Photo Credit: Adrian Rudi (@ungerudi)
By Alissa Arunarsirakul // May 14, 2020
As our anxiety and loneliness levels rise throughout the current pandemic, Ruben Dawnson seeks to comfort those who have been affected. The Norwegian newcomer accomplishes this by way of his stellar debut EP, Echo Emotions, which is ultimately a coming-of-age story that sees Dawnson becoming the young man he is today. If you’re feeling at all stressed, allow Echo Emotions to relieve whatever may be causing you strife.
On Echo Emotions, Ruben Dawnson reflected,
“This is a very special and introspective project for me, a product of reflections and thoughts built over several years. Itʼs about confronting your true self, learning and acknowledging your inner fears, struggles, issues… honesty and fear. Learning to be honest. Realizing itʼs okay to tell people. Opening up. Discovering new sides of yourself. Lessons. Change. Growth yet stillness. Itʼs raw, direct, and as honest as it can be. Fear, mortality, loss, loneliness, anxiety, sexuality – hope and love. This is the truest expression of me in my moments of existence.”
To celebrate the release of his new music, we recently chatted with Ruben Dawnson about ambient jazz, mental health, and of course, Echo Emotions.
HH: Indie pop is really taking the world by storm, but everyone has something special to offer. What do you think separates yourself from other rising bedroom pop artists?
RD: I think what separates me is that you can’t put me in one box! I might do an ambient jazz album… you never know! I’m raw, unpolished, and DIY, doing everything from the music to the visuals and design, and I have my own personality and style while I wear my heart on my sleeve.
HH: Since you write, record, and produce your discography from your bedroom, how do you separate work from relaxation?
RD: It’s actually very challenging, I mean, I kind of don’t. When I feel inspired I just try to work and when I don’t feel like it, I try to chill and give myself time to be inspired, it’s tough. Right now, I’m making music in a small attic. So it’s kind of separated from where I hang out. So I go in there when I feel like working.
HH: Echo Emotions is very much an introspective coming-of-age project that plenty of listeners will relate to. What’s the overall message of your stellar debut EP?
RD: Well, overall message, or perhaps maybe not message, but the overall concept, is stuff going in circles, and that is hard to break out of habits and patterns and stuff and that you grow and change, but you’re still the same, kind of.
HH: The EP mainly focuses on anxiety, loneliness, and fear, but what emotions are you experiencing now that Echo Emotions is out for everyone to listen to?
RD: Ah, good question. I experienced a sense of pride that I made a whole project and that is out. It’s sort of like a fulfilling emotion, and excitement and inspiration. I’m inspired by doing stuff and moving, moving forward. And this just gives me so much inspiration to create more stuff and seeing it actually fully finished and presented is very fulfilling.
HH: Your fans are already obsessed with bouncy tracks like “SAYIMGOOD” and “I Don’t Wanna Be Alone.” Do you have a favorite song off the EP?
RD: No, I don’t actually have a favorite song. I like the whole thing.
HH: What would you say to your fans that struggle with anxiety and loneliness on a daily basis? How have you learned to cope with these strong emotions?
RD: I think you just have to be patient. Time is like the only constant. It’s hard. I still struggle with that stuff. So I don’t have the recipe, the salvation. You learn more as you grow, you learn more about yourself and you learn how to deal with stuff and what works for you and just trying to choose to stay healthy physically. That’s good advice. Try to stay healthy physically. That helps a lot. Find something that inspires you, that you can do to occupy your mind because sometimes too much thinking isn’t productive. And very importantly, don’t be afraid to ask for help when you need that, even though it can be scary!
HH: If you could have anyone in the music industry as a mentor, who would you pick?
RD: Maybe Pharrell. He seems really wise and experienced. But I have to stress that I already have very good mentors, top-notch.
HH: What are your three hidden hits?
RD: “Can of Worms” – Gold Celeste
“get real” – hannah jadagu
“Flower” – Fieh