As someone who when asked what kind of music she listens to simply answers “sad”, it takes someone special to win me over with an upbeat tune. Walk in Ed Prosek. A master of the emotional, dramatic and cinematic ‘sad song’ genre (in my humble opinion), I feel like this is one of those beautiful times I’ve grown with an artist. Diverting from his usual melancholic, gut-wrenching confessionals, Californian-bred, Berlin-based Ed Prosek has released Make It Easy, an upbeat, cheerful, dare I say happy, toe-tapping tune. Take a listen…
From his forthcoming EP Flesh and Blood Part 2, Ed’s second single of the year Make It Easy departs from the honest songwriter’s usual heartbreaking, melancholic sound, instead favouring a lighthearted, upbeat tune full of warmth, demonstrating the musician’s depth of talents and his own life circumstances and journey. On this change, Ed explains: “I spent so many years writing sad songs about big subjects I wanted something to honestly counterbalance that in a meaningful way”.
The carefree tone becomes anthemic in the chorus as the drumbeat lifts Ed’s beautiful harmonies and thrilling guitar licks. Another self-expressive, honest song from Prosek, veering off in a new direction which makes it all the more exciting for audiences eager to hear the musician’s transformation musically and personally. Deeply in love, and with a new pup (as seen on the single cover art… cute right?!), it seems Make It Easy is a happy song which retains the emotional, vulnerable lyricism and ambient, powerful music we have loved in Ed’s music thus far. So, yes… I now love happy songs (as long as they all meet this standard… no pressure).
We got chatting to Ed about the new single, his journey as a musician (from California to Brighton to Berlin), and had a bit of fun getting to know the man behind the music. Read on for more…
Hi Ed! Hope you’re keeping well at this strange time. How are you coping with the current lockdown/isolation situation?
Well, as a guy who loves staying at home and writing & arranging music, this has been a pretty seamless and easy transition I must admit. The parks are empty, spring has sprung and I get to focus on the things I love without the unnecessary expectation of social interaction. Just kidding, I really miss all my friends and going out, but since I heard all that stuff about so-and-so writing their Magnum Opus during the plague of 1670- whatever, I’ve been trying to keep my head down and just work.
Some great works have historically come out of isolation… no pressure or anything…! Well, congratulations on the release of the new single Make It Easy! A surprising and hugely exciting upbeat diversion from your past releases. I expected a sad song, but was pleasantly surprised to hear a light-hearted (dare I say happy?) song, which still holds all the meaningful charm of the songs you’re loved for. Some sweet relief in this rather odd time. How did Make It Easy come to exist, and how does it feel to be releasing this new dimension to your music?
Thank you! I’m glad that you enjoy it! It is a total rarity, but then again, I’m super happy at the moment! I think that sometimes sad songs are actually a little bit of a cop-out from a songwriting perspective. Its really easy to express yourself when you’re sad and lonely, because A.) You’re sad and lonely so you’re not distracted by all the wonderful things in life and B.) Everything sounds better when its brooding and serious. My problem is that usually when I’m happy, I’m too busy being happy to stop and write a song about it. This time I managed to do it and I’m glad it comes across!
Well if I tried to write a happy song it’d sound super cheesy, like a weird jingle for the RSPCA or something, so props to you for creating something beautiful, and thanks for taking the time to sit down and write about all the positivity! What’s the writing and production process like for you, both in regards to Make It Easy and previous work?
Make It Easy was extraordinary for me because I was busy putting this current EP Flesh & Blood Part 2 together for months and then only what seems like the other day, I wrote this song and it just made the whole thing fit together. I don’t usually get to release such brand new songs so quickly, and it helps keep me super excited about the whole thing.
In terms of process, I’m a firm believer that the music must come first. I always write my melody and chord progression before attempting the lyrics, and then the process of writing lyrics becomes more like a jigsaw puzzle as you can only fit certain words and concepts in certain places and I find that incredibly satisfying.
We know you’re not one for boxing yourself into a ‘genre’ of music, fusing a singer- songwriter style with elements from classical to electronic… but if you absolutely HAD to describe your sound to someone who had never heard your music before, what would you say?
Ughhhhh. I always say orchestral-singer-songwriter but thats an outdated description anyway. I guess the best way to describe it is Chamber Pop, I think thats how I’m classified on Spotify.
Taking a step back in time, how did you know music was the path for you, and how did your journey start?
My mother is an Opera composer, and from an early age she taught me a love of composition. But the actual origin story of my musical career is that she took me to a local music shop and told me to “pick one” and thankfully I landed on the trumpet. My hard work over the years spent practicing all day (ok lets not exaggerate here, it was mostly luck) helped me to get into one of the most prestigious classical music conservatories in the US, and that education and experience still underpin everything I write and do musically. Someday I hope to return in earnest to classical music, but until then I’ll be living my best “pop-star-wannabe” life.
As you mention the US, we know you grew up in sunny California before heading off on your travels and settling in Berlin, a haven for musicians! What drove the move, and what has it been like living there and carving out your journey as a musician in that city?
Somewhat ironically to my story, my father risked his life to escape from former Czechoslovakia (a 45 minute flight from where I am right now) to emigrate as a refugee to the United States and live the literal American dream of starting his own business and growing it. Without any notable hardship to speak of (thankfully), I found myself always longing to make a similar journey and find a home that I could make for myself. The fact that I ended up so close to where he started remains hilarious to my father but he still enjoys visiting me and reliving his European youth. That being said I’m not 100% sure Berlin is that forever home I’m looking for, but I’m so grateful for the wonderful space to explore and cultivate the ideas I’ve had in the latter part of my twenties. I’ve written all my best songs here and I love it.
Wow, 45 minutes away? That’s an insane twist of fate! So I hear you’ve also spent time in the closest thing the UK has to your Golden State, Brighton… I love Brighton, but the climate and culture is also very different from your native Cali! What’s life like on our South Coast by comparison?
Haha, Brighton forever holds a special, rainy, wonderful, moldy, student-flat shaped place in my heart. I loved my time there but I was SO ready to leave after a few years. I always tell this story about my first flat in Brighton, that I shared with 6 others. I had started a band and kept having really terrible vocal problems for like, months and months, until I realised that my whole wall was basically made out of black mold, and the landlord had only put a fresh coat of paint over it before we moved in. Also, I knew someone who lived in the lanes and woke up cuddling a giant sewer rat once.
All that aside it was great, I still miss it all the time and the wonderful friends I made there will last the rest of my life!
I’m sure there are hundreds of moldy student bedrooms in Brighton, my brother is in one right now… nothing has changed I’m afraid! Right, a hard one now! Kiss, marry, kill: Berlin, Brighton, California?
Kiss Berlin, Marry California (reluctantly) and definitely kill Brighton.
I should probably be a little upset about Brighton being killed, but given the options I think you’ve made the right choice. Now, I am slightly taken aback by the cover-art for Make It Easy… am I right in presuming that is your dog?
Haha, yea, just wait for the music video. Its gonna blow your MIND.
Can’t wait! A la Desert Island Disks, what song, book and luxury item would you take if you were exiled to a desert island?
Song: The Muse by the Wood Brothers
Book: I generally dislike re reading books, so I’d take what I’m reading now, The Unbearable Lightness of Being by Milan Kundera.
Luxury Item: A Steinway 11 foot grand piano would do the trick.
And if you could collab with anyone on this planet, who would it be?
I’d love to write a song with Aoife O’Donovan any day of the week. Have your people get in touch with my people.
(Aoife, we hope you’re reading this.) So, what’s next for you? We’re all missing the gigs right now, but any short-term or long-term plans we should be excited for?
Yes! The final song for the EP will come out in May, and then I’ve already started working on my fall release schedule. I have a great collection of songs that I cant wait to show you all and bring my sound back to its origins a little.
I’ve also begun writing classical music again and eventually I want to start showing the world what I’ve done, but we’re a ways off yet. I’m just so excited that I cant shut up about it.
Wow, now we’re excited for the rest of this year! And because our readers are all stuck at home, we were hoping you’d share with them 5 songs they can chill to in this time of panic, and give us a short reason why you like/ love the song?
- Sides, Emily King: “Always Amazing. Emily King is one of the best artists of all time, OF ALL TIME.”
- All Ashore, Punch Brothers: “The best musicians in the game. Everything Chris Thile touches turns to gold.”
- It Could Happen To You, Louie Ramirez: “Just listen to it and try not to be happy.”
- The Thrill Is Gone, Camélia Jordana, Erik Truffaz: “Just listen to it and try to be happy.”
- Concerto grosso In G Minor, Op.6, No.8, MC 6.8 “Fatto per la Notte di Natale”: 1. Vivace – Grave – Allegro – Arcangelo Corelli, Thomas Brandis, Emil Maas, Ottomar Borwitzky, Waldemar Döling, Wolfgang Meyer, Berliner Philharmoniker, Herbert von Karajan: “No explanation needed other than have a few suspensions.”
Thank you so much for chatting to us! We’ve had a blast. Keep well and pop by again soon! Bye for now!
Thanks for the lovely interview! Lets definitely do it again!
Keep up with Ed through the links below: