Listening to AUGUST 08’s debut EP Father feels like an amazing session at your therapist’s office. The velvety voice of AUGUST 08 (real name, August Grant) gently floats over the tracks’ soulful instrumentals, sending you to a place in your head you had long buried.
The title of the eight-track EP references August’s fractured relationship with his father and the songs form an outlet for the frustrations he faced growing up and the demons he battled along the way.
It took August six months to put Father together, “although the first four songs took two days”. We had a conversation with the singer-songwriter, who is signed to Red Bull Records and 88rising, about his struggle with depression, his relationship with his family, and the creation of Father.
What would you say was the most difficult part about recording Father?
It was difficult coming to terms with my emotions and actually deciding that I want to feel every emotion, like I want to listen to these songs and say that it’s ok to cry to these given dynamics.
Was it very difficult to crystallise into words what you felt about your father?
Yes, it was incredibly difficult but once I got over the hump of being able to talk about it, the words just started to flow.
What did you learn about yourself after you finished Father?
I learned that I need to be closer to my family, and that I’m stronger than I thought I was.
Would you ever consider repairing your relationship with your father?
Absolutely, absolutely. If he was down to have a conversation and really get to the bottom of everything and all the issues we have I’m super open. I think family is very important and you can’t live life without good family and good friends. So I would love to repair any issues I have in my life, especially with my father.
How is your relationship with your mother?
I love my mother, I love her, she is beautiful. She is an amazing person and she has always supported me through everything. She bought me my first drum set. She made sure I was taken care of as a child and as an adult she still takes care of me. She’s a wonderful, wonderful person.
When I was listening to your EP, I could feel the emotions oozing out from every word you sang. Was there any particular album you listened to your in life that made you feel the same way I did?
There are two albums that did that to me. Kid Cudi’s Man on the Moon and an EP titled Ghost Lady by a group called Cocaine 80s, which had James Fauntleroy in it. The latter changed my life; it literally got me through.
Kid Cudi has a very well documented struggle with depression. Is that something that you struggle with as well?
Yes I used to be very depressed, but I kind of fought it. I still struggle with it sometimes but I managed to break that habit. I’m really happy at this point in my life. I have a lot of work to do and a lot of things I want to accomplish but I’ve learned to let things happen in ways that they are supposed to happen, you know?
What other issues were you grappling with when you were dealing with these mental health issues?
My place in life, being young and not knowing what I wanted to do with my life, and trying to find an outlet for these emotions that I have. That was the biggest battle – finding an outlet. I come from a really bad area in Los Angeles and trying to find an outlet to be creative is a very difficult thing to do there.
“I want people to know that it’s ok to be an emotional person and that it’s ok to not always be perfect. You’re beautiful in your right. Sometimes that beauty only shows after you had had the time and the experiences.”
How do you think your background growing up in this neighborhood in LA informed you as a songwriter and as a person?
It’s an interesting question because I used to say that it didn’t. But actually it did without me knowing. It gave me a perspective on relationships, love, trust and trust issues. It made me a strong and determined person.
Lyrically I’m visceral because I always wanted an escape and music was that, so where I came from affected my lyrics. I always write them based on the things that happened in my life.
What do you want people to take away from the EP after listening to it?
I want people to know that it’s ok to be an emotional person and that it’s ok to not always be perfect. You’re beautiful in your right. Sometimes that beauty only shows after you had had the time and the experiences.
What’s next for you now after Father?
We are all going on the 88 Degrees and Rising tour starting September. We’re also playing a festival called Head in the Clouds that’s happening in Los Angeles on 22 September. After that tour I’m dropping another project, another EP, so look out for it.
When are you going to come to Singapore?
As soon as I can. I want to come so bad; I heard it’s amazing where you’re at.