Marmoset artist, ePP cultivates community through his music — his latest album There’s a Place for People Like You carries a message of togetherness, to aspire for the best while hoping others make it too. Each song is magnetically intimate, a close up account of what makes him tick.
While his latest compilation can be categorized as hip hop and rap, his love and pursuit of rock music shouldn’t be minimized; it’s something he still invests his creative energy into, a part of the roadmap that defines his present arrival.
Stepping outside the boundaries of what others expect or require of him, ePP stays true to his message of authenticity. He doesn’t make music to fulfill what others envision for him — instead embracing hardships, channeling them into creative expression not merely for creative accolades but for others seeking solace or comforting resonation.
Sitting down to chat with us, we’re even bigger fans of ePP now than ever. Read on to learn more:
Marmoset: Hey ePP, thanks for sitting down to chat with us. With your latest record, There’s A Place for People Like You now on our roster, we wanted to dig a bit more into your background, influences and where you’re heading. Looking back at your origins, you moved to Portland from Georgia, right?
ePP: Yes, that's right. I always kind of dabbled in making music but I didn’t really start recording until I was in high school. It wasn’t until college when I was sitting down in class and I was like, “I don’t want to be here.” I don’t want to say it would have been a waste but in the long run, what I want to do and how I want to impact people’s lives and my own life has nothing to do with a piece of paper saying, ‘hey good job.’
Marmoset: Can you take us through what it looked like getting started in music?
ePP: I wrote my first song when I was 11 years old, I didn’t know what I was doing. I had like a Casio keyboard and was just playing some stuff. Fast forward to high school, there’s like a really close friend of mine, he made beats and then we met with some kids from Vancouver who were into skating. So we had that in common. It started with meeting up with another crew of kids and it’w how I got started writing rock music, because it was my favorite genre. So 16, 17, I was straight up writing alternative rock stuff, maybe what you’d call hardcore stuff as well.
Marmoset: It’s like you realized you had something to directly offer back to your community through your own art.
ePP: Yeah, definitely. I agree with that. That’s kind of where my head was at. When you’re young especially — I don’t come from a family that says, oh you need to go to college in order to do something — it’s more about finding the route you want to go and my family still saying, ‘ we support you.’ Needless to say, I came from a very supportive family — kind of confused, like ‘eh is this really what you want to do — but still definitely had the support that led me down the road to doing what I want to do.
Marmoset: Were there other people in your family that were involved in music?
ePP: No, nobody. My 16 year old cousin who’s going to school in France right now is the only other person who’s musically inclined. I mean, growing up music was always playing, it was always around. But no one in my family really liked to play music.
Marmoset: With your new album, There’s a Place for People Like You being hip hop and rap orientated, could you share more about your interest in rock music? What attracts you to that genre specifically?
ePP: Rock music in general I’ve just always connected with it. And there was a time where a black kid coming up, it was frowned up pretty much; like ‘you’re trying to be a white boy etc. etc.’. But no that’s not it, it’s just what I like, it’s just music at the end of the day. And it’s what I connected with.
Marmoset: It sounds like you really have a good circle of friends but always looking ahead and trying to connect with your community. How does staying connected with people and being open to collaboration mean to you?
ePP: You know, people will hit me up through a DM on Instagram like, ‘hey man, I’m in this band or I play this instrument and would love to meet up’ — and I think, why not? Because there’s going to be a time when no one’s going to want to do shit with me. That’s just the progression of life. There’s going to come a time when your friends no longer hit you up because they’re parents now and they don’t have the same time. So while I have the opportunity to be part of cool stuff, I’m going to be a part of as much music related situations as I can.
Marmoset: Living in Portland, Oregon, there’s a lot of change on the music front end. How do you see your music contributing to the community?
ePP: I’ve definitely seen that change happen firsthand. You know, 10 years ago I wasn’t in a group or anything at the time but I was still kind of doing music, you know I was young so I was just working a regular job. The way it was then, if you were better than other people, others were kind of jaded, jealous and weird. And I think it helped me and the group of people I was working with to make us better, because we knew there were only a handful of people who would help other artists answer questions.
I have a very open phone policy, like if you have questions or if there’s anything I can do to help, I wanna be that person. I don’t want to be closed off. Any artist who comes in and asks questions, I’m always willing to listen and do all I can to help. And it’s never ‘oh I did this and I did that’ for me. I check in, I go to shows. Because I really want to be there and I really believe in the people that are performing, I just want to help as much as I can really.
Marmoset: We love your spirit in that kind of coming together, sticking together.
ePP: Well, that’s the only way. I had like that conversation recently. It was just about how the only way that things will get better, the only reason why this is community has gotten better is because people realize, ‘ let’s get off this ego shit, let’s work together, let’s progress.’
It’s about saying, ‘cool, this person’s a lesson learned in how they got to their spot’ instead of being jealous. No one wants to deal with a jealous person, you can come up together and there’s enough money for everyone to get. You know, if you don’t like someone that’s fine, I know some people don’t like me, I don’t care. You know, I’m out for everyone. But the people who do appreciate me and rock with me, that’s what it is.
You can form and build community by being inclusive, not trying to act like gatekeepers — that’s how things should be at least in my eyes.
Marmoset: We agree, it’s a good thing to practice, just applying it day to day. It’s kind of humbling in a way to remember we all share a space.
ePP: It’s really humbling. You look at bigger cities like LA — so many people I know directly who are rivals but they all work together because they realize we can all grow from this if we stop trying to segregate. Portland’s already a really white city, you don’t need me to tell you that, you already know that. But regardless, I’m going to get mine so if I can help people get there too, that to me means way more.
It’s never been about the money. I don’t care about that shit, it’s all about making good music and adding to the community — not taking away. It’s like a real cultural thing.
Marmoset: What’s the story behind the title of your new album There’s a Place for People Like You?
ePP: I’m going through a lot, some of my closest friends have also been through some really tragic and tumultuous things. I pretty much scrapped two iterations of the album that I had; I really want to write from an honest, transparent place and I wanted the beats to match that. We all have days where we feel like shit and then we have days ‘I’m a bad bitch’ you can’t tell me anything. And I think I wanted to encompass that in the album — to make it feel and sound like a movie. Even though the songs are different, I wanted everything to blend and be cohesive at the same time.
Because I feel like the stuff that I went through, if I can be honest and talk about it, I know that someone else is going to relate to it too. And it’s never been about ‘what are my listeners going to like’. The people who like my music already will like my music — because it’s honest music. And I think we’re in a time where making honest music is at an all time high.
Also when you get older, you realize ‘hey this is what I’m good at’ I should stick to it and write it out, regardless of the hardships and everything that comes with it. But that’s just life and what is life without experiences and a story to tell.