Eric Biddines Talks About His MTV Hit "Railroads Down/Unfinished"
You do not turn to adjust your set. The stations have not been renumbered. It is not a local channel you accidentally landed on playing Palm Beach rapper Eric Biddines's new video. You are in fact watching MTV Jams which has put Biddines's "Railroads Down/Unfinished" in heavy rotation.
The song, off his 2013 album Planetcoffeebean 2, with its Southern roots and playful samples is earning him comparisons to Outkast. Which is one of the ultimate compliments.
New Times caught up with the homegrown favorite who is in a bit of shock over his newfound yet long-time-coming fame. Excited about his future, Biddnes discussed the making of the video, his further explorations of Planetcoffeebean, and researching professional basketball players.
New Times: Congratulations, on your new video for "Railroads Down/Unfinished" being put on MTV Jams. How has the response been?
Eric Biddines: Incredible. I couldn't see this coming until five years from now. Nobody from Palm Beach had ever made it on MTV. A lot of network program directors, PR people have been reaching out to me. Baron Davis, the basketball player tweeted something real cool to me. I don't follow sports, but one of my homeboys was like, "Yo, Baron Davis one of the best point guards in the game likes you." I had to Wikipedia him, but it's real cool for an athlete to mention me.
How did the slave plantation theme for the video come about?
When I made the song, I originally had the idea for an African beat with live instrumentation. From there, I went to a scene and a scenario with runaway slaves and if we're going to do that we need a plantation. Luckily, we went out west of Jupiter and someone actually had everything we needed, even the dog.
Ryan Snyder directed it. Once he heard the song and lyrics he came up with a complete tech list and really wanted to capture the story of a slave escaping. When you hear the chains breaking he added that which gives it a completely different perspective.
When New Times caught up with you last year it was before Planetcoffebean 2 came out and you said you recorded 50 songs, but that album only had 12 tracks. What happened to the other 38 songs?
Five of those songs are going on this new project Elephant Wings that we're probably going to release... I don't even know right now. We're going to see where this video takes us. It was supposed to be a transition, but now it got picked up by MTV and there's so much interest on my catalog that's currently taking place. But yeah, I got all those songs and I'm in love with recording so I got a lot more too. I'm 200 songs deeps now. I'm set until 2017.
What inspires all these songs?
I would say the greatest inspiration, and I hope this makes sense, is having the cushion to be able to make music the way I want to. There's nothing more uninspiring than being forced to be inspired. I let my ideas flow, I don't have any deadlines or expectations.
How did you come up with the title Elephant Wings?
You know, I got the Planetcoffeebean, that's my own planet I created. I love science fiction like Avatar, anything that is out of this world. On this Planetcoffeebean there's this legendary invincible creature called the Elephant. I named the project after that animal. The further we get into my catalog in the next few years, you will start learning more about Planetcoffeebean, the creatures, the landmarks.
You're performing this Sunday at Propaganda. What can we expect at the show?
Makiin, who is like a sister to me, has set up this benefit concert that she brings out all these artists annually. Everyone comes far from it and I'm happy to be a part of it to be in the giving back situation. It's all ages with $10 admission. I'll probably do a few new songs. It's my first show back at home since doing South by Southwest and all the TV things.
How do you prepare for a live show?
I know it sounds backwards, but I can't listen to my music too close to the show because it makes me forget the words. It's happened to me a few times. If I start overthinking it and rehearsing it you get constricted when you're on the stage. Sometimes I will work on my improvising and my transitions to tailor it for the actual event. So I'll work on my dialogue and my chemistry with the audience a little bit.
Eric Biddines with Makiin, April 27, at Propaganda, 6 S J St., Lake Worth. Visit facebook.com/PropagandaLakeWorth.