During the week of Thanksgiving, rappers Sir Eddie C and Zado sat inside Mission Taco Joint in the Central West End eating tacos and discussing lights. The rappers make up two-thirds of the group noWhere, and on this occasion, they were particularly concerned with the lights for their December 7 show at Blank Space on Cherokee Street.
"If we do lights, it has to be upstairs," Zado says between bites of chips and salsa.
"It's lights, bro," responds Sir Eddie C. "It's gonna be lights no matter what. I'd just rather do all yellow lights."
The conversation is just part of the meticulous planning the trio has pored over since announcing their first show in support of their debut album, yelloW. The group is serious about making sure everything goes according to plan.
And that's the main agenda of noWhere: planning. Since the group's introduction to the St. Louis music scene in 2017, each artistic effort has been undertaken with extreme forethought. It started with a nostalgic video uploaded to the group's Twitter page with no explanation. In it, we see Zado, Eddie C and a host of yellow hoodie-clad friends completing various exercises, shot with a '90s feel straight out of an episode of Freaks and Geeks, while Devo's "Whip It" sets cadence in the background.
"It's not a music video," Eddie explains. "No one knew what this was — if it was a show, or if it was a project. And even in this video, we didn't explain anything really."
After watching the short video, it's clear that part of the allure of noWhere is that the group is hard to label and define. For starters, what's with the name? Zado admits that the spelling of noWhere is a stylistic choice. Sir Eddie C adds that the group's name is a double entendre. The name breaks down from "nowhere" to "now here," symbolizing the longevity the group wishes to have.
"We are present; we are now here. We ain't going nowhere," Sir Eddie C says. The capitalized "W" in the name symbolizes "big wins" and success, according to Zado.
Consistency and longevity are noWhere's main focus. From their carefully calculated social media posts and graphic design on merchandise, announcement fliers and stage props, the group takes their image seriously. And while you may be shaking your head at the turtle costume that has taken on its own sort of fan base, Terry Terrapin has a purpose, too.
"The tortoise wins the race," Sir Eddie C says. "We watched a lot of people blow up and burn out in the two short years we've been a thing."
With yelloW, the group hopes to make an official and formal introduction to music fans across St. Louis. They've put out songs and individual projects over the past two years, but the culmination of their sound and experiences produced a body of work the group says they're proud of today.
Exclusively produced by local favorite Akeda Keyz, yelloW showcases each member's individual and group strengths in eight tight tracks. It's a bouncy album with as much personality in lyricism as there is in technical production.
To say that the group is obsessed with the color yellow would be an understatement. The hue serves as a North Star to what noWhere aspires to be guided by. The color itself takes on meanings of self-fulfillment, freshness, rejuvenation, continuity, clarity and of course, happiness, the group says. That's what noWhere wants their fans to feel, too: This month, the group encouraged show attendees to wear yellow to Blank Space, setting the tone for their show there.
"noWhere allowed us to be new again, because we've done stuff before," Sir Eddie C says. "And yellow symbolizes our story and our journey."
noWhere's style is nostalgic, with a hint of freshness. If Sam Goody were still open, it would be the perfect location for a music video.
The fusion of the members' individual sounds could be the most intriguing aspect about noWhere. As individuals, Sir Eddie C, Zado and their third cohort, Teacup Dragun, have musical styles that are drastically different.
On yelloW, Sir Eddie C features a confident voice that's smoother than room-temperature butter, while Zado's wisecracks and stylized mumblings make songs like "Crash Out" crackle with every beat transition.
Bar for bar, Eddie C and Zado are beyond solid. Their tag-team dynamic feels like a rap seesaw, with self-assured lines from Eddie C to match cocky and conceited takes from Zado.
Teacup Dragun rounds out the group's dynamic. A self-proclaimed "sad girl," Dragun's genre of music is a fusion of R&B and goth — a mix that makes more sense when you hear it. Her contributions to yelloW stem from honestly writing down her emotions, and also reminding listeners that "yes I'll steal your bitch," a testament to the nonbinary artist's openness in expressing and sharing her sexuality.
"I try to incorporate my sexualness to the flow of how Eddie and Zado go," Dragun says. "It meshes in well."
Dragun's energy and honesty come across on yelloW. She credits this to being comfortable being herself — not trying to satisfy an arbitrary feminine energy requirement for the group.
"Eddie and Zado both wanted me to be 100 percent Dragun," she says. "Some of my songs have a really deep meaning, but I try to make it relatable to the person."
Relatability isn't an issue for noWhere. They aren't a group so dedicated to creating an image of themselves that access seems far away. They're open, creative and, as always, steadily planning their next move.
Sounds like a formula for a group that's here to stay.