Miles Erickson - "It was the feeling of consuming great art, for real, it’s one of the best feelings in the world & I wanted to try to give people that same feeling." - Stereo Stickman

Miles Erickson “It was the feeling of consuming great art, for real, it’s one of the best feelings in the world & I wanted to try to give people that same feeling.”


Riding high on the success of his breakthrough project SUGARDEMOS, we caught an interview with producer and artist Miles Erickson – known to the scene as 212 ceilingface – to find out more about the music, his journey so far as a creative, and his plans for the future. Here’s how it went.

Hi Miles – great to catch up with you, and huge congrats for the SUGARDEMOS project. For those new to your music, what first inspired you to create?

I don’t think I could tell you for sure… so I don’t think I really know [laughs]. I’ve been creating music since I was like sixteen on and off, and I didn’t know for a long time what I wanted to do exactly. I started off just making beats, things like that, audio engineering too. I didn’t like my voice for a while, but eventually I started rapping.

But yeah, as far as what first inspired me, it’s hard to say…I can probably tell you what inspired me to take it seriously. It was the feeling of consuming great art, for real, it’s one of the best feelings in the world and I wanted to try to give people that same feeling. I couldn’t necessarily say that’s like the origin of it, but I took it seriously after I thought about it that way.

What does the name 212ceilingface represent?

That’s like the only question I ever get asked [laughs] I swear to God. About my shit at all. But when I first moved to Chicago, I lived in an apartment where the address was 212. And at night, the way the light shined in through the blinds, it would make a face on the ceiling. So, I guess when I started taking music more seriously, I had to come up with a name, that was just something I was just sitting up at night thinking about and I saw it. I was like, fuck it. Why not?

Tell me about the LP – What set the SUGARDEMOS creative process in motion, which track from the collection would you recommend to new listeners, and why?

So, Tammi 23 was the official single, because to me, it felt the most accessible. But as far as what set the creative process in motion for the whole project, I’m not too sure. The oldest track on there, I think, is Coke… and that was made in 2021, I think late 21. It was just a single, I even released it on Bandcamp, but, like, nobody cared [laughs].

From there, some of the tracks started to trickle in, just every now and then, I’d be doing some weird sampling stuff, fucking around and something would hit me, like, oh, I should rap on this. But most importantly I felt like I could rap on these beats in an interesting way, because my greatest fear is releasing a project that sounds too samey or too much like anyone else. If you look at my earlier discography, it’s mainly instrumental music, and I feel like my instrumental music was still pretty outside the box as far as contemporary electronica or whatever… at least I felt that way.

So, I eventually was like, damn, what would happen if, we added some more lyricism, more overt meaning to these songs? And trying to do it in a creative way. So, it was all based on the instrumental production really. I always make the beats first. There’s never a way I can write something and then make a beat around it. It just doesn’t work for me; I literally always make the beats first because I like starting from musicality.

How did the creative build-up of FRIENDS22 come about, and what do you hope listeners take away from this song?

[laughs] Yeah I think that goes to my point. Like, Friends was just an instrumental. I thought the buildup sounded nice. Eventually, I thought it needed a hard drop, and then I sat on that beat for a while. Like, I think that’s probably the main takeaway about my process… I sit on a lot of the beats, so I had that beat for a while. The lyrics were written after something happened in my personal life between me and some friends.

It happened when I was out in California, and as soon as I got back to Chicago, I recorded the track. It was super raw, just how I felt in the moment. I don’t think and I wouldn’t say… like, I wouldn’t try to tell people what to take away from my music. I think that’s kinda weird. I feel like the music is what I want to create but I don’t wanna create the meaning for you. I don’t know… That sounds like some hippy bullshit, but, for real, take what you want. I don’t care.

On the flip side, HDBNGR leads with melody and ambiance – how do you decide which way a track will go, and how different is your mindset between the different styles?

You know, I don’t know if I ever decide, it doesn’t feel like a decision. It kinda just happens. Because a lot of the production starts with samples, I don’t typically start conceptually at all. It’ll start with samples, and then I just fuck around with the samples until they turn into textures, melodies, harmonies that I like. That’ll dictate a mood for sure. Once that mood is set, then it’s just… I gotta fill in the writing from there. Make it match the mood.

So HDBNGR felt poppy…and I’ve always been a fan of artists that artificially make their voice higher, I always thought that was a cool sound. Whether it be from, like, Cardi or like, 100 gecs, I feel like those are probably two of the biggest influences at the time for that track. Probably some Chief Keef as well and some Charli XCX. There are actually Charli vocal chops on the track [laughs].

How do you define your style as a modern artist?

That’s a pretty big question for me because doing this interview, in this context, I’m trying to push myself as 212ceilingface right? But I’m really a multidisciplinary artist, I do a whole lot of writing, not for song necessarily, but for publication you know?

I also do a bit of visual art and performance art outside of anything related to hip hop or music I’ve been lucky enough to work with people like Matthew Ghoulish, Calvin Forbes, and other legendary Chicago artists who might not even know that I make music under this name [laughs].

Across all my mediums I guess the main thing that interests me a lot is, like, weaving narrative in and out; not just music but weaving narrative in and out of any piece, whatever the piece may be. Because I think too much narrative gets kind of boring, but I think just the right amount of narrative that maybe people can relate to, even if they might not want to [laughs] it’s interesting.

That being said, my music is my most personal work, by far, out of all things that I practice. The other things besides music are mainly like… I wouldn’t say for fun, but I feel a little bit less emotionally connected to them. But the music is, like, super personal. I’d say an important part of the style is not too much storytelling, but still telling stories at the same time. Like, I don’t wanna be a storytelling rapper like that, but I still want people to get stories from what I’m saying if that makes any sense [laughs] I’m not sure.

What’s the scene like in Chicago for this music, and how important is live performance?

I don’t know. I haven’t really heard anything out of Chicago that sounds like this, and I don’t mean that in any kind of disrespectful way. I just mean that, like, I wouldn’t call myself part of the scene at all if I’m being real [laughs]. I mean, I make music… but I think if I were to try to be part of a scene, it’d probably be more internet based than locally based. That’s something I’m trying to work on, but to be honest I should have tried harder, earlier, to perform my music more.

I feel like my problem is I’m a bit of a perfectionist, like I wouldn’t want to do any open mic style performances because I’ve done it before. Like, if I was gonna perform this record I’d really want to, like, tell a story, within the performance as well I don’t know…really get something crazy going; and I feel like I need to learn more before I can take this kind of work out seriously. I wanna learn more about, lighting, graphics, venue logistics, those kinds of things. I don’t see myself being, like, at festivals or things like that if I’m being real. I see myself accustomed to more controlled indoor venues, you know, but still chaotic like some of the recent JPEGMAFIA and Danny Brown shows.

Also, recent Injury Reserve shows have been influential in the style I’m going for. In the beginning of the summer, I made a lot of effort to get shows lined up for some more street level buzz, but there was a close family death that shook me in a weird way…I guess you could say. And I was back and forth from California a lot because that’s where the death happened and that’s where I’m originally from. And, yeah, things just haven’t gone as planned when it comes to performance. Been busy with a lot of personal struggles.

Also, as far as technical shit, I feel like I haven’t really found, like, my live setup from a logistical standpoint. I don’t ever wanna be like a karaoke rapper if I were to do this stuff, just hopping on the mic with a beat in the background; that’d be boring as fuck. I need live improvisation because a lot of the production is intricate, and I feel like my live setup isn’t where I need it to be. The experience I’m trying to bring is just bigger. And that’s a fault, definitely. Like, this isn’t good practice at all what I’m doing with the performance stuff. I should just be performing, performing, performing, I should be. But I’m really trying to create something special every <me, and I don’t know…I guess we’ll see how it goes [laughs]

What are you working on at the moment?

So, I feel like I’ve talked too much about other shit besides the music. As far as music goes, I have a new single that I’m dropping soon called London Tipton. The beat was originally from an unreleased EP, I think it’s like two years old at this point, a year and a half, something like that. I pulled it out, and I was like, damn this shit hard. I like this beat. Let me go over it. Let me remix it, rather. And, yeah, this track is old, but I feel like it bops. Cover art by Yash Flee, shout out Yash and the Flee Factory. And I got a lyric video by Pink Punk John. His work is really fucking dope. But I’m trying to have London Tipton be a single for an EP that I want to drop before year end. So hopefully… I can pull it off [laughs]. Also, a collab with the brand Hoochie Runts that I’m excited to be a part of.

Who would you love to work with if the opportunity arose, and why?

If we’re being for real, there’s probably too many people to count that I’d like to work with. But the first one that comes to mind is Diamond from Crime Mob. Diamond has this song called Wishe Washe with Lil Scrappy and it’s so fucking good. Specifically, the chorus, it’s amazing. And if I could somehow get her to do like a new interpolation of that same hook with a verse too; I’d die a very happy person.

Outside of that song, Diamond, to me, is like the original female trap rapper, and I want to collab just as much as I want to give them their flowers. Diamond! I got some heat for you! [laughs]

Is there anything else we should know?

I don’t know. I might come different every time. 529 till I die.

Find 212 ceilingface on Instagram & Bandcamp.

Rebecca Cullen

Founder & Editor

Founder, Editor, Musician & MA Songwriter

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