credit: Gilbert Trejo
Twenty-year-old artist EKKSTACY had already dealt with a lifetime of
depression and anxiety before a severe mental health episode at age
17 led him to drug-induced psychosis and a suicide attempt. As he
bounced back, EKKSTACY immersed himself in music. “I really needed
something like an outlet,” he says, “because I didn't have anybody. So I
started writing.” Already a fan of the SoundCloud rap that had blown up
in his early teens, he now binged on moody indie rock with the same
intensity, in his downtime between shifts at an Amazon warehouse.
Working alone and teaching himself as he went, EKKSTACY channeled
his musical obsessions and PTSD into songs with brutally honest lyrics
about self-harm and sadness, and slate-grey production that recalls
early-80s post-punk. When he began posting tracks like his
breakthrough single “i walk this earth all by myself” to streaming
services, he found an eager audience awaiting him. When a friend
crunched the numbers and told EKKSTACY he was making enough
money from Spotify to pay his rent, he quit his job the same day.
Programming descriptions are generated by participants and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of SXSW.