August Wahh made it clear from the start that her new EP, Labyrinth was about getting oneself back together. “[These songs] are about bringing yourself out of depression,” she said over the mic before they played the songs in Limbo Gallery. “I know it sounds sad, but I’m just being real, man.”
August was the vocalist of neo-soul band Chocolate Grass. They had one album titled Magic Hour, and their self-titled EP is on their Bandcamp page. Now, August is a solo artist who has sung in BP Valenzuela’s track “bb girl,” DJs, and now, collaborated with CRWN for Labyrinth (which she said took two years on and off).
The EP has five tracks with whimsical beats and sad-but-hopeful lyrics—the type of songs you can jive and cry to at the same time. After the listening party, we had the chance to pick at August’s brain to find out the creative process and her mindset while writing songs for the record.
What’s the idea behind Labyrinth and is there a central theme to the songs?
Me and CRWN, we’ve known each other from like the scene. I kinda just went up with him and I said, “Hey I wanna work with you.” He agreed and I got really depressed for like two years. So last year, I left and wrote all of the songs. The EP art and the merch I’m selling, I painted all of those. Basically, off of what I was going through during my depression.
How is this project different from your previous stuff?
I was in a band called Chocolate Grass. I wrote the lyrics for that, which was very personal. Also, I felt super comfortable with King because we’re both from Davao. The funny part about that is a few months after we started together, we found out that our families were actually connected. Like, my dad grew up with his dad—so it made it more personal. We’re really good friends—we always girl talk and sh*t. Then the idea happened that we should make a breakup EP.
How was it collaborating with CRWN on the EP? What the creative process like?
Seamless. Effortless. I worked with other producers before and it was very, like, meticulous. Ours was like, he’ll do a beat one day and I write on the spot.
You mentioned you were part of Chocolate Grass, now you’re a solo artist and a DJ. What do you do to keep yourself from burning out in the years you’ve been doing music?
I leave Manila! I go to my province, General Santos.
How has your work ethic changed while working on Labyrinth?
I’ve been doing the same thing. But this one I feel like King emphatized with me—he went through it with me. Instead of a producer-singer relationship, we were on the same page.
You opened for Erykah Badu’s show in Manila. Has her music influenced yours in any way and did you get any advice from when you met her?
Not really. It’s funny because when people started hearing about me, they always compared me to her. And I never listened to her. Of course now I love her, man! She’s my queen, you know? Because people were like, “Yo, you sound like her.” I was like, “Who’s this b*tch?!” [Laughs] That was way before I did Chocolate Grass.
What can you say about the status of women in music here in the Philippines?
I’m very opinionated about this because for one—and this is just my opinion—a lot of girls are f*cking good! A lot of female artists that are crazy good. And people don’t pay any attention because they’re like, “Oh, no, someone co-wrote it for them” or “Someone produced it for them.” The reason why I started all of this sh*t is because I was pissed at that. I wanted to show that we can do it, you know? Most importantly, don’t be scared about expressing your feelings because they’re always valid [and] it’s not a sign of weakness.
Do you have any shows and more new music we should look forward to?
We’re working on a couple things and planning some gigs locally—to be announced.
Labyrinth will be out on all streaming platforms next week.
Photo courtesy of August Wahh’s Instagram account
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