Esseks is the multifaceted creative project of Brooklyn artist, Sam Eckstein. Whether you’re taking in the imagery in his paintings or noting the sound design in a song he’s worked on, you’ll likely pick up on the same unearthly yet playful vibe present in all of his creations. He and his team of bass music producers, the Wakaan label, are perhaps the most influential artists in their chosen genre, paving the way for avant-garde producers and testing just how unorthodox a crowd takes their dose of bass. We had the opportunity to sit down and pick his brain before the Wakaan label touches down at Webster Hall tonight.
GLC: How did you first get introduced to the Wakaan label and Liquid Stranger?
E: From what I remember I met him at F.A.R.M Fest around two years ago. I think he had his eye on Jasha (Space Jesus), my close friend. And through looking into Jasha, he found my music. He was looking for a kind of sound that we were all producing since we were bouncing ideas off each other. That was the sound he was looking for his label. It just worked out overtime.
GLC: What’s your favorite aspect of working with Wakaan?
E: It’s working with my friends, people I know and trust.
GLC: What’s the inspiration behind your sound design? Do you go into creating a song knowing what you want the finished product to sound like or does it evolve as you work on it?
E: It flows. I don’t really ever go into it with a specific idea in mind. A lot of times I’ll start something and I’ll make it very complex with a ton of notes and melodies. I’ll go over the top and then I go back in, listen and start to hate how complex it is and delete a bunch of stuff. I’ll take all the pieces of the song I like and then refine it into a much simpler thing. It’s making something and then deleting 80% of it.
GLC: When you’re not working on music you also create visual art. Can you tell me more about that?
E: I paint when I’m stuck or bored making music. It’s my alternate outlet. When I’m not feeling inspired with one thing I can work on the other. And also it’s all the same expression. It’s all goofy but spooky.
GLC: You make all of your own cover art, right?
E: Yep! It’s all the same vision, expressing the same general feeling and vibe.
GLC: What’s your favorite festival you’ve experienced as a performer and an attendee?
E: The answer for both is Shambhala because it’s got the best music, the best sound systems, nine stages, a river you can swim in. I had the best time of my life there this year.
GLC: Your song Human Music got a lot of attention, especially from Rick and Morty *buuuuurppp* f-fans. If you were a Rick and Morty character, which would you be and why?
E: Probably Rick because he’s coolest. But I feel like everyone wants to be Rick. In reality I’m more of a Jerry.
GLC: Can you tell me about your musical background growing up?
E: My dad was a drummer. He never had a drum set in the house until I was in high school, I guess because he thought “the kids are gonna be gone soon so I can have this loud thing in my house now”.
I was in a band in high school, I played guitar. We wanted to sound like The Mars Volta. My friend had a laptop with ProTools he left at my house because my dad had the drum set, I had a guitar and amps and my brother had a bass. Because we would rehearse at my house, I had all of the equipment and eventually I started recording and making my own songs. More like soft rock music.
GLC: Soft rock. That’s surprising to hear considering the music you produce now. Do you still listen to rock when you’re not producing?
E: I’ve been listening to a lot friend’s music that they’re working on. Mostly I listen to comedy podcasts. I really like Your Moms House podcast by Tom Segura and the Duncan Trussell podcast. And Harmontown, the writer of Rick and Morty’s podcast.
GLC: Can you tell me about any new projects or collabs you’re working on?
E: I have a collab with Stylust Beats coming out and I have something I’m working on with Yheti and another with Kll Smith I did a while ago that’s still one of my favorites.
GLC: So for my last question, I’m going to ask you something every prospective member of the Good Looks Collective family is asked before we begin contributing to the team… What is your favorite slice pizza?
E: Hmm…Plain. I’m a plain guy.
And there you have it, folks- a look inside the man behind the musics mind. Check out this contemplation original works below so you can get a taste of what to expect from his set tonight. Grab your tickets here and stay updated with releases and upcoming shows through his Facebook.