Swedish Musician Ecco2K Drops a Surprise Solo Album (and an Extreme New Look)

Ecco2k Merch

Zak Arogundade is a man in perpetual motion. “I kind of just accepted the fact that it’s never really going to slow down from here,” said the Swedish wunderkind when we caught up with him in 2016. That was an accurate prediction. At the time Arogundade was working as a designer for Eytys in Stockholm and performing as Ecco2K with the Drain Gang (formerly Gravity Boys). Since then he’s hit the road—and the runway, having been cast to walk for Alyx by Matthew Williams.

“I first met Zak many years ago when he was just beginning making music,” the designer tells Vogue. “Zak has always been into fashion, I ran into him at fabric fairs in Paris and I loved his personal style, [which] was always unique and has lots of energy. We kept in touch and when we had our first runway show I invited [him] to walk.”

Having walked, Arogundade set out to roam. E, the surprise album he’s dropping today, was recorded in Stockholm, Berlin, Los Angeles, London, Falun, and Bangkok. The only geography Arogundade explores, however, is an internal one which is distinguished by dramatic peaks and valleys. “I still feel like a manic perfectionist,” the artist says, “but my idea of perfection has changed as I’ve gotten to know myself better. I let chaos back in. That’s what allowed E to happen.”

The lyrics explore the differences between perception and reality and our social versus inner selves, topics that are particularly relevant to the moment. In “Security!” Arogundade poses an interesting question: “What would you ask if you had one wish? / If you could choose only one thing to fix?”

Arogundade is known for playing with his appearance and he says he uses fashion to project “outward what I feel inside. It’s real.” Asked what his style is, he replies, “[you] could call it Graceful Brutality or…Combat Ballerina.” It’s been a while since the artist traded his signature colored braids for a more streamlined look, complete with a shaved head. “I cut my hair off when I left my day-job designing shoes,” Arogundade explains.

“I guess it was some kind of Britney moment. Also, I like the idea of remaining a blank canvas…all decoration is stripped off.” The album art takes that idea in a new direction—the artist looks like he’s dipped himself in plaster or white paint. While E touches on universal themes, it’s also an extremely personal album by an artist who is increasingly in the public eye.

“People have always looked at me,” said Arogundade, who is of mixed heritage (his father is British of Nigerian descent, his mother is Swedish). “Growing up where I grew up, and looking the way that I looked, there was always a very obvious difference between me and everybody else who was around.” (“All of my friends have blue eyes,” Arogundade sings with some humor on E.)

Though he’s embraced difference as a strength, the artist reveals his vulnerability on these tracks. “I feel like I’m flying and sinking at the same time,” he sings as he explores his subconscious—a feeling that’s given sonic expression by executive producer’s Gud’s tinkling soundscapes (which will be familiar to fans of Yung Lean’s “Yoshi City.”

Despite its “atmospheric production,” this isn’t music for somnambulists; there’s a sense of urgency even to the dreamy tracks. And there is variety. “Time, ” for instance, evokes the sweaty, beyond-tired feeling of a magical night fading into morning. “It’s pixie music,” Arogundade says.

Stream E here.

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