Interview – Esc

I recently reviewed the new EP by Esc, titled Unauthorized Passenger. It’s quite an experimental EP at times, and I felt it really helped to broaden my musical horizons. If you’re into your more experimental rock music, then check out the EP at the end of this interview!

By Jane Howkins

You recently released an EP titled Unauthorized Passenger, which we reviewed. What can you tell us about the EP?

The music and animation for the EP are based on a very intense dream I had a few years back. Trapped in a Dragon’s Dream was the first piece I composed the following morning. The other guitar based tracks followed, but it was really after reuniting with producer Francois Paul Aiche that the project started shifting into high gear.

You’ve got a very diverse sound! How do you come up with your ideas?

I don’t believe music should have any boundaries, definitely not these days. The music style or genre is like your clothing choices – as long as you’re focused on the essence, it can then go to many places stylistically.

While the tracks may sound very different from each other at first, they are all melded together with musical motives and a storyline.

What is the writing and recording process like for you?

The writing process is always a mystery! Sometimes it all comes together very quickly, whilst at other times you may be stuck on a specific part for a while. I write on both guitar and piano and I like to mix them up while I compose. Sometimes playing something on the guitar that was originally written on the piano (and vice versa) may inspire you to explore other music territories. Sometimes you compose in your head while buying groceries.

As far as recording, nowadays I like to record quickly as I write – mainly using MIDI/samples and the guitars as a direct signal to some amp emulator. Once the writing is done, I will re-record the guitars with my amps. I replace the midi drums with a real drummer and I usually add live players on top of the orchestral samples (which sound already magical thanks to Francois).

Has the pandemic hindered your work much?

Quite the opposite! The pandemic helped reconnect to people aboard which started my collaboration with Francois. Also, I used the time at home to learn Blender (the animation software) and create the visuals for the EP.

Do you plan to release any singles in the near future?

Yes! Hopefully by the end of May/early June we’ll release Love Bullets – a guitar driven progressive rock track with an animation video clip. It’s going to be amazing!

Have you started writing for another EP or an album?

It usually starts off with one track which inspires and evolves into a collection of tracks and more animation. With Esc, the music will always have visuals – it’s part of the concept and creative process. They actually compliment each other.

What/who influences you most as an artist? What have you been listening to recently?

I love the older stuff and still mostly listen to the classics. Anything from The Beatles, Deep Purple, AC/DC, Jimi Hendrix, Frank Zappa, Prince, Van Halen, Queen and so much more. I also love blues, funk and classical music.

I love Jack White’s latest release – I think he’s an innovator. As a guitarist, Steve Vai was and still is one of my heroes and a source of inspiration. His latest album is unbelievable.

Where are you based? What is the music scene like in your part of the world? Are you influenced by your surroundings?

I am based in Israel, in the suburbs of Tel Aviv. There is some amazing Israeli music and so many talented musicians, producers and songwriters. I think that the Middle Eastern touches in Esc are definitely an influence of my surroundings.

Do you have any tour dates lined up? What can people expect from one of your shows and why should people come and see you perform live?

At the moment at least, Esc is not aimed at live shows. I would love to perform it live, but it would be very challenging given the complexity and diversity of the music, plus the visuals need to be part of the show – which narrows down the type of venues we can use.

Any last words for the fans?

Stay tuned – our journey has just begun!