SONG PREMIERE: iEzra (Black Taxi front man) Embraces 70s Prog Rock Funk on “Wanna Get Out”

iEzra is a multi-instrumentalist, composer, and producer. He is the frenetic frontman for the rock band Black Taxi and has used his solo project to experiment and genre-hop more freely. Stacked harmonies and brass arrangements often make appearances in his writing but otherwise his alt-indie songs feel wide open, inspired as much by sounds of whatever landscape he happens to be traveling through, as to the electronics and technology they are beholden to. Samples, folk music, fuzzed out guitar solos, orchestral bridges, live kits, and 808’s all feel equally at home in his creations.

Today Glide is excited to premiere his new single “Wanna Get Out,” a dark and funky groover that finds iEzra simultaneously embracing his love for Pink Floyd, Nick Cave, and synth-driven prog rock as a whole. There is a harmonious 70s pop sound that shines at various parts of the song, while other points find the music slinking along with in a thick and funky swell. What makes it such a compelling listen is the way iEzra experiments with so many different sounds and tempos, and you never know what surprise is lurking behind every corner as it traverses from synth jams to pop harmonies to a soaring guitar solo. Ultimately, “Wanna Get Out” encapsulates the creative mindset of its composer. 

iEzra describes the inspiration behind the song:

I was watching Peaky Blinders and digging the space and angular guitar skrunks of the show’s theme song, Nick Cave’s “Red Right Hand.” It inspired me to write my own chord progression, maintaining a similar energy of open minimalism and danger. The universal isolation brought on by the COVID lock-down, the depression, and my frustrations informed the lyrics. Once the story was finished, the music felt too thin in comparison. It lacked the necessary dynamics so I started rewriting, trying to convey the mental claustrophobia of the lockdown with the openness of dreams, the intersection of madness and psychedelics, punk and Pink Floyd, the vertical-ness of New York City living with the horizontal feel of my newly adopted home, Rimouski. Collaborating with my keyboard player really keyed these changes and helped perforate the darkness of the song content with flashes of salvation.

Listen to the track and read out interview with iEzra…

What kind of production techniques do you like to use and where was “Wanna Get Out” recorded? Do you work with a producer or do everything yourself?

I like tucking barely audible field recordings into songs to subliminally place the listener in the space I am writing from. Additionally, I love sidechaining non traditional instruments, reversing sounds so they become unrecognizable yet familiar and creating tension with negative space. Instead of depending on production trickery, “Wanna Get Out” was intentionally created to be more of a “live” song. Thick synths, guitar drones, feedback, and effects are what create this song’s foundation, help push and pull it, while also dynamically building a sense of impending danger. Unexpectedness is highlighted by false starts, odd length bridges, and nonadherence to traditional song structure.

Wanna Get Out was demo-ed out while on lockdown in far north Quebec (Rimouski), before I slipped across the border in late 2020 to record at Voidsloth Studios in Minneapolis, alongside other local musicians. Jake Wagner, AKA Voidsloth, was my engineer but also co-produced the album and brought in other musicians as he saw fit. Our key player, Jeff Victor, added a lot of ideas so the production was collaborative in nature.

The synths on this track sound a bit 70s prog, almost like Pink Floyd, are there any artists in particular who influenced those?

I gave keyboardist Jeff Victor some wide ranging influences for this track with Pink Floyd being one of them alongside the Doors and Nick Cave (Red Right Hand).

How does it feel to look back on COVID and isolation now that this track is out and was influenced by that period?

I just finished watching Bo Burhams “Inside” and as an artist in lockdown I viscerally felt many of the same reactions he caught so perfectly. As the lyrics allude to, my belief system was challenged, and I found myself vacillating through highs (moved countries, had a baby girl) and lows (claustrophobia, impending madness). Like most I am excited to move forward from these last 18 months but I also have trouble “looking back” on something that seems to only be spreading in large parts of the world.

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