The Eaton Wash – the solo project of LA-based multi-disciplinary performer K.C. Maloney – has released his debut album, Stay Around today. A poignant look at unwieldy emotions, inner-psychology, and identity, Stay Around is ultimately a timely portrait of an artist becoming more comfortable with selfhood and musicianship, even if they contradict each other.
“I’ve struggled with depression since I was a little kid, but over quarantine it got really bad,” says Maloney. “I wrote the title track with an image in my head about a guy who’s in trouble either with the law or with people he owes money to. So he escapes, drives to the mountain, and contemplates suicide. But he decides to stay around to see how tomorrow will be.”
No one should be ever reduced to just one thing. Humanity and artistry are complex, full of nuance. As a musician, K.C. Maloney opens a rich chapter with every subsequent project. Under his new moniker as The Eaton Wash, named for the paved river running through his hometown of Pasadena, Maloney expresses his singer-songwriter side, crafting sunny folk-pop that explores a light-dark dichotomy in the vein of Elliott Smith and Nick Drake.
Arriving today, Stay Around was entirely composed and produced in Maloney’s North Hollywood home studio. The sparkling 11-song album, which explores mental health, suicidal ideation, and coming to terms with his own sexuality, is a noted sonic divergence from Maloney’s previous work as the more indie-electronic Adult Karate.
Like so many musicians, 2020 hit Maloney hard. Work dried up, his touring dates as Adult Karate were canceled. With no end in sight, Maloney became swallowed up by a wave of depression and writer’s block. “I have a wonderful husband and two cats, and some of my friends had a much harder time,” he acknowledges. “It wasn’t as bad as it could be, but it’s still probably the worst period of time for myself and my husband. And I’ve been through drug addiction and all kinds of messed up stuff.”
“Just like anybody, I’m human and I get caught up in ideas of what people think about me,” KC admits. “I’ve gotten a lot better about that as I’ve gotten older. But I’ve always had this plan to make an album like this where I could show myself that I could go beyond a drum machine and a keyboard.”