Eric Biddines knew early on that music was what he wanted to do with his life. In South Florida, he grew up brewing coffee for his mom in the morning, and he took a liking to the local culture outside of drugs and violence. I got a chance to speak with Eric about his latest album, The Local Cafe, on which he invites listeners to join him for a cup of coffee and learn about his community.

How have fans been responding to The Local Cafe since you dropped it last month?

The feedback has been really positive. I’ve been more impressed by the compliments on the production because I produced, like, seven tracks on there. Everybody is really understanding the theme.

I noticed the spoken word between songs. Was that all your writing?

Oh yeah, 100% my writing on everything other than when you see a couple of features — that’s local people. Everything was locally made in there. I wanted to help tie together the concept, and I was impressed that I didn’t have to do much explaining to the fans.

Photos by Markie Escalante

In one of your interviews, you mentioned the album representing you being a barista and connecting with your community. Can you talk about that?

The local cafe has such a homegrown feel anywhere you go, and most of the time, the manager or the barista — whoever is making coffee for the people in the local mom-and-pop chain or small business, which is something else we want to show our support for — they have a feel for and contact with the people around them in the community.

I wanted to put myself in that mindset as the artist and narrator of the project — that I’m actually making this cup of coffee personally for everybody that’s listening, so when you listen, no matter where you’re from, you feel like you’re part of the community and where I am.

A few of my favorites were “20 Dollar Loan,” “Coffee Love,” “Rushing Forever,” and “Whole Trunk”

Yeah, we’re shooting “Coffee Love” tomorrow. “Whole Trunk” was a favorite — I produced that one. “Rushing Forever” — that’s the one we’re pushing right now. I just shot that video, but the video didn’t come out yet. Probably in about a month.

I love the fluidity of the album.

I have always been a fan of albums like that. I’m an album person. I could never understand an artist who is known by one song. I don’t have super high energy, then drop too low. I don’t like albums like that. A lot of albums, if it’s cohesive, either one producer made it or they didn’t go too far outside of a particular key — little stuff like that will make me play it to beginning to end.

What about your writing process?

If I produce something, it will start from the beat. I always make something that I at least know I can flow on. Then I’ll write something around it and arrange it.

When it’s another producer, I like them to bring it complete. Let me see what you thought the transition should be. Do everything, and when you give it to me and it’s arranged, I can write and tailor it to what I could do. It’s more of a collaboration then, which is exciting for me ’cause then it’s like a format.

So, why coffee?

When I was six or seven, my mom would wake up in the morning to go to work, and I would make her coffee. I became curious and started making my own cup. It wasn’t until I was like 13 that I realized I really like coffee. Everybody knew that I was a person that liked coffee. Now, in the last five years, coffee turned into a specialty where people are appreciating the beans. It’s starting to peak like wine.

Then I did planetcoffeebean, the first one, and I just wanted to create this world. I needed to connect that world with something about me, but without saying my name. I just picked this planet shaped like a coffee bean with rings around it like Saturn. That’s when I came up with planetcoffeebean and just kept that theme going. After we started being persistent with it, people felt like they already knew me.

Was there anything else you wanted to add, maybe a message to the fans?

Definitely stay on the look out for “Elephant Wings” and the ever-evolving sound. I’ll never do the same thing twice. You get comfortable and you don’t want to see your favorite artist change, so I think it’s important that if you feel you’re an evolving human, you let people know that’s how you are — that way when you do switch it up, it’s not a surprise.

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Eric Biddines