Monday, March 24, 2008

Ezra Carey - Interview

For those that haven't heard Portland's Ezra Carey, he has one of those voices that when you hear for the first time, it sounds like a throwback to a different era. It's a voice & an overall sound that easily could have fit in several decades ago but yet sounds fresh in today's folk music world.
Ezra put out an Ep back in 2007 & is currently wrapping up touches on his new full length album which should be out at the end of April and will possibly be available via i-tunes. He was kind enough to sit down for an online interview with us ... here it is:

Where did you grow up?? Are you originally from the Portland area?
Ezra- I was born and bred in Corvallis, Oregon a small town south 2 hours of Portland. It was a nice little bubble but my friends and I found plenty of trouble. I moved up here after I graduated from the corporate conglomerate of the University of Oregon in Eugene. Been here about 9 months.

What were your early musical influences?
Ezra- I know I am supposed to list some obscure bands that show how scene I am but honestly I think the first CD that really made me happy to be alive was the fuckin' blue album from Weezer. I was 11 or 12. From there Elliot Smith's XO, Modest Mouse Lonesome Crowded West. Then a little later in life, I heard Chopin's "Nocturne in F#" and was totally ruined. As well as Mendelssohn's Oratorio "Elijah". That's when I experienced a profound awe of music that has only got stronger. Also, my older brother Jacob has always been a source of musical inspiration. I don't think I know a better natural songwriter and musician. His band "Caves" is a proof of that.

Tell us about the new full length cd your working on?
Ezra- The new full length is a little different from the first with a little more foot stomping and hand clapping but still folk. Also, the first EP was a sort of musical journal through the years that I watched my father die. The majority of the songs were written by his bedside when I visited and he was sleeping. Looking back now, I am eternally grateful to him for giving me that vulnerability. the rest of the songs on the EP are mostly about my friends and my struggles with substance abuse in one way or another. The new album has different lyrical content and a few story songs about my brothers and others close to me.

What's the recording process been like for the album? Has it differed much from when you put out the EP?
Ezra- It is so much different and by different, I mean easier. I will be honest. I am not a natural musician and my rhythm is bad to say the least. The first album took forever simply because I kept dropping beats. This one has been great. My producer, Brian Hall is a genius and has brought out the songs to a new level. Also, we have brought in some more musicians. Of course, I still have my great percussionist Bryson Nist. Also, I have Sean Carwell on bass who took all his parts in one take. Mallory Posedel who is my new vocalist and just has exquisite tone, I had some friends and other musicians Brian, Ruth, Brach, Eric Carlson whom I all payed in beer and cigarettes.

What do you think has helped shaped your sound the most over the years?
Ezra- That is a great question. I took a music class in college that taught on folk music of North America and the many parts of the world and I came to the realization how much music is really weaved into every part of the human experience. I love the idea of simplicity. Maybe because I am not that technical of musician and maybe because when I attended the musical school in Eugene I witnessed such a depressing form of musical snobbery that I grew to hate the idea of the solo performance. A perfomer who pretty much masturbates on stage with a 40 minute, million note instrument solo and has completely forgotten the communal aspect of music. I despise the western idea of Performer/Audience. as Ringo said in the Beatles song 'Love' "ALL TOGETHER NOW!" Know what I mean? I wanted my music to tell stories, be a PART of the listener. Something, a melody, a verse that just helps them through the day. I guess I just want to share what I have experienced of music with others. This idea has shaped my sound I think the most. Plus, I am an addict on finding and playing music I haven't before.

What's the music community like in Portland?
Ezra- The music communuity is great up here. I am currently in a collective with a cluster of extraordinary bands such as Porches, Pay the Coyote, Autopilot is for lovers, Dr. Helicopter, The Viking Funeral to name a few. We really love each other's music and help each other out as much as possible.

What's your take on the state of music today?? Is it easier for artists to get themselves out there with technology now? Or has it lost something with all the digital downloading and the album being a lost concept?
Ezra- I would have to say that Pop is in the worst shape I have ever seen. Hip-hop and rap completely dominate the charts. It is unbelievable how many songs in the top ten are about Booty. Few are about love or breaking hearts, you know, the norm. but just an entire song focused on the female ass. I am a fan of the booty as much as the next guy, but seriously. I would hate it if even Folk music dominated every song on the charts. It is absolutely necessary to hear a variety of styles. That is why I love what is going on in the internet with music. Never before in the history of mankind have we been able to exposed to such a magnitude of music. The major labels almost succeeded in controlling what gets played. There are all these business men not even musicians controlling music. But the internet and Itunes and all that completely fuckin trojan horsed that institution. What Radiohead just did was revolutionary. Hopefully the momentum will continue, independent music will flourish and the just maybe the Artists for the first time in the history of art and music will make more money than the Suits. Just Maybe. There are definitely differing opinions on this however.

Any new artists your excited about?
Ezra- I am very excited about the collective and the bands I mentioned beforehand. Big bands that I am excited about is MGMT. Their song "time to pretend" is superb. I like this Josh Ritter guy. There are so many incredible bands out there I don't even want to sleep at night because I am afraid of missing out.

Are there plans for an extensive tour once the new album is out?
Ezra- Tours plans have been discussed. California, Washington. I would love to play New York. However, the first and foremost thing we need is a Van. So if you know anybody that wants to sell a diesel or biodiesel vanagon. Call me. We need one.

What's up next in 2008 for you??
Ezra- I plan to focus even more on playing music this year and practicing more and playing with others and promoting the collective. Those are the plans so far. I can't believe it's half past March.

Best film you've seen recently?
Ezra- best film recently? Gone, Baby Gone.

Favorite song to cover??
Ezra- Boy Named Sue by Johny Cash

To check out Ezra's music or to purchase a copy of his Ep you can visit his myspace
Thanks again to Ezra Carey for his time!!

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