The Manila-born Idris Vicuña, known as Eyedress (it’s also how you pronounce his real name), moved from the Philippines to the U.S a year ago and now resides in Silverlake. “Living in Los Angeles has helped a lot. I’m just trying to keep the momentum going,” says Vicuña. He likes the availability of weed and the sense of community in L.A and how all people of color are supportive of each other in L.A. “In the Philippines, no one is really down to help out,” says Vicuña. “I used to be that guy back home, helping other artists out. But they don’t reciprocate it.”
He adds that the toxicity in the Philippines can be bad. There is a culture of classism that encourages people to look down on those from the slums. “Everyone there is passive aggressive. They just keep talking shit until the environment is so horrible. I’ll run into people that don’t like me, but they won’t say anything. They’ll say stuff online though. I’m not even trying to fight them. I’m just baffled by how people can be so horrible.” At the same time, Vicuña acknowledges they’re just victims of their environment, introjecting the attitudes, voices, and beliefs of the people around them. And despite these issues, he still has love for his home country.
This isn’t his first-time living the U.S. When he was 12 his family moved to San Clemente, CA. He was influenced by the psych garage rock scene that was bursting open at the seams. Ty Segall’s drummer, who went to the same high school as Vicuña, was a huge musical influence on him. Although he lived in Southern California for a short time — he moved back to the Philippines when he was 15 — Vicuña lived the O.C life, skating and playing in a punk band.
His father was a huge influence on him, too. He was open to popular music and listened to the Cure, Depeche Mode, Nirvana and more. Vicuña would go through his CDs and choose what he would listen to by how much he liked the album cover “My mom is a Christian. I think she is filled with fear. I guess a lot of religious people have a lot of fear. My dad didn’t care though. My dad likes Nirvana and stuff like that,” says Vicuña. “The one thing they got me into was new wave music. They liked the Smiths, the Cure, and Depeche Mode.”
Having endured a difficult life, Vicuña developed PTSD and anger issues. This led him to seek therapy to get mentally healthy. “In my mid-20s I started getting therapy because I developed PTSD. I was kind of living in the hood, so a lot of times I would get robbed or jumped for no reason. And when I was a little kid I was raped.” The pathological side of these traumas began to surface in his late-20’s. He would get into fights and bury his emotions which caused him a lot of pain. “Therapy helped me a lot. It helped me make sense of all my anger and where my issues were coming from. In therapy, you get to the root of the problem. It’s definitely made more conscious of the words I’m putting out,” says Vicuña. “I don’t want to put out bad vibes out into the air. I want to make music to make people feel good.” The song “Toxic Masculinity” from his newest album Sensitive G is evidence of this shift.
Since Eyedress became a father, his priorities have changed significantly, too. The image he projected into the world of using drugs and partying isn’t quite his life anymore. “When my daughter was born, I wasn’t necessarily ready to be a father. The album reflects all the changes that I had to go through to get ready and responsible for my daughter. Me and my baby momma split up like a month ago and I’m still going through it, you know?” The only thing that matters for Vicuña is to be present in his daughter’s life, work on himself, and create music.
Eyedress is going to perform at the Observatory June 6th. He will also be at the Fonda Theater in L.A on June 8th. For tickets or for more dates, click here.
I like to stare at my computer. Occasionally I type words to pass the time. Those words are usually about music.