There is something to be said for quitting your stable job as an engineer to move to LA and pursue a career in the precarious industry of pop music. It takes a remarkable amount of courage and tenacity to pull off — a leap of extraordinary faith into a world that often chews and spits out even the most resilient of folk. But artists are forged through this crucible and it's the story of how Eric Cross began his life as the artist and producer, Socialchair.
Having written for the likes of Dorian Electra, Samantha Urbani, Blood Orange affiliate EVA, and worked alongside avant-garde hitmakers Mood Killer and Weston Allen, it can safely be said that Socialchair is making all of the right moves. Taking cues from early 2000s-era pop, the golden age of boy bands, Socialchair has a knack for crafting hooks and melodies that are both catchy and tug at the heartstrings.
His newest EP, Cleaning Up, tackles themes of anxiety, grief, and isolation through the lens of glossy, emphatic power ballads. Mirroring his own journey, the release deals with the idea of "unhealthy relationships we're told are essential to our 'success,'" and realizing those expectations were actually bullshit to begin with.
Socialchair knows how to transform vulnerability into an anthemic refrain. In his hands a hook like "I just want some company/ Someone to confide in me/ Can you help me make these hours pass a little faster?" becomes a beacon of passionate want and desire. It's a subtle subversion, but one that makes Cleaning Up feel less like a pity party and more like an embracing of his own faults in an effort to grow and move on.
What makes Socialchair tick?
I honestly spend most of my time thinking about what I'll have for dinner. Huge pesto fan, [I] like it homemade. Also funky chord changes really get me going if ya know what I mean.
What was the inspiration behind the EP?
The EP really came to life around the time I was settling into LA. I had moved to LA after quitting my previous jobs in finance/consulting and really taking on to my new lifestyle as an artist. I naively thought that after overcoming that hurdle, which was really my defining source of misery for so long, things would just be easy and nice, right? Well, I was so mistaken. There was a lot of struggle in finding my footing here, and a lot of isolation too. That whole adjustment, along with severing some more of the toxic relationships in my life really defined the whole record. I was Cleaning Up all the toxicity and emotional turmoil I'd been carrying.
Related | Get Up to 'Speed' with Socialchair
You mentioned in an Instagram post that you sat on a lot of these songs for a while.
Well, I'd sat on them in the first place because I was caught up in this mindset that I'd worked so hard on creating them and I couldn't let the release be anything less than spectacular. I wanted the traditional reward system. I had put all of myself into these tracks and I deserved to be rewarded through a triumphant release. When I couldn't find that through my own means, I chose to just sit on the music rather than release it independently right then and there.
What made now the right time to put it out?
Putting them out had a lot to do with meeting Dorian Electra and Weston Allen and Mood Killer. They were so encouraging and supportive of the songs and helped me put together the video for "Speed." I think that push really took me to the finish line. I also came to the realization that the "reward" from this whole experience with this record has been the act of writing, producing, mixing and mastering the music itself. The whole thing has been largely therapeutic. I really don't care at this point about receiving any accolades, or the reception of the thing. I think it's dope and I'm proud of it.
How do you think you've grown since your last EP as an artist and producer?
It's very much an evolving process for me. I feel like I'm constantly improving as a writer and producer, and with that I've been able to really solidify the voice and sound of Socialchair. Vocally, it's night and day to me. I think like I've really found a sweet spot for my voice and have been doing some fun things in my lower register (something I hardly touched on the previous record). I've allowed things to get a little bit weirder and less conventional in terms of pop structure. I've stopped thinking so much about what adheres to the trends in the world of pop production/writing, and focus more on making exactly what I want, exactly the way I want it. With all this being said, I'm even more excited for the music that's coming next.
Related | PAPER People: Dorian Electra
What puts you in the zone when you're writing?
I'm the most self-indulgent fucking creature all the damned time. If I'm not having fun with the process then what's the point? With that being said, I want to eat a shakshuka, drink a whole bottle of white wine and from there kvetch about whatever's ailing me into the microphone. The combination of food, drink and complaining really gets me going.
Speaking of cleaning, would you consider yourself a neat freak?
Watch the "Speed" music video, below, and follow Socialchair on Instagram (@social.chair).
Photo courtesy of Socialchair