A couple weekends ago at the 14th Camp Bisco Music & Arts Festival, I had the pleasure of catching Brooklyn’s own Sam Eckstein, aka Esseks, tear apart an incredibly engaged crowd during his inaugural Bisco set. I’ve been following Esseks a lot this past year after hearing some of his mind-bending bass music through one of my other personal favorite’s, Space Jesus.
When we learned we were to help cover the third Wild Woods Music and Arts Festival, which kicks off today at 1 PM, it was really a no brainer for us: we had to include Esseks in our “Road to Wild Woods” interview series. If you didn’t catch the first two, check out our Q&A’s with Maine’s Gater and the one-and-only lespecial. I’ll admit it now, I’m completely partial and drawn towards supporting the arts of my current home in Brooklyn, so this one was a real treat. Tonight is going to be completely lit on fire, with Esseks performing the opening late night slot from 12-1AM right before our friends from lespecial cap off the night from 1-2AM. We can’t wait, and now it’s time to hit the road! Excited to see some familiar faces in the woods this weekend, ping me at email@example.com if you want to meet up.
Sound Fix: First off, thanks for taking some time here, Sam, to answer some questions for our readers and your followers. To start things off, what’s in store for Esseks over the next few weeks?
Sam Eckstein: This weekend I’ve got Wild Woods on Friday, BASSment Saturdays at Webster Hall the night after. I’ve got both Up North and Great North and Backwoods Festival after those. Some others I’m not sure I can announce but I’m trying to keep busy.
SF: In High School, your musical focus was mainly directed towards playing the guitar. What caused you to gravitate towards electronic music as a form of expression?
SE: I used to write songs on the guitar and try to write out and record all the separate parts like drums and bass on my dad’s electric drum set and brother’s bass for fun. Guitar just happened to be the instrument I learned first so it was my most comfortable medium for writing. I got into making beats because when I moved to New York I couldn’t write and record music the way I used to and needed a way around that. At a certain point I realized writing and making songs was more what I liked than playing guitar. I was also in art school at the time so working on music became the fun form of expression since all the visual work I had to work on got me slightly burnt out on painting. Now I still paint a lot but more when I feel stuck or uninspired by music.
SF: We’re from Brooklyn. You’re also from Brooklyn. What brought you to this part of the city, and how has the community influenced your sound & career?
SE: I moved here to go to school. The people I’ve met here are a bigger influence than the place itself. I might have never thought this music thing was possible if it wasn’t for the people that inspired me to start believing it was. I originally was trying to be an illustrator and graphic designer because I thought it was more realistic than pursuing music for some reason.
SF: Will this be your first Wild Woods? What can you share about what you have in store for this weekend’s festival?
SE: This is my first Wild Woods but I’ve had friends tell me good things about past ones. I’m bringing a bunch of new beats one or two of which I’ll be playing out for the first time. (**check out his newest released track below**)
SF: We noticed you released some new music with your band, Technicolor Lenses, a couple months ago. Tell us about this project and what’s in store for the next year.
SE: Not sure what’s in store. We’ve all been living in different parts of the country and world working on different projects. That track was from an older recording sesh we had and we felt like why not just put it out there because we like it. We are all busy doing our own things but we’re all still good friends and I don’t doubt we’ll work on something again soon.
SF: What’s been the most memorable singular performance of 2016 for you thus far? Any stories to tell?
SE: It’s hard to say. Opening for Tipper and playing Camp Bisco were two that I’ve been wanting since I started doing this electronic music thing, so those were definitely memorable.
SF: Tell us about any rituals or unique processes you take to produce new music.
ED: Spliffs and Coffee. I also pace around my room stroking my beard a lot.
SF: Playing off the previous question, what new music do you have brewing that we can expect this year?
SE: I honestly have a ridiculous amount of music I consider finished but I want to be selective about what I put out there so most of them will probably never get released. I’ll probably purge them by putting them in a mix like I did with a lot of songs on the Blood Moon mixtape. As for actual releases I don’t have a date set but I have something ready I’m just working out final details for.
SF: Over the next two years, what personal goals do you have as a musician for Esseks?
SE: My goal is just to be able to work on music and art every day and not have to get a day job. Spending my time on creative endeavors that I believe in is the most important thing to me.
SF: Finally, we like to end our Q&As with an open forum. Anything else you’d like to share that we haven’t touched upon here?
SE: Not much, just if you like my work, come out to any of my shows and say hi! I love meeting anybody who has been positively affected by what I do.