As we prepare to look back at 2018, a particular musical memory stands out - the release of rising pop artist EBEN's sophomore EP Past Hundred Days. More than just a breezy and immaculately polished six-song collection of hip-hop-flavored pop tracks, the sophomore effort marked a notable bout of growth for an artist who seemingly already entered the music world at the top of his game. A shimmering synthesis of EBEN's past artistic endeavors, a candid reflection of lived experience, and recorded primarily while on tour with Why Don't We, Past Hundred Days left us only wanting more from the rising pop star.
So, we did just that. We sat down with EBEN to talk his latest EP, striking a balance between his avid social media following and personal life, and plenty more.
OTW: You recently returned from Asia and dropped your sophomore EP, Past Hundred Days, while you were there. What was it like releasing a project a project in a foreign country for the first time ever?
EBEN: It was so cool. I had to judge the time difference though cause I’m like 12 hours ahead. I can't say, "Oh the project's out!" Because it wasn't out in the US, so that was like the first trying to juggle a 12-hour time difference with the release of music, let alone being in Asia. I went to Singapore a couple of years ago. One of my best friends used to live there so I went to visit him, but other than that, I actually got to see a lot of it. It was awesome.
OTW: How has the reaction been to the Past Hundred Days been thus far?
EBEN: It's been crazy. It's a lot bigger of a reaction than I expected it would be. It went number two on the pop charts of iTunes and number eight on the overall charts. I couldn't believe it. It was like, "What the heck is going on? That's my face; that's my project like on the charts." I was never expecting that. It was a dream come true.
What was also cool was that it actually held up there for two days. I wasn't expecting that. Travis Scott, Post Malone, Ariana Grande, you know they're all chilling - A list freaking artists. But it stayed up there for two days, like I couldn't believe it. It was nuts. Then it charted on Billboard too and that was like "What the fuck?" That's crazy. I couldn't believe that one.
OTW: So let's talk about some of the central themes on the EP. It's very much a take on your life - those past 100 days preceding recording the EP. So when you sit down to write songs is it always based on personal experiences?
EBEN: A lot of this EP was written in the moment. "Back To Us," I wrote and produced that before I went on stage in Ireland. I was just messing around and in the moment, I was just feeling what I was feeling, and it just came to life. I wrote the whole song in 10 minutes. It's weird how that goes. Sometimes it takes forever to write a song, but sometimes the melodies just come to you. It's easy and it makes sense. A lot of the EP was like that. The whole project made sense, because it was everything I was feeling in the moment, just like putting it down on music and creating from my emotions.
It came together really easy, like a lot easier than I thought it was going to come together. Cause when I dropped my FINALLY EP, that was the first body of work I had put together, and in my head, I was like "Oh my god. How can I top this?"
I'm freaking out because the next project has to be so much better, but once I stopped thinking about that and let things flow, everything just came together. It was perfect.
OTW: Speaking of future projects, are you already working on a new one?
EBEN: Yeah I'm already working on a new project. I'm just trying to drop as much music as I can. I have so many ideas I just want to put out there.
OTW: For Past Hundred Days, when you actually sat down to record it, was most of it done while on tour with Why Don't We?
EBEN: I used most of my demo vocals on this project. When we got back to the US, it was like okay I have two and a half weeks to mix it, get it finished, mastered and everything. It's just demo vocals so I'll need to redo the vocals whatever, went back in, and I didn't feel it. It had no emotion to it, so I used a lot of my demo vocals for this project, because there was so much feeling in it. The whole process of it coming together was super unique, because I recorded in Paris when we had four days off. "That's Alright" was recorded in my hotel room in Paris. "Back To Us" in Ireland.
Half the project was recorded overseas, and that's something I will always, even when I'm older, "Oh you know Past Hundred Days is a project I recorded all over the world." It's just a cool thought to have.
OTW: What was one of your favorite places you visited and your favorite memory from there?
EBEN: Man, Paris was unreal because we had four days off, and we got to go and explore. Like I rode a bike everywhere. I went to the Louvre, got to see as many sights as I could. Paris was amazing. I'll always remember it. Half the buildings there are older than the US, like half of them were built in 1700 and anywhere you go, you just walk in the bar, and it's modern on the inside but the building was built in 1730. History is all around you.
OTW: You have a pretty big social media following. Do you ever find it hard to strike a balance between social media and your own personal life?
EBEN: I definitely try to keep stuff separate to some extent, I still want to have my own personal life outside being online and on social media.
But I feel like I'm pretty transparent that who I'm on social media is who I am in person. I'm not a totally different person off the camera.
OTW: Between FINALLY and Past Hundred Days, what do you think is the most important thing you learned about yourself as an artist?
EBEN: To not let the outside influence your decision making and what you actually want to do. It is learning how to say no, because I'm a "yes" man. I want to make as many people happy as I can, but doing that comes with so much stress and so much weight on your shoulders, because you are trying to please the world but it's not realistic. So, I definitely learned to worry about myself a little bit more and not take on others people problems but focus on my issues that I need to work on.
OTW: If you could say one thing directly to all your fans, what will it be?
EBEN:: Thank You! I wouldn’t be sitting here if it wasn’t for them. They are so unbelievably supportive. It blows my mind. The fact that they got both EPs that are out to chart is mind-blowing. It is crazy.
They've giving me the best year of my life, and I know they will give many more amazing years to come.
OTW: You have a lot of female fans, so just as a service, what is the one thing EBEN looks for in a girl?
EBEN: One thing EBEN looks for in a girl?! Man. definitely someone who can take care of themselves and knows what they want, and knows what they want to do in their life. It is frustrating to feel like you have to take care of someone in that respect. I don’t want to take care and figure your problems out. I figured mine out. You gotta be able to do that as an adult.
Definitely someone who knows what they want to do and are confident in themselves.
OTW: Who are your Ones To Watch?
EBEN: Matt DiMona. He needs to release new music.