Catch up with Late Sea's Izzy Gliksberg and listen to the art-rock group's latest single "The Great White" off their upcoming visual album, The Writers Trilogy.
What brought you all together?
Izzy: We are a group of three international people. Sam (trumpet) is from Australia and Joe (drums) is from New Jersey and I'm from Jerusalem, Israel, originally, and we met at Manhattan School of Music. I was doing a project back then and things just came about. Sam was a good friend of mine and he also conducted some of my music because he's a great conductor, also. Then Joe came in, he was studying for his Master's in jazz drums, also at Manhattan School of Music in the city, and that was it.
Which musicians have you been influenced by?
As a group we're very diverse. Sam listens, mostly, to classical music; he's especially fond of Bach and that type of music. Joe is a jazz drummer and he always listens to jazz music. And I'm more influenced by instrumental rock and that stuff: Sigur Ros, Björk, obviously Radiohead. And I also am very fond of artists that have a big emphasis on the text; Leonard Cohen, Bob Dylan, the usual stuff.
What words would you use to describe your sound?
I think there is something ceremonial about the music and there is some type of hypnotizing quality that we would like to achieve there. I always imagine, like, this weird rite going on with the music, like a virgin sacrifice or something [laughs], but that's just me, maybe that's not politically correct to say. But, going back to music that brings you some kind of an intensity.
Where does your name, Late Sea, come from?
Our name used to be Berg and then we released one small EP with this British label but then it turns out there was another guy called Berg who was really out on tour back then and the whole thing got really messy on iTunes and stuff. Then I just had to come up with a new name, which was a nightmare, 'cause I'm very bad at making decisions. It was just looking for lots of things and, mostly, finding something that would resonate with me, not exactly knowing why and, I don't know, Late Sea just stuck. I had humongous lists of tens of combinations of words, maybe even hundreds, which I used to make on the train all the time, write them down and erase them, and that one called to me and I'm very happy with it. When you get something right, you know that you got it right; you don't really care what people say or if anything happens, you just say, 'okay, this is it'.
What were your inspirations behind your single, "The Great White"?
First of all, the song, lyrically, is a homage and a sort of farewell song to Paul Celan, the Jewish German poet who died in 1970. I guess, for me, the words came first in this one and I was reading this correspondence with him and another German writer, Ingeborg Bachmann, and it's like, you know someone, but then when you read the letters you get to meet a whole other side of him and I thought that it brought me really close to the poetry and then that took me to now. Musically, it's funny to say, but it's influenced, first and foremost, by Renaissance choral music that I really like, and that was the whole idea behind doing the song just with a choir behind it - also, Björk did it in her album Medúlla which was made only with human voices and just beautiful - but we did that and that was the basis of it. We got a small choir into the studio and we recorded them and then the rest was to expose the other side, where it becomes more heavy, more with guitars and trumpets and drums and all that. I guess that's the other side of the arrangement.
Could you tell us more about your upcoming visual album, The Writers Trilogy?
The Writers Trilogy is the project we've been working on for a year now and it's supposed to be coming out any day now. Basically, the whole project idea behind it was, instead of going the route of making the music and then making the music videos, conceiving the whole project as one, as something that has an inner plot of something that develops along the three videos. It's not exactly that the videos are 'to be continued' and are directly a continuation of one another, but all three are around the same themes and we wanted to create something that's audiovisual. I think that, soon, we're going to see that happening more and more; it's already happening, but it's going to be, 10 years from now, I don't think we'll see anything else. The idea was to dedicate one piece in the EP - it's 3 songs - and to dedicate each one of them to a different writer that has influenced us. In the music and the videos, we worked on sketches of the songs and I brought them to the movie makers - which is Noka Productions, it's a company in Brooklyn - and we were very fortunate to get Kevin Spacey's foundation to support this project. And that's it; we developed everything together, the visual ideas developed with the musical ideas until we got the final product.
How would you sum up The Writers Trilogy in one sentence?
Mind-blowing. No, wait! Subtle, but in your face.
What do you hope listeners are able to take away from your music?
I guess I would like the music to create a very personal space around the listener and put one in a very personal space and then, hopefully, they're in isolation emotionally, maybe physically; but it's all about creating a soundworld that envelopes the listener and getting to be with themselves in the music. I think it's very personal.
Is there anything you want to add?
Thank you so much for this interview!