Zeke Hunter / by E

Look for New York City based indie rocker Zeke Hunter's debut EP, Nuclear Feel, out now.

What got you interested in music?

Zeke Hunter: Well, what initially got me started in music was actually my father. He was running a recording studio back when I was in diapers and so I was surrounded by all these rappers and whatnot who would come in and record their mixtapes with him and then, several years later, I was in high school and I started my first band with a few friends and I ended up, basically, taking a lot of my dad's old recording studio equipment and re-purposing it for myself and, from there, I just went through a couple different projects and joined a few different bands. One of them ended up getting pretty successful at one point; I was with Run On The Sun and we performed at Virgin Mobile FreeFest and Howard 101, and it looked like things were going great, until they weren't. The band broke up and, since then, I've just been writing a lot of my own music and really trying to forge a path for myself. 

Do you remember the first song you wrote that you were happy with?

Oh god, I'm still not happy with them most of the time [laughs]. It is a process and I think feelings towards a song ebb and flow and most of the music I put out, even on this EP, it's stuff that I've been working on sometimes for years and there was a long time where I just hated it until I got a few months away from it, I got a fresh perspective, and then all of a sudden I'd just be like, 'oh my god,' because I actually had something here that I almost overlooked. The first time I wrote something that I really was happy with, it had to be probably "Contraption", about a year and a half, two years ago, which was the first one I released.

Which artists or bands have you been influenced by?

It's all over the map. I listened to a lot of The Beatles growing up. I love George Clinton, James Brown, I listen to a lot of funk but, strangely enough, a lot of people tell me my music actually reminds them more of Depeche Mode or Nine Inch Nails, which I never really listened to beforehand, but I definitely hear the correlation.

Who's in your current playlist?

I'm trying to remember her name, there's this new artist that just released two songs and they're phenomenal, but I can't remember her name.. I love Banks, she's always my go-to. I can't even remember, there's so much stuff that's usually just like a Spotify browse playlist where I hear something in the background and I'm like, 'oh, this sounds great,' but, as far as specific artists, I'm all over the map.

How would you describe your sound?

I usually just say electronic pop rock, but it's all over the map. I mean, I'm working on another song right now that's almost like a soft, sweet, Ed Sheeran-like acoustic song, too. So, I don't know, depends on my mood.

What was the inspiration for your new single and video, "Staring At The Sky"?

"Staring At The Sky" came from a place of imagination, at first. It actually started with a vision, kind of like the movie, Interstellar, where you have the family members going off in a space ship on a journey for years, you never know if you're going to see them again, and that was the first visual inspiration for that story. Then I just kind of went to places of feelings of old longings in relationships and family that's far away and thinking about how people can be hurt by one another and that feeling is so real and so true to each person, but also so different; two people can be so mad and so upset with one another, and their experiences are both right, but so completely unique. That's the whole lyric, 'it's not the same, it's not the same'. The song is really my way of trying to say, it's okay to explore how everyone hurts, but we don't hurt the same.

Could you sum up your Nuclear Feel EP in one sentence?

I'll do one word; eclectic. 

What do you want your listeners to take away from your music?

I want them to feel like they can do whatever the heck they want and they don't have to suppress themselves. So much of the world is about trying to put up facades for people and I feel like I have to hide who I really am and I think, by writing an EP that crosses four different genres and songs that are often so angry but also so personal, I'm trying to show people that it's not the worst thing in the world to reveal who you are, to reveal what you feel. Put it all out on the line.

Is there anything you'd like to add?

Keep your eyes and ears out for new music. I've got that song that I'm finishing up right now that should be out in the next month or so called "Thunderstorms" that I'm very excited about.

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