August 08 on his solo career, songwriting and latest EPs
by Alexis Watkins
Twangy chords, melodic verses and heavy R&B instrumentals are exactly what you’ll hear when listening to singer-songwriter August 08’s latest project, “Seasick.”
The California native is best known for his collaborations with major artists including Justin Bieber and Shawn Mendes, but is now garnering attention for his own music, which he’s been making for himself since 2017.
It wasn’t until the pandemic that August began working on the two EPs that make up his newest project, “Seasick.” The first seven-track EP, “Towards The Sun,” debuted in late May. Now, the second six-track EP, “Towards The Moon,” is finally here. The thematic journey of “Towards The Moon” differs from that of “Towards The Sun” because “it’s more emotional,” according to August.
“It's just honestly a further climb and a deeper tie into those emotions, with harder hitting drums, beautiful moments, and beautiful strings,” he said. Prior to the pandemic, the artist rarely spent any time by himself. However, quarantine provided August with much-needed alone time, which allowed him to dive deeper into his emotions in the comfort of his home.
“I just had to channel that inner emotional tie to myself, and just let it all go,” August continued.
August primarily produced the split project himself, which isn’t surprising considering that song writing and producing are two things he’s very familiar with.
“I produced a lot of my beats in the early phases and I had my friends be a part of it,” he said. “The early phase of the project is just me sucking at music for a long time until I figure out if something is worth doing.”
There isn’t one particular place where August likes to write music. He has written songs in the. shower, in the car — and even on the toilet. Though the birthplace of most of his songs have been in the heat of summertime in a garage.
For August, there’s a big difference between writing his own songs and writing songs for others. For a while, he tried to follow producer and songwriter briefs, but ultimately felt that it restricted him creatively.
“I started studying artists and learning that as a songwriter, you have to be observant of music,” August explained. “You have to be someone who understands what comes next, but as an artist, I dont give a fuck what’s next. I’m making whatever the hell I want to make. However that sounds to me and wherever that place comes from, people are going to feel it.”
In the past, August felt like songwriting wasn’t who he was anymore, which made him realize that he was ready to become a solo artist. In his opinion, every musician wants to have control of their own creative direction.
“When you start it’s not a group, like establishing yourself as a musician in a band or anything,” he said. “You have to have your own euphoric moment that ties you to that instrument or vocal thing — whatever that is.”
Being a songwriter for other artists was a stepping stone on August’s path to discovering that he wanted to take his own career as a singer seriously.
“Songwriting was a way for me to be able to experiment with everything, and to get to this place where I can just make whatever the hell I want to make,” he said. “Songwriting isn't fun for me because I think that I have a message that I want to get across, versus what I want to give to someone else.”
August has previously released other albums, including “FATHER” and “EMOTIONAL CUH,” but the creation of “Towards The Sun” and “Towards The Moon” felt different. Before signing with Def Jam, August said that he felt like he had to fit himself inside of a certain box.
“With Def Jam, they were like, ‘We like you as an artist, and we like who you are. Just do what the hell you want to do, and come back with something,’ and I literally did that,” August said. “There was no pushback on anything, on any record.”
It was also Def Jam’s idea to split the project into two parts, as they felt that choice would have a greater impact. Splitting the project helped change August’s perspective of the music he was creating.
“I’m so happy I’m able to make music for a whole year, and put music out for the whole year versus a whole drop,” he said. “It changed my whole perspective on it. Honestly, I’ll probably do it again.”
Artists like Jamie Foxx, Phil Collins and Stevie Wonder have influenced August’s sound. These influences are especially prominent on his latest project. Though the second EP is where August’s sound really shines. The artist predicts that the following songs will be fan favorites: “On Occasion,” “Water Sign” featuring Jhené Aiko and “What We Used To Be” featuring Joji. Out of all the “Seasick” songs, “Role Models” is the track that August is most excited to perform.
When listeners hear music created by August, he hopes that it will help them heal. Since August has already been through certain hardships in his life, he hopes that those who listen to his music are able to use it as a guide.
“I don’t want you to have to go through those same things, but if you have to, I hope my music can be somewhat of a guide to help you get through it,” he said.
When he’s not making music, August enjoys fishing, golfing and bowling. He even has three of his own personal bowling balls. In the future, fans can expect further evolution of his music, but should also keep an eye out for any movies or TV shows written by August.
“That's a little ways down the line, but creatively I would like to expand on that. Maybe I’ll direct some people's music videos or something,” August said.
August also has a not-so-conventional dream he’d like to accomplish, and that is being on the cover of a Bass-Pro Shops magazine.
“That’s my goal, that’s like my life goal right now,” he said. “That’s what I want to do badly.”
Be sure to check out “Towards The Sun” and “Towards The Moon,” and keep an eye out for any other future projects released by August 08, whether that’s in theaters, on a magazine or on your radio.