If you caught Martin Courtney of Real Estate on his most recent tour, you also had the pleasure of being introduced to Brooklyn band EZTV. The band has gained many new fans in the last couple of months, thanks in part to their performances with Courtney, plus appearances with bands including Milk ’N’ Cookies, Expert Alterations, and Mercury Girls.
ATYPICALSOUNDS caught up with Ezra Tenenbaum (vocals/guitar), Shane O’Connell (bass) and Michael Stasiak (drums) to find out where they’re coming from, and where they’re planning to go.
You recently toured with Martin Courtney. Was that your first time touring with another artist?
ET: After collaborating on a 7″ (coming out for RSD 2016), we decided to fly [Nic] out from California for this tour. We play one of his songs “Please Don’t Break Me” and had someone come up to us after a show saying they’d been waiting years to hear that song live. He’s never played on the East Coast, so it’s great we could bring him.
You opened for Milk ‘N’ Cookies at the release party for their box set in January. As fans of Milk ’N’ Cookies, how does something like that compare to headlining your own show? Do you have a preference?
MS: Milk ‘N’ Cookies are special because they don’t play live often. So when they do, they really throw themselves into putting on the best show possible. Headlining has its own rewards. There’s pressure to perform in a different way than when you’re opening.
You released Calling Out, your debut LP, in 2015. Is there anything you learned while recording, or anything you would have done differently if given the chance?
SO: There were definitely some growing pains and learning involved in putting out a first record, but we’re generally really happy with it. Number one lesson—use more optical compressors.
One of things I like about your sound is that it’s hard to tell which decade you’re from. Is that intentional, or is it a result of your collective tastes in music?
MS: Both. Guitar music is always going to be tied to the past. We draw influence from bands in every decade since electric guitar became popular.
What are your favorite venues in New York for seeing live music?
MS: I miss the Williamsburg venues like 285 Kent, Glasslands and Death By Audio that have closed. Palisades is a pretty special spot that has a bit of that feeling to it and it’s nice that Market Hotel has reopened.
Ezra, I know EZTV grew out of a solo project you had been working on. Was it hard at first to include other musicians on something that up until that point had been only yours?
ET: I’ve been playing music with Shane for the last 6 years or so and Michael is a very intuitive drummer. Collaborating always entails a lot of compromise, but I think we have pretty complimentary sensibilities when it comes to songwriting.
Do you usually write together as a group, or is it more of a solitary thing that you then share with the rest of the band?
ET: I’ll usually write a song and make a demo at home with a drum machine and 8-track. Then we’ll take it and arrange it as a band; sometimes the song changes drastically, other times it ends up very similar to the original idea. It depends, but sometimes they get more attached to the original version than I do.
What are your plans for the remainder of 2016? More touring?
MS: Working on our new record! We’re going to be producing it ourselves this time at the studio Shane works at in Greenpoint, and asking some friends to sit in. We’re going to hold off on more touring until we’ve finished.