Artist Interview: Ezekiel Honig
Tell us about yourself and your music
My music is emotively warm electronic-acoustic music that uses a multitude of everyday real-world objects and spaces, tethering to our physical universe while eschewing any concerns of figurative reality. Plastic, metal, wood, and air coalesce with Rhodes, guitar, horns, piano, and other instrumental origins, creating a sound of contrast and contradiction, pairing inviting, fuzzy chords with clunky and dirty mishaps.
I am influenced by the history of electronic music in many forms but have always strayed from the dancefloor blueprint, using the loop as more of a tool than a rule and find myself in a comfortable, shared space between muted techno, melodic, event-driven ambient, textural downtempo, and slowmotion house – using them as reference points from which to stray, rather than as steadfast frameworks. I attempt to find a sense of balance – of past and future, acoustic and digital, a disconnected materiality – by grounding myself in the idea that a sound can be both a representation of infinite stories, emotions, possibilities, and simultaneously be just a sound to be used in a work of audio.
After more than a decade of releasing music – on both my own Anticipate and Microcosm imprints as well as like-minded labels such as Type, Unfoundsound, and Other People – in 2014 I completed my first book, Bumping Into a Chair While Humming: Sounds of the Everyday, Listening, and the Potential of the Personal, an exploration of the sonic potential in everyday objects, spaces, and interactions. It concretizes ideas that I now tend to explore instinctively, but have developed over time with thought and practice.
Talk to us more about your latest release
Melancholic, warm, pensive, with a sombre wonder for everyday experience, A Passage of Concrete, my newest album, which is being released this March 17th on 12″ and digital on my Anticipate label, ebbs and flows across an electroacoustic narrative of fragmented memory tethered to the present moment, unravelling movement, location, distance in a story that cares about place as both texture and emotional notation. Sounds from crowded streets, parks, empty apartments, and high-ceilinged spaces all fit into the music on equal footing with kick drums, household percussion, saturated piano, and stretched-out horns. Steady rhythms embed themselves in gauzy melody, playing with ideas of various 4/4 genres while slowing things down a few notches. (The soundcloud link in the relevant field below is to a couple tracks from the album, since the whole thing isn’t up on soundcloud yet. Here is an additional link to edited preview clips of more of the record: https://soundcloud.com/ezekielhonig/sets/a-passage-of-concrete-edited)
What inspired you to write this release?
I moved from New York City to the Los Angeles area in 2014 and began working on this record almost immediately. I found myself attempting to capture this idea of a memory of a place, a transition, a history of some sort, while exploring ideas that are meant to also stand on their own sonically. Sound is always representative to me of something specific and also meant to connect to something so much greater and less defined, more open to what it conjures in the mind and heart of the listener.
Any plans to release a video?
I am working with a few visual artists on videos for the upcoming album. None are ready yet though.
Any plans to hit the road?
There will be a record release event in NYC on March 23rd, but not major touring plans at the moment.
As an indie artist, how do you brand yourself and your music to stand out from the rest of the artists out there?
I attempt to make my music highly personal, even though there are no lyrics. This idea of personalization has led me towards teaching (both online and in a classroom) and then to writing a book about production theory. Especially because my music exists in a landscape that is more left-field I hope to use that as a benefit, to utilize the fact that my sound is coming from a strong place of ideas and back that up by spreading those ideas and helping others with their own production development.
At the same time I have been more involved in visual art in the last few years, making paintings and collages that stem directly from my music, in an abstract sense for sure, but similar in feel and tone.
Who have you been listening to lately?
The Congos. I go through waves of albums that have been important to me in the last 20 years and The Congos’ double-album, The Heart of the Congos, is one of those that revolve around for me every couple years and then stays on heavy rotation for a few months. I think that it had a major influence on me when I was well into years of DJing and just beginning to produce my own music when I first discovered it and it holds a special place in my heart.
Tell us about your passions
What else is happening next in your world?
I’m scoring a dance performance soon and then beginning to work on another one. I’ve had some music in dance before but this will be my first score from scratch for that purpose. I’m excited to get to work on a project like that right after finishing an album, to have something structured but so different from what I usually work on.
I hope to find some time to make a whole lot of visual art soon as well and finish a colllaborative album with a friend.
Thanks for an awesome interview, Ezekiel!