Vancouver-born star Ekkstacy is starting off 2024 with a bang, keeping everybody guessing his next move. Since the release of his sophomore record Misery, Stacy has been nonstop touring, yet in the midst of all the crazy tour nights that he admittedly has, found the time to work on a new record. The third record to add to his repertoire, a self-titled album Ekkstacy, out Friday 19th January, eclipses his previous record entirely, building upon those foundations and then taking them to new heights. With all the hallmarks of his signature sound that has so far garnered him prominence, the artist takes it up another several notches.
The record lives and breathes, true to its name – no one song is the same, leaning into a brighter, clearer sound. We’re transported from garage shows on the waterfront to bed-rotting introspection with all the same sunniness in the space of just a few songs. The record shines with the infusion of playful punk notes, indie rock power chords, and inspiration from icons like Ramones, The Strokes, and Title Fight, taking you on a rollercoaster ride of a sonic experience sure to leave you reeling. With all of that, the essence is that of the highs and lows of the best party of your life bottled up into thirteen tracks.
Having the chance to speak with Ekkstacy before the record release, we discussed the craziness of the touring lifestyle, collaboration stories, life-changing live gigs, and the next big steps he’s already taken to make this year the one.
Hi, Ekkstacy, we know you’ve been busy lately, how are you?
I’m good, I’ve been doing better than usual.
You’ve came into the music industry really young. Was music what you always thought you’d be doing now? When did you know making music was what you wanted to do?
I don’t know, I always had the idea in the back of my mind but not as solid as it would need to be to actually do it, but I always liked singing a lot as a kid. I would sing a lot in private, but I always loved music more than most people I know, so it was all there.
Was your inspiration the same when you were younger, singing the same stuff you do now?
No, I liked R&B a lot – I still do. I listened to Chris Brown and Usher.
You’ve been touring basically nonstop since the release of your sophomore record Misery, how have you found it all? Have you got any stories, horrors or highlights?
Oh, man, it’s been great! I do love it. I’ve had some horror stories for sure – I’m trying to think of one that’s not too insane that I can talk about. One time (I don’t where I was), I blacked out at the show and fell asleep in the hallway in the hotel and I was on the phone talking to my girlfriend at the time, but my phone was actually dead – keep in mind I don’t remember any of this! So, sleeping in the hallway talking to my phone but no-one’s there because my phone’s dead. I don’t know how long I was there, I might have actually just slept on the floor for a while. Then I got up at some point and went into my room. The door to the bathroom wasn’t a swing door but a sliding door, and I didn’t know, so I pulled it and ripped it off the wall and it shattered the mirror on the other wall. But somehow, all this got cleaned up and fixed before I woke up.
The next day, we had to be in the lobby by four or five in the morning because we had an eight or nine-hour drive. When I wake up after drinking a lot the night before, I’m usually weirdly in a good mood – it’s a weird thing that I have, I’m really happy in the morning because I’m not sick and drunk anymore. Anyway, I get into the van and I’m like, what’s up everybody? And they all stare at me and I’m like, what? So they replied, what do you mean ‘what’? You don’t remember last night at all, do you? And no, I didn’t. So they told me the story and at first I didn’t believe them, but they kept telling it over and over. So yeah, that was crazy. That was the first time I think I’ve done some actual insane stuff and fully didn’t remember it, like no memory, none.
Your self-titled third album came out on Friday January 19th, congratulations! You’ve pulled together a super impressive record in such a short space of time while being super busy with touring – can you share with us a little behind your creative process specifically for an album that moves so fast like this one?
The truth is that it actually took me a long time to make it – some of the songs on this were made before my previous album came out. So, the weird thing about it is that for like half of it I didn’t know I was making an album, I was just making songs. After I had a bunch that were good, I was like, oh, might as well make an album out of it. I had maybe six songs, and then I went to California, to this mountain here called Lake Arrowhead, it’s secluded and in the woods, cabin in the woods shit. And I went there for like two weeks and finished it pretty much. But it was a weird album for me, because I didn’t sit down and like, for most of it I didn’t sit down and say okay I’m going to make an album, it was sporadic and spread out and all over the place and messy for most of it, so that’s how I did it. That’s how I have to do it honestly, it’s hard for me to sit down and just do the whole project in the way that most bands do cause I get bored of certain sounds really fast, so I have to make a bunch of different types of songs, and it’s easier to do that over a long period of time.
I think that difference of sounds is really noticeable on the album, and there’s a different listening experience because of that – was that the intention or was it just, like what was the intention of structure for the album?
It wasn’t the intention - as I said it’s impossible for me to do the same thing like that. Like if you look at a band, like a Beach House record or something, each song is pretty much the exact same, just a little different. And I just can’t do that, I just don’t know how – I wish I could. The intention originally was to make like a cohesive project like that, where every tone is the same, every drums is the same, but I just can’t do it. It’s too hard, it’s just not how my music works. And I don’t have a producer producer so, maybe that’s another reason but the intention originally was to make a super cohesive record and then the complete opposite came out.
I wanted to ask about the headless horseman lost his way, what was the inspiration behind the song title? Obviously there’s so much going on there.
I love that song. I just had visions of things in my head when I was making it, it just feels strong and chaotic. I had the image of a horseman fighting a bunch of people when I was making this song. I want to make a video with a horseman in it. It sounds stupid but it just came to mind, I just thought it sounded cool.
The track bella has been described as a culmination of all your favourite influences packed into this song. Could you share some insight into the musical influences and references that shaped this song?
Yeah, well obviously the drums are kind of like, programmed like The Drums, y’know the band The Drums. Kind of like Current Joys in the structure. At the time, I was listening to a lot of The Strokes, which is weird because I don’t even like The Strokes, but I was listening to them a lot.
Why don’t you like The Strokes?!
I don’t know, it’s just not my favourite, I don’t mind it, I don’t hate it. My friends were listening to them a lot at the time, so I was listening to them. But yeah, The Drums and Current Joys are my biggest inspirations, but then it has The Strokes-y vibe to it, which is something that I never, ever tried to tap into, so that’s why it turned out so different to everything else.
This new record feels like a new chapter, how do you feel this album showcases your development as an artist?
Well, I think that it’s good that it’s so chaotic and there’s so many different sounds, so that way people can really take it all in and they can all have a different song. Like, I’m sure that they’ll like every song, but I feel it’s going to attract a lot of different people, as to where the other records I made, certain people are going to like pretty much the whole record. I feel like with this record, some people are going to love one song and then maybe hate the next one, but it’s going to have a bigger reach, y’know? It's going to have a reach that’s like way bigger than the other records I’ve made I think. That wasn’t the intention at all, I just think it’s how it happens. I just wanted to make a record; I wasn’t thinking about that when I made it.
I suppose you never really are thinking consciously about it, it’s the same with inspiration. I’ve spoken to other artists before about what inspires them, and it’s often something realised after.
Yeah, like I’ll write a song, and I’ll be going through whatever when I’m writing a song, I won’t be thinking about it. And then when I listen to it like 2 to 3 months later, I’ll realise that I was connecting to so many different things that were happening, but I didn’t even know, it’s weird, it’s cool.
It is really cool, it’s like an unconscious influencing. 
Yeah, it’s like all the words that come out are just subconscious, it’s so weird.
On the flipside, are there any conscious artists or genres that you do look to, to try inspire creation?
I listen to a lot of stuff before I even record, I’ll listen to music for like 2 or 3 hours before I even attempt to make a song usually, but I watch Audiotree, I’ll watch live performances and concert videos and shit, of like emo bands and my favourite indie bands before I record. I keep saying Current Joys, but I love them a lot. I listen to this band Sixth June a lot, a lot of emo stuff, a lot of Title Fight and like Joyce Manor, Tigers Jaw, stuff like that. But just older cool stuff, it really helps me – it really makes me want to make music.
In your mind, is there a perfect or preferred listening environment for this album for your listeners, especially with this record being such a blend of different sounds?
I don’t know, some of the songs have like party energy to me – I feel like bella could be a cool party song. Like how a Strokes song would be a party song y’know? I hear The Strokes at parties all the time, I feel like bella could become a party [song]. But we’ve got some beach songs, some surf songs, some sad songs, it’s all over the place, it’s good. I made it on tour, that’s why it’s so different.
The collaborations on this record are fantastic, with collaborating with Trippie Red on problems and with Kid Laroi on alright, how did these collaborations come around, especially because you’ve said before you look up to Trippie Red as well, how was it collaborating with someone you admire so much?
It was kind of crazy at first, he DM’d me and was like “yo, come work on my album with me in Miami,” and I was like okay. He was like I’ll fly you out and I was like okay. And then, maybe a month later, I’m in Miami, and he just picked me up and I was just like “what the fuck?” I’ve never been in Miami before, it was kinda overwhelming, it was fun.
With Laroi, he DM’d me too, on Instagram. Actually, it’s a weird story. I got a call from someone, claiming to be his brother, and he was like “Yo, I’m Laroi’s brother he’s a big fan of you”, and I was like “okay dude what?” And not too long later, Laroi had got in touch, and I was like “oh?” I still haven’t asked him about it, I kind of want to, maybe next time I see him. I always forget.
What a story to accompany a song!
Yeah, it was super late, I was like “no you’re not shut up”, so weird.
Do you get that a lot, of people pretending to be other people, or is that a really weird thing?
No, so my number hasn’t been leaked, luckily. I kind of want to sometimes, but it’s hell. My number’s connected to important things like my email, my bank and shit. I’m thinking about getting another phone. I want to get another phone! And like leak the number, so fools can just blow it up. Wait, I have another phone right here, I have two, just [one] doesn’t have a number. Maybe I should wipe it and set up an iMessage and an iCloud with like a phone number. That’s kinda fun, I’m going to do that today. That’s fresh, I’m stoked, I’m going to wipe this phone. I’ll get to this later.
Are there any other artists that would be a dream to collaborate with in the future?
Joji, and Current Joys. They’re like tied for my favourite artists, that are alive. Actually, probably not, just of all time. Joji and Current Joys for sure, who else? Beach House, those three would be life changing.
You mentioned alive, if you could revive someone to work with, who would you collab with?
Probably X, or Peep. It’d be hard, that’d be impossible. Or maybe I could like, go even further back and [choose] Bowie or something, or Lou Reed. That’d be insane. That’d be more Goated of me to do that.
You’ve mentioned you wrote goo lagoon in a hotel room in LA. What’s the most eclectic place you’ve ever found yourself writing a song or struck by inspiration for a song?
Florida. Orlando, Florida, at like the swamp, on the lake. I went to Florida once, with all my friends, and we stayed in the coolest crib, this fucking beat-up shack, but it was on the swamp and it had this dock, and the dude that owned the house, because there were two houses on the property – he used to throw insane parties at this house, like he was known in Orlando for these parties. And he was also an artist, and he made these sculptures out of like scrap metal, he made these like huge robot sculptures out of scrap metal and they were all over the property, and they were sick. It had the sickest view ever too, when the sun would rise, it would rise up through the window, where I had my computer, and it would rise up right over the lake and we would have fires on the dock. It was the best. And then guess what? I got fucking deported. I got fucking deported from the country because I didn’t have my papers, my visa expired when I was there, and the government e-mailed me and was like you have to leave the country by this date, and it was like 3 or 4 days before I was supposed to leave, and it just was like really sad. That was the happiest I’ve ever been, to this day, I’ve never been that happy before. It was the best, the greatest time. There’s videos of me there, we made lil movies, I still watch them, and I just wish I could have stayed.
Have you got any plans to go back to Florida soon?
Yeah, we’re trying but all the homies, I don’t want to say we’ve got less close but we kind of have. With me touring, and one of my homies has a really bad immune system and he’s just sick all the time, and he doesn’t talk to us as much and he was my favourite. He was my best friend. He’s the key, it’s not the same without him, and he’s scared to travel, because he’s sick, and he’s got lupus now and shit, so not good, but I’m sure we will in time. But he’s the key point for that. I have like 3 friend groups, I have my LA friend group, my friends from school that I grew up with, and my Internet friend group, and he’s from the Internet friend group. He’s probably sick right now, I should probably text him.
You have some seriously impressive venues lined up for your tour kicking off February 18th, are there any venues or cities in particular you’re looking forward to performing at?
Always, Germany is my favourite, especially Cologne, and Berlin. I’m super stoked to go to Hamburg again, and Frankfurt too because I’ve never been to Frankfurt and the show’s sold out. All the Germany shows sold out, we had to make the venues bigger. LA as well, obviously LA is amazing. Some of my favourite spots got left off, like Chicago is a favourite of mine. We are playing Florida as well, which is fire and I have a weird obsession with Florida after that one trip. Germany is the spot for me.
Why Germany?
I don’t know why I’ve connected so well there, I’m just most popular in Germany – and in LA but it’s different in Germany. In LA everyone’s popular. You don’t feel cool in LA, you feel cool when you’re in Germany and everyone knows you. Here, there’s always someone sicker than you next door.
Any dream venues or festivals we can hope to see you at in the near future?
I want to play Madison Square Garden, the Hollywood Bowl. Festivals, though? I don’t know, I don’t want to play Coachella until I’m big enough to play Coachella properly. And Lollapalooza, I had a shitty spot last time I played Lollapalooza, I don’t want to play those big festivals until I have the entire crowd, which might be a year or two. There were some really good festivals I played in Germany; I’d love to do those again. There’s this one I played, Open Air I think in Munich, in Berlin as well, I forget, but it was so cool. That was one of the sickest events I’ve played, the stage was like on the side of these shipping containers with this huge LED screen at the back. It was sick, and the crowd was nuts. I really want to do a lot of festivals next year; I want to do Reading and Leeds again. Reading was fun, I think Leeds was awful. Yeah, Leeds was awful, Reading was fresh. That was fun because I got to see all these sick bands, there was a bunch of sick bands that played before us, so we just watched all of them side stage. When We Were Young was also very fun, I got to see some emo bands that I would have never seen. Like Joyce Manor and stuff, I saw them for the first time there, then I got fully obsessed with them and bought all their records, right after I left Vegas.
Do you have a favourite gig you’ve been at, is it Joyce Manor?
I saw Suicide Silence, I saw them in Vancouver a couple months ago, that might be my favourite show, that was my first real deathcore show, so that was insane. I wish I saw them when Mitch was alive, but I was too young I was like 12 or 13. Deathcore show at 13 doesn’t sound like a good idea. Scowl, I saw them at Reading, they were amazing. I like heavy shows, I don’t like soft shows and stuff. I love heavy music, I get bored at slow shows – I’d go see Beach House for sure, but I like to watch emo and metal shows more. I would love to see Joji, nonetheless.
Just to end on, you’re going to be kept super busy with your tour, but clearly that hasn’t stopped you producing so far; can you give us a sneak-peek of what to expect next?
Yeah, I’m working already, I already have a bunch of songs ready that are probably better than all the songs on the record that I’m about to drop, which is silly. But, yeah, I hope to drop a lot of music this year, and work with a lot of people that are cool and have fun. Last year was stressful, I think this year is going to be like a big year – well I know it’s going to be a big year; it’s going to be a lot of fun I think. Last year was tough, I was upset the whole year. Touring was fun, but tough and I had to get a new band, I had some horrible house scares too, which were horrible too I’ve never been so scared before. I can’t even imagine if it was a really bad one. This year’s going to be fresh, it’s going to be the one, I can feel it. Lots of sick music to come.