10 Questions With Erick The Architect As He Drops His Debut Solo Album ‘I’ve Never Been Here Before’

Multidimensional mastermind, Erick the Architect – real name Erick Arc Elliott – is ending February on a high note. Adding another notch to his already laden belt early today, the American rapper, producer, graphic designer and singer released his fiercely anticipated debut solo album, I’ve Never Been Here Before.

A double record co-produced by award-winning multi-instrumental musician James Blake, I’ve Never Been Here Before comprises sixteen heartfelt, personal and weighty tracks exploring themes that deeply resonate with The Architect, drawing from life-altering moments to shine a light on his innermost vulnerabilities. The thrilling soundtrack takes you on a whirlwind journey as it flows through an extensive array of sounds including hip-hop, soul, dub and psych to form a splendid mash-up of zesty, unique and razor-sharp beats. 

Teasing the album with jazz-centric single ‘Shook Up’ – which features Joey Bada$$ and R&B duo Farr – back in November, 2023, I’ve Never Been Here Before, arrives just in time to feed the appetites of his dedicated fanbase before he embarks on his Mandevillian world tour (his villain era) will run throughout 2024. The first leg is set to kick off over stateside at the end of March. But if you, like us, are sitting pretty on the other side of the pond, there’s no need to stress. The Architect’s majestic vocals are coming to London in early May before blasting off to Manchester and other major European cities. 

The 35-year-old artist has always been musically inclined, he’s proudly Brooklyn born and raised, growing up in Flatbush, which later inspired the name of his esteemed hip-hop trio, Flatbush Zombies, which he formed, alongside his best childhood mate Meechy Darko and Zombie Juice, all the way back in 2010. But, despite being both a founding member and the primary producer of the triptych, his solo work has never taken a back seat. With a plethora of acclaimed projects in his opus, including his Future Proof EP, appearing on Fader’s ‘Hanging Out With’ series and featuring on dance music sensation Jungle’s immense hit ‘Candle Flame’ he’s become a force to be reckoned with.  

Here, we pull up a chair to chat with Erick The Architect about his exciting new release, profound personal inspirations and what we can expect to see from him next. Keep your eyes peeled – where Erick the Architect is involved, it’s sure to be a good’un.

1. Where does your stage name come from? / Who is Erick the Architect?

“‘The Architect’ came from the character in The Matrix. That’s my favourite movie of all time and I thought the character ‘The Architect’ had such a sick premise. He built the Matrix and was watching everything that was going on in the world… I relate a lot to that kind of mentality as it pertains to music. Building and constructing ideas that grow…producing a song is a lot like that. Watching something that begins on paper, or in your mind, and watching it build into a construct as tall as a building.”

2. What song would be the soundtrack of your life?

“This is a difficult question because I feel different everyday.  If I had to choose one at this very moment it would probably be, ‘Empire Ants’ by Gorillaz & Little Dragon. It has a really chill part to start and then it has this really unexpected ending. Sounds like me!”

3. Could you describe what ‘I’ve Never Been Here Before’ represents to you in one sentence?

“You only get to experience something for the first time, once.

4. Which track from the album feels closest to your heart?

“I think “Breaking Point” gives me the most emotional reaction each time I play it. I’ve cried multiple times just playing it.”

5. What was your favourite part of growing up in Brooklyn?

“Easily the culture and the food. I was able to try all different kinds of foods because there’s a little of every culture in the world right there in New York City. Brooklyn has a lot of artistic energy and I feel like all of that lent into influencing me to experience life with a widened perspective. We have the best Jamaican food, besides food actually cooked in Jamaica, ha!”

6. What would you be doing in an alternate universe where you’re not making music?

“I would probably resume what I was doing before I decided to make music full time, graphic design. Sure, I still do it now quite often, but having it as my only job used to be part of my everyday life.”

7. If you could have a conversation with a fictional character, who would it be and what would you talk about?

“Amazing question – I’d probably go with ‘Homelander’ from The Boys. He’s a sick guy but I think I’d strike up some good conversations about what it’s like to have that much power.”

8. Who has made the biggest impact on your career?

“My mom. Her support has always made me feel like I could do anything I dream of doing.”

9. What advice would you give your 16-year-old self?

“Stay true to who you are because there will be so many versions of people who follow the herd, and only one of you.”

10. What’s next for you?

“I would love to get into producing/scoring films, doubling down and getting in front of the camera as an actor as well.”

Photography courtesy of Erick the Architect. 


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