Blake Coddington estimates he can play 16 different instruments and began learning producing software at the age of 9. In school, he was known for recording other people’s bands, bringing his peers into a recording studio built in a shed in his family’s backyard. Despite this, in his own words, “obsession” with music, he never really envisioned himself as an artist.

“I’ve always been a big fan of the underdog,” he says. “The vocalists in bands aren’t normally the underdog. It’s like the Batman quote where you either die a hero or you live long enough to see yourself become the villain. I didn’t want to ever see myself become the kind of person that I didn’t like.”

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A switch flipped in quarantine, which prevented Coddington from leaving his apartment in Indiana, where he’d only just moved. At his most alone, he turned to making music on TikTok to fill his days — and a hell of a lot of people wanted to listen. “The fans dragged me into [being an artist],” he explained. “Once you hear stories about people telling you that you saved their lives by the thousands, it made me feel like I had to.” 

With his jangling yet melancholic debut EP, Crying In The Shower, having come out earlier this year, there’s no better time to get to know Letdown.

You started the project in quarantine. How did that come about?

I was living in Indiana working for a music distribution gear company, and then lockdown happened, and I had just moved there. So I hadn’t made any friends yet. I think it was a week after I moved there. So I was thrown into a one-bedroom apartment in the city I’d never been to before and told I couldn’t leave — nothing was open. So I was literally the most alone I’ve ever been in my life. I downloaded TikTok and Instagram and just started posting. The very first post I made on TikTok, I think it did over a million views the first day, and I got like 200,000 followers from it. That [made me think], “Oh shit, I could probably I could probably make something out of this.” I just started posting videos on TikTok and eventually got around to releasing a couple songs on Spotify, and it just took off from there. 

Was this your first-ever proper attempt at a musical project?

I was always in bands and stuff — I did the thing most musicians do, [where] they were just in multiple bands, and nothing ever went anywhere. But I’d given up wanting to pursue an artist thing. My main passion has always been producing and engineering, and that’s what I just did for other artists. I never thought I would ever be an artist, and I didn’t really want to be, to be honest. Even after it took off, even after I signed my record deal, it still didn’t feel real, like [it was] something I shouldn’t be doing until I played my first show. It sold out, and I wasn’t expecting 10 people, let alone 1,000 to care about me. I was like, “Oh shit, I should probably keep doing this.”

You’re quite interested in music that sounds happy but then has dark lyrics. What do you find so fascinating about it?

It’s more like a reflection of me. I don’t really try to make music that sounds happy, but it just comes out. I think it has something to do with the natural way that I am always pretty cheerful, and I have a lot of fun, and I like to be around people that have fun, and it just seems all well and good, but I am fucking dying on the inside, and everything hurts. I just think it comes down to music, and I think the cool thing about that is that every single person I talk to feels the exact direct way — at least the people that listen to my music, and I think that most artists are pretty black and white. A sad song is a sad song, but we all fucking feel both [happiness and sadness] all the time. So why can’t we just have both?

What would you say your big ambitions as an artist are?

I have two modes — I don’t do something at all, or I do [it] at 1,000,000%. I want to sell out fucking stadiums. I want to be the biggest artist on the planet. I want to change the fucking game. I feel like artists get so big and then they completely disconnect, and my brain doesn’t know how to understand that the more people that love you, the less you want to connect with them. I don’t understand the disconnect at all. Because hanging out with my fans is the coolest thing on the planet.