The first thing you hear on Jeida Woods’ new EP is the song ‘Stay Away.’ Reversed synths, heavy bass, and loud drums work together with Jeida’s driving melodic flows. Instantly, the title HIVE makes sense. These are the components of his artistry coming together like bees to build a utopia of a debut project.
The concept of HIVE is much deeper than just combining styles throughout the EP’s 7 tracks. It embodies the Sydney-based songwriter’s growth, as he pours out his feelings on tracks like ‘Selfless’ and ‘Skin.’ It details the journey of an artist about to enter his prime, evident in flurrying ballads like ‘Ultraviolet’ and club-ready bangers like the Jaecy-assisted ‘Goodbye.’ It also represents the community of Jeida Woods, encompassing his family, the producers (Lucianblomkamp, Chiveer, etc.) who helped set the sound for the project, and of course, us fans, as his open-book manner invites us into his world in a way that’s bound to resonate.
To celebrate the new EP, we hopped on a call with Jeida Woods to chat through the HIVE concept, his quest for growth, how traveling helps his songwriting process, and how he got his start playing Horror games.
Congratulations on the EP, my man. How are you feeling?
I feel good about it. I spent a lot of time on it; it’s about three years in the making. So getting it out is a relief, and now I want people to listen and enjoy.
Did it feel weird releasing your debut body of work in these odd times we’re living in?
Definitely, I was worried that it wasn’t the right time. But just thinking of the year and what we’ve all been through, I feel like it’s needed. Music is vital in stressful times. I got over that hurdle of being scared to release, and now I’m comfortable with it. I feel like the title HIVE represents things working together to create one cohesive vision.
What are the pillars that make up the hive of this debut project?
The reason I named it HIVE is because, without others to push me, I wouldn’t have been able to achieve these goals. Self-determination is definitely important, but I feel like it can only take you so far sometimes. So I think the pillars of growth and family are what I want the hive to be. When I first started this concept, I never really thought about the notion of family. But the more I began to make music and realise that the people who listen really feel a type of way, it made this journey feel like an inner-circle.
You’ve spoken about wanting to inspire change in yourself with this project. What do you feel like you needed to change?
I’ve always placed doubt and pressure on myself, and I’ve used those in the past as excuses to not do certain things and take certain opportunities. This EP is about how I’ve changed and morphed over the past 3 years into a better person. It’s about someone preparing to enter their prime.
That growth transition you’re describing is a pretty significant life experience. Is it daunting at all doing that in a public forum via your music?
I think music is the only way I can do it. It’s the only way I can express that I want to make a change in my life. Music is the catalyst for change in my life. It’s the way I will continue to change and grow because it feels 100% right. I’ve been scared about a lot of things in life, but my music isn’t one.
Now that the project is out, it kind of serves as a time capsule that proves your growth. But also, we can often be our own worst enemies. Are you able to look back on this creative journey and appreciate your accomplishments?
I guess it’s hard to say. Sometimes I look at it, and I feel like there’s so much more that could have been said and done. But at the same time, there’s a reason why I made those songs that I did, and why I’m putting it out now. It represents how I was in those times and how I’ve grown. It’s like I have doubts, but no doubts at the same time. One thing I am confident in, however, is
that people will be able to relate.
You came into this project with a lot of learning and wisdom from your everyday life, but what do you think you learned by recording the music itself?
I learned that life is tough, man. When I was younger, I thought things would be a lot easier than they actually are. Because of that, things are challenging, and it can be a struggle to get out of bed some days. But, life can also be super good or super crazy. So being able to realise that and put it through my music gives me a way to express myself without feeling awkward.
These learnings happen over a very dense, atmospheric sound throughout the project, and this brand of alternative R&B has become a driving force in music over the last decade. What is it about this sound that makes people gravitate to it?
I think it’s how the combination of different sounds can create a sense of atmosphere. This style almost transcends just the listening aspect and can make you feel like you’re in the song. When people hear my songs, I want them to look at them as separate movie scenarios where I’m the main character.
You’ve mentioned how you wrote ‘Selfless’ in L.A. Do you think your surroundings affect your songwriting process?
For sure, I was actually having this conversation a few days ago, and I’ve come to the realisation that I write my best when I’m going through something or when I’m traveling. And the music depending on where I travel. For example, when I go to Japan, I notice that the way I write is different from when I write in L.A., or Michigan, or here in Sydney. My ideal place to write would be somewhere with high mountains and fields. I’d love to create in Switzerland or someplace like that because it can open up your mind to ideas and stories.
I once saw you tweet that ‘your laptop has been your best friend for 5 years now’, and I think many musicians would feel the same, but not everyone reaches the same place you have. What’s your advice for those behind those laptops pursuing their musical journey?
I think the best thing to do is just start, even if it’s terrible. I got my start by having this Youtube channel where I played horror games, and every once in a while, I’d rap over Youtube beats. It all started with my laptop. Rapping over those Youtube beats made me realise I want to make music, and while initially, I sounded horrible, I kept it going. Technology is crazy these days with
how it can help you and bring like-minded people together, so just start and work it out along the way!
You’re one of the many talented acts blowing up in Australian music right now. What is it about this scene currently that makes it so unique?
I think because it’s driven by culture. Every artist I’ve seen coming up here brings the essence of their cultural background to the music. It’s incredible to see because while Australia is a multicultural place, it still feels divided in a sense and without an identity. So I love everything that’s happening right now.
Just lastly from me, what’s the plan for the rest of the year?
I want to work on music and make sure I’m making the best stuff. I also just want to focus on becoming a better person, achieving goals, and getting bigger.
Follow Jeida Woods here for more and check out his new EP HIVE below.