INTERVIEW: Ezra Vancil

Hi Ezra, welcome to VENTS! How have you been?

Glad to be on, and I’ve been doing really well lately.

Can you talk to us more about your song “Complicated Man”?

It’s the ‘new relationship’ song. All those jumbled feelings of infatuation, and budding love, mixed in with a fear that if that person really finds out who you really are inside, they won’t love you. But with a happy ending.

Did any event in particular inspire you to write this song?

Complicated Man was the last song written for the album You. I had this theme of mapping a history of love in marriage, yet I didn’t have the earliest infatuation stage of our story. In me and my wife’s story, we go back to childhood together.. so I think the song took on a innocent look at falling in love, and also found a musical atmosphere which is set in the 70’s folk music that we both connected with growing up.

Any plans to release a video for the track?

Yes, the video has already been shot locally here in Oak Cliff, an area of Dallas my wife an I were born in.  It is in the editing phase. I did something a little different on this one, and have actors. So far, I don’t appear in the video at all. The release of the video should land on the official release day of the album, which is April 10th.

The single comes off your new album You – what’s the story behind the title?

The album is a themed album, I guess you’d say. It’s a very personal album that looks back over our ten years of our marriage which was pretty rocky, even with one year separated in divorce proceedings, but ending up where we are now, together, with a new perspective on love and relationship. It is an album that takes you on a trip, it’s not all focused on one feeling or mood, but more so on pallet of feelings.

There are ten songs, that symbolize the ten years, but also tell in each one, the arc of the plot of our history of love.

How was the recording and writing process?

I’d say out of the albums I’ve made, this one was the hardest to get done. I had a lot of big ideas about the recording of the album. Some of the ideas panned out, some crashed and burned. One rule I created before recording was that only real authentic instruments would be used, no plugin instruments or simulated guitar amps, no midi piano. So, if I wanted an old barroom sounding piano, we had to find one, or a B5 organ and so on. Luckily, where we recorded most of the tracks, Congress House Studio in Austin with Mark Hallman… he had it all.. a hundred year old stand up piano and so on.. everything real and not digitally produced instruments.

This was not so much only for the end sonic result, but I wanted an adventure with my band, to take them out of our normal recording set up and put some new energy and challenges in the music.

When I conceived the idea to make this in 2014, probably half the songs existed and were written during the events of our marriage. The rest of the songs came out in a very short time after the theme was there; with the exception of Complicated Man, which I was still writing when the album was in production.

What role does Dallas play in your music til this date?

I do still play in Dallas pretty often. But, I tend to play very relaxing laid back shows with old friends, long time fans present and venues who have been kind to us over the years. And, an ‘event’ show a few times a year. But my listeners see plenty of me here, I also will pop in and do shows with local artists, songwriter nights, house concerts. So lots of playing, but mostly off the radar.

I got into promoting my own events a few years ago, so what I like to do is self promoted and ticketed shows. We have a pretty big one in planning for late spring/early summer at a hundred-year-old historical Dallas church that has been turned into an artist work space.

How has The Lumineers and Of Monsters and Men influences your writing?

You have exposed one of my eccentric oddities. If I pretend to know anything about either one of those bands, or their songs, I’d be lying.

Something that people know all to well in my circles, and is very odd to others, is that I rarely purposely take in any popular music, TV or media.  That’s been going on for about ten years. So I really don’t know anything about them, except that I think I’ve heard their songs before and I know they are very wide spread. How they have influenced me though is that my music is always compared and categorized to their releases, so i run with it.

It’s strange I know. Maybe I’ll finally go listen to them now.

What aspect of love did you get to explore on this record?

The opening song titled ‘Galveston,’ is really a prelude to the entire album and theme. It is in essence my conclusion to this romantic relationship stuff. The conclusion I found in that song, is that in order to truly love someone, you have to wholly let them go, be willing to let go of them completely no matter the consequences or fears, and then you might have a chance at the love you’ve always dreamed was possible.

Any plans to hit the road?

Yes. I will be doing short stints throughout the year. There are plans for East Coast areas late Spring, Colorado in summer, all over Texas and I’ll be adding them to my calendar on as we go.

What else is happening next in Ezra Vancil’s world?

This album is part of a trilogy of sorts. Three albums looking in three different directions at love and relationship. I’m now recording the second album, titled Ancient Lights which looks at the past of family and friends love and relationships, and then the final in the series, titled Body Electric, I’m completing the writing stage on. It looks at love and relationships to the world and my place in the cosmos, all that good stuff.

Also gearing up to head down to SXSW next month for a few house concerts and gigs.

About RJ Frometa

Head Honcho, Editor in Chief and writer here on VENTS. I don't like walking on the beach, but I love playing the guitar and geeking out about music. I am also a movie maniac and 6 hours sleeper.

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