Ez Stone’s voice has an open, raw and honest quality about it, much like his songwriting ability, and this combined with beautifully produced music is bound to make people take note of Ez Stone. His debut EP ‘Morrocan Whiskey’ was released on the The Loft Sessions in November last year, which he’s hoping more people will hear once he starts touring. Supporting Rhodes Music in his hometown and Birdie Jackson & The Arbour in Farnham next week, Ez is looking forward to showcasing his music to new audiences.
Soft Concrete caught up with him, and were curious to find out more about this talented singer/songwriter…
SP: Brighton has a reputation for being very bohemian and cultural – did being from this town inspire you to make music?
ES: Yeah! I’m sure it did. I mean, being from Brighton makes it so easy to get out there and play live music and of course listen to great live music. When I first started playing live it was in open mics around Brighton, even before I started singing I just played instrumentals with a friend of mine. The music scene here does inspire you to progress and better yourself musically.
SP: How did you become involved with The Loft Sessions? Tell us how you got together and why you chose to release your EP with them?
ES: I did a session and played the first live night with George Ezra and Tarq Bowen (both incredible if you don’t already know them). I have a great relationship with The Loft Sessions guys now and really love what they are trying to achieve. The EP release was kind of a natural progression for us weirdly enough. As they were setting up their label I had finished recording and wanted a way of getting it out in the world!
SP: If you could try another genre of music, what would you chose and why?
ES: Well, I think soul/R&B! I’m pretty hooked on it, listening to a lot of artists like Charles Bradley, Solomon Burke and Michael Kiwanuka at the moment and I do love the idea of being in a band like that, screaming out soulful vocals, if my voice allowed. Maybe a rock band too..
SP: What inspires your melodies and lyrics?
ES: A lot of the time I’m just sitting and playing and melodies usually come from humming along, not really too conciously. Other times I may have a theme that I’m interested in writing about, which usually takes longer to get into a song.
SP: How do you transpose your ideas from your thoughts to song writing?
ES: I guess when i have a theme for a song fixed in my head and bring it onto guitar it can happen in ten minutes and just come together, or I can hit a wall and have to work through it laboriously.
SP: Can you read/write music or are you self-taught?
ES: I can’t read music. I think with the technical stuff I’m pretty clueless to be honest. I had some lessons as a kid and I picked up the guitar again properly about 6 years ago and have just been teaching myself since. Playing with other people is what I think helped me the most – making up instrumentals and jamming with friends. In the last couple of years I have moved on to piano for some stuff which I’m really enjoying and using as a writing tool, rather than performance.
SP: You’re music is described as ‘story telling folk’ – what stories are you singing about/telling us through your music?
ES: Some are fictional, some are based on real events or experiences, it really varies from song to song. For example “Just a Film” from the EP is about one of my brothers and his ambition to be an actor, how when he was young he went through hundreds of things that we wanted to be from films but only realised later that it wasn’t the characters he wanted to become, but the acting process that he enjoyed so much.
SP: Do you read? Any fiction/factual inspired songs?
ES: Yes I like to read often. I can’t think of a song that is directly inspired by anything I’ve read, although I guess you could say that “World Of Pretend” is fantasy influenced.
SP: Can you tell us the inspiration behind your ‘Moroccan Whiskey’ EP? Did you write it from experience from your recent travels? If so, what was the most inspiring place you visited?
ES: It’s a collection of songs that were written a little while ago now and the title track “Moroccan Whiskey” is about an experience I had in Morocco a few years ago…
SP: How has your EP been received so far? Are you happy with the feedback?
ES: Some really nice comments and many pre-orders, which was really nice! It was premiered on Folk Radio UK and got a great review from For Folks Sake. “Old Man Soul” was playlisted on Amazing Radio and another couple of tracks have had some plays on local stations down here and I’m really touched that people are responding to the music. I’m now looking forward to many more gigs and playing them live.
SP: If you could work with another artist/musician, who would it be?
ES: That’s a tough question… I’d like to have Michael Kiwanuka’s live band, but I don’t know how he’d feel about that! Him and his band totally blew me away when I saw them. Floyd, Zeplin, Dylan and James Taylor… The list goes on (Told you it was a tough question!)
SP: What does 2014 have in store for you, Ez?
ES: I have plans for my first UK tour in Spring and plan to record a couple of songs that I’ve written recently that I’m really excited about. If you see me live you’ll hear them! So I hope to follow up this first release fairly soon and try to get on a support tour later in the year, maybe even some festivals in the summer… I’m writing a lot in general.
Listen to Ez on Soundcloud
Watch Ez’s performance of ‘Spare No Change’ for BBC’s Introducing here.
Find out more about The Loft Sessions here.