl ! 

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