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Interview

AUGUST 08 Is Your ‘Emotional Cuh’

By Donna-Claire Chesman on

AUGUST 08 does not fear his emotions. The EMOTIONAL CUH, as the Los Angeles native dubs himself on his newest project, has a heart of gold and a bellowing voice. Best known for his work with Smino, GoldLink, and his label, 88rising—home to Joji, Rich Brian, Higher Brothers, and more—AUGUST won’t let his feelings define him. Instead, they are fuel.

EMOTIONAL CUH is AUGUST’s third project, following 2019’s Happy Endings with an Asterisk and 2018 debut FATHER, which was dedicated to unpacking the “father issues” plaguing both him and kids who grew up like him. It was a self-reckoning, but also a light. The soundscapes on EMOTIONAL CUH are more bombastic compared to previous releases, but the message remains giving.

Day Trip” is the apex of EMOTIONAL CUH. AUGUST 08 admits to his “sins,” to being broken and using alcohol to cope whilst losing himself to his vices. The production and vocal performance are grandiose and all-consuming. “Day Trip” feels like a trek through AUGUST’s worst days—not flying through the high, but rather, laying in the room with the lights down low and heads spinning from the hangover. EMOTIONAL CUH is the soundtrack to coming to terms with your flaws.

The last time we spoke, we talked about the importance of being able to cry and have emotions. The new project is called EMOTIONAL CUH. Sounds like you’ve stuck to that truth, huh?

The emotion going into this one was… It’s not the same concept of FATHER, but more so the realization of, I’ll say, “thug tears.” As I grew from FATHER, and as I grow from every project, I realize how much of an emotional person I actually am once I allow myself to be. Everyone around me calls me emotional anyway, and that’s how we got the EMOTIONAL CUH title. Once I allowed those feelings, I started to understand myself on another level.

Do you love all your emotions?

Shit… I’m not gonna say I wish I could turn them all off. I think they’re all necessary and play a key part in your life. You gotta appreciate and push through them all.

At what moment did you realize you were making another project and not just a collection of songs?

I always set out intentions to make projects. We went to Malibu and worked out of this studio house. Seven bedrooms and a studio. We partied a lot and made EMOTIONAL CUH. It was the most random thing ever to make an emotional project while having 20 people cooking food and swimming, doing crazy shit, and then having EMOTIONAL CUH.

How did the pandemic impact the making of EMOTIONAL CUH? Did it fuck anything up for you?

For damn sure! EMOTIONAL CUH should’ve been out, but the pandemic pushed us to December, which I’m happy for. We were able to think up new concepts and visuals, and I better understand what I was trying to push with this project.

Have you changed since quarantine?

I’ve changed because I’ve tapped into myself more, doing therapy, and understanding myself. Not neglecting the other sides of myself. When the world was fully open, I was just partying with the homies and making music. The pandemic caused me to stop making music and focus on myself. I was at the crib, within myself.

At first, it was depression; then it started to become understanding. I worked through a lot of shit. Once I come out of this pandemic, I’m gonna be happy because I’ve worked through life-long issues within a year’s time.

Shout out therapy!

Therapy is beautiful.

Which song on EMOTIONAL CUH was most difficult to put together, and how did you overcome those hardships?

I don’t think it really works like that for us. The song that touched me the most was “21.” We finished “21” three weeks ago. We shot a video for it a few days ago. It’s impactful because it speaks about one of my friend’s DJs, who was killed through gang violence.

Now that EMOTIONAL CUH is out in the world, what details do you hope fans pick up on?

I want people to go back to understanding songs. I don’t want them to not understand what we trying to do sonically. I hope they pay attention to the lyrics but want them to appreciate the musicality. We really went there. The musical effort… I want them to hear it for what it is, and take it all in. There’s layers and layers of instruments. I’m super happy with it.

Finally, as 2020 comes to a close, what intentions do you want to set for 2021?

I wanna drop another project in early 2021. I don’t know if that’s EMOTIONAL CUH 2, or what, but I’m trying to drop early. Not January, because that’s tomorrow. But by, like, March or April.

Are you scared of burning out?

I was about to say, “What’s burning out mean?”

That’s a beautiful thing.

I was born to make music and to do this. The people who burn out are not understanding their own emotions and are neglecting themselves. They burn out and get writer’s block because they haven’t been tending to their own personal life needs. That’s what I’ve been doing: trying to grow myself.

Photos by Natalie Hewitt.

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