EP Review: Eaves Wilder – ‘Hookey’ — When The Horn Blows

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Eaves Wilder releases his debut EP ‘Hookey’.

Eaves Wilder has been playing the piano since he was 8 years old. At 16, he began recording, producing, and releasing his own music.

Now, all the debut EPs are finally out. “Hookey” is released by Secretly Canadian, a record deal he waited until he was 18 to sign, since it wouldn’t be “cool” for his mom to sign him.

Co-produced by Andy Savors (Arctic Monkeys, Black Country, New Road and Rina Sawayama), the EP consists of 4 tracks. “I Stole Your Jumper”, “Morning Rain”, “Connect the Rooms” and “Are You Diagnosed”, which was praised by BBC Radio 1 in the “next wave/future artist” session.

Throughout the EP, the London-born and bred singer tells her story thus far, from heartbreak to mental health.

“Hookey is basically about sleep. I spent most of my teenage years playing Hookey in the music room at school. That’s where I wrote songs and learned to play instruments,” says Aleros.

“’Are you diagnosed?’ it was literally written in the middle of my GCSE French class, and I remember mixing my first demos of ‘Morning Rain’ under my desk in sixth form. Through lyrics, production or melody, the main thing is always to add as many hooks as possible, or how can I expect people to listen? My internal dialogue when writing or improvising is MAKE IT MORE HOOKEY!!!! Each song is kind of a different perspective of where I was and why I wasn’t in school, it shows a progression. It started in the hospital when I couldn’t speak my mind and ended with the decision to share the secret songs I had been making.

One of his most personal songs is “Are You Diagnosed”, inspired by his experience with the British mental health service CAMHS (Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services). “I first entered CAMHS when I was eleven years old. Although they finally helped me, and I left at fifteen, ‘Are you diagnosed?’ it’s basically a stream of consciousness, screaming for help, ranting/reporting about what it’s like in those awful silent waiting rooms and consulting rooms.

Since CAHMS is so dangerously underfunded by the government, the deal is: the closer you are to death, the higher up the waiting list you go. Which on average is around 16 months. And people with eating disorders are competitive anyway, so it’s very easy to look around the waiting room and think, “I need to be the sickest person here.” I need to get… sicker than the girl with the bandages on her arms or the tube in her nose, or I’ll never get treatment. I’m going to make my way up that list.

The key is to get your diagnosis. There is no treatment until diagnosis. You don’t know what’s happening to you. And many people doubt that you are sick anyway. They (friends, family, teachers) think you’re making it all up, I think that’s easier for them. And so the biggest question is, over and over again: “Are you diagnosed? Are you diagnosed?

In a recent interview for The Independent, she confesses that she didn’t see herself as a singer and was ashamed to share her lyrics. With her confinement, she had all the free time and online resources to learn how to produce and perform her own music.

Drawing inspiration from all manner of artists, from Paul McCartney, Al Green, Marvin Gaye to female lead singers like Courtney Love (Hole), he dedicates “Connect the Rooms” to one of his inspirations, Kathleen Hanna (Bikini Kill, Le Tigre).

The anticipation to see where the EP’s release will lead is highly anticipated by critics, as NME has included Eaves on their ‘100 List’ of 2023.

It was only in February that he performed live for the first time. With two more concerts scheduled in London and Cambridgeshire, we look forward to what’s to come!

words for Gabriela Simionato

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