Despite now being known for his signature style which combines dream pop, lofi EDM and trap-inspired hip hop, Erich Mrak is very diverse in his sound. He combines more elements in his style than meet the ear and with his first single “Girls” off his upcoming album Glimpse, he let the pop/funk fusion that is often in the background of his music really shine. It might have been a surprising shift to some of his fans, but all these elements are always there.
To wit: after “Girls” Mrak released a number of re-worked versions of previous tracks like “Fake It,” “Drive” and “Rip Tide” where he changed and brought new elements forward, including rock, EDM and more rap-heavy hip hop (Mrak normally sings his lyrics in a way that’s similar to grime artists in the UK). That said, fans of Mrak’s original sound will now know with the second album single “No Ways,” that core sound is still very much there.
“No Ways” opens with a sort of funk guitar riff around which Mrak says he and producer Phil Hotz built the track. The guitar leads into a chill but relatively fast hip hop/trap fusion beat and those two things comprise the bulk of the backing track, aside from some yummy atmospherics and phrase transitions. While not always the case, tracks like “No Ways” are built like a pop or hip hop song rather than an EDM track for the simple fact that Mrak always has so much to say in his lyrics.
The premise is something fairly universal that so many people go through: how to navigate a friendship when feelings start to go romantic. From Mrak:
“No Ways” is about a friend expressing their romantic feelings, and then having to manage their expectations while deciding what feels best for the friendship moving forward…(it’s) what happens when you’re a drink away from collapsing and spilling your feelings, when you should’ve said good night and gone home.
We’ve all been there, right? But like always, Mrak offers a fresh perspective on this universal condition by both making it super-introspective and giving the mile-high view. The conflict in the lyrics is between these two views: the individual’s feelings versus the overarching fact that it’s not likely to work. The way Mrak juxtaposes the two views, overlapping the lyrics with each other and making a sort of beautiful chaos out of them mimics the thoughts that can run through a person’s mind when they’re going through such a struggle.
If anything, that’s really what Erich Mrak’s signature style is: combining the introspective and the esoteric, the personal and the conceptual. “No Ways” is another example of how he does this so well, and a great teaser for what is sure to be an epic thinker of an album.