Idris Vicuña, the Filipino artist better known as Eyedress, didn’t feel like a “proper” musician until recently. “I played Coachella this summer and that was a slap in the face,” the 32-year-old says, Zooming in from his home in Los Angeles. “So I’ve been trying to catch up, get my band together, so I can give my audience a bit more of a show.”
But Eyedress is no stranger to the game. He’s fresh from releasing his fifth album, FULL TIME LOVER, last month, which features The Drums, Homeshake and Mid90s actor, skater and rapper Na-kel Smith among others – artists he admires and has long been listening to. “My music only took off like two years ago,” Eyedress continues. “I never thought it was going to go anywhere. I was just doing this thing for fun.”
Still, his previous projects established him as a cornerstone of LA’s DIY music scene. There was Manila Ice in 2017, followed by 2018’s Sensitive G, then Let’s Skip to the Wedding in 2020 and Mulholland Drive the following year. Most of these albums produced viral hits, namely the former’s earworm Jealous, which has been featured in over one million TikTok videos. Light work, eh?
Soon, Eyedress will actually be skipping to the wedding, having recently proposed to his long-time girlfriend and mother of his son, Elvia. “My friend Vanna Youngstein directed the FULL TIME LOVER video, a mini-movie of me asking my girlfriend on a date,” he says. “I proposed to her at the shoot – she didn’t know it was coming and we caught it on film.”
True to form, FULL TIME LOVER is a feelgood jam, its lethargic beats matched with simple and effective lyrics: “Yeah, I’m a full time lover”, he drawls against a backdrop of murky synths. The album’s tracklist is extensive: across 28 songs, Eyedress sought to fuse hip hop, post-punk and shoegaze to create the stoner anthems he’s known and loved for.
“It’s always been the same process for me,” he says. “I smoke and go record.” Eyedress does it all for his fans, who often tell him they relate to the experiences of anxiety, depression and love he expresses in his music. But mostly, Eyedress does it for his grandma. “She was the only one really rooting for me to become something,” he says. “I wanted to make her proud.”
10% Where were you born, where were you raised, and where are you now based?
I was born in Manila, in the slums, I guess, until I was six. Then my family moved to Phoenix, Arizona, and left for San Clemente, California at 12 or 13. My parents moved back to the Philippines when I was 16, so I lived there for a while, and then moved to London before coming back to America.
20% Did you enjoy living in London?
I loved it. But it’s so friggin’ cold! All my friends were really polite and brought me tea all the time – it’s that English hospitality. But I was about 22 back then and could barely make a frozen meal. I was like a little kid, eating candy every day and going to the Supreme store.
30% What’s a piece of advice that changed your life?
My friend told me once that talk is cheap. Another friend – and this really changed my life – told me to make music my job. I took his advice. He was like, “clock in, nine to five, just like I do.” I stuck to that and it’s what helped me get signed. Also, every wall is a door, especially when it comes to mental blocks. Sometimes a break is necessary, too. You don’t have to keep pushing yourself. I still think about all those things now.
40% What’s the most pointless fact you can share?
I wouldn’t say anything is pointless.
50% If you ruled the world for a day, what would go down?
Free everyone who’s been wrongfully arrested and lock up all the predators. Make the world a safer place.
60% If you could go back in time to see a musician perform, who would it be?
The Velvet Underground when they went on tour with Andy Warhol.
70% What’s a bad habit you wish you could kick?
Self-doubt and not believing in myself.
80% Love, like, hate?
I love my family, I like eating healthy and I hate my current diet because I eat sugar all the time and I can’t avoid it. I’ve spent my life quitting so many things, like drugs. Now I’m an adult and it’s like, oh, now I have to quit sugar?!
90% What’s your favourite sweet?
I’m going to say Sour Ropes.
100% What can artists do to help save the world?
Destroy the patriarchy? There are so many things. I’m a “woke” person but I’m embarrassed to post about stuff because I don’t want people to think I’m preachy. Something I am preachy about is women’s rights. We have to get rid of all the old dinosaurs who don’t want to let people be. As an artist, you can help change things from the inside, rather than being like, “fuck the industry.” You have to immerse yourself in it to figure out what’s wrong. We have to change ourselves first, maybe.