Interview: Zac Eichner
Adelaide-based indie-electronic artist Zac Eichner has just revealed tour dates and his glowing double A-side release ‘Naked & Autumn’. We were lucky enough to sit down with Zac to get underneath the release and find out more about what to expect in his live show.
‘Naked’ seems like it came from a vulnerable place. What was the influence behind that track?
‘Naked’ comes from a hard place, it’s kind of a thank you note to someone – there’s no spite or malice, but it absolutely brings up a bunch of emotions every time I sing it. It’s about someone that forced me into stripping back and opening up, being vulnerable and okay with it. I’ve always been incredibly self-conscious, and a particular person (who is wonderful) told me, they liked me, for me, so stop being dumb, come get naked. I couldn’t figure out why I was so torn in making this decision. I was comfortable, safe and the happiest I’d been in a long time but, for some reason I still needed convincing to open up or be naked. To put it plainly, it’s a cliché heartbreak track. It’s so hard to let someone go that made you feel wonderful, that you experienced so many beautiful moments with in such a short period of time – you know those immediate connections that you can’t shake and always think about… Beyond that though, it’s about self-acceptance and gratitude for the people that help us realise our worth.
‘Autumn’ offers a tasteful contrast, with lifting horns and synths. How did this one come about?
‘Autumn’ for me is all about moving forward. I didn’t write it with any intention of being a song about growth but, I can’t shake this picture of a protagonist from a coming-of-age film is smirking with the sun on their back, as they walk down a long road, post epiphany. The really warm horns that open the track reflect that sunlight. The delicate percussion replicating the bristles on the pine trees I envisioned on either side of the road. Finally, the lyrics navigating that little journey. “My heart still beats for you” and it does, but I’ve learnt that as we move forward in life, we’re going to face these hurdles and heartbreak, and it moulds us as people. A relationship or connection can still be beautiful, even if it’s fleeting. Polaroids are temporary, more so if you expose them to too much light. So, while this relationship was short lived, there was a lot of light. There’s a contradictory endlessness to the song that I love, as the trumpet and alto solo their way out of the track. It’s a nice finalising representation of those feelings we learn to live with but don’t necessarily shake.
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Who would you say some of your biggest influences in your life are?
Mum and Dad are obviously influential in their own right, they’ve been responsible for my upbringing and helped me become who I am both in music and not. Early days they were responsible for what music I listened to as well. I’ve never slept much, even when I was little, so I’d do whatever I could stay up with my parents and their friends on a weekend. They allowed it, on the condition that I sit there quietly and just listen to the music – this resulted in hours of Elvis, Jeff Buckley, Dire Straits, Eagles and a bunch of others that were a deciding factor in why I wanted to play music.
Today, while I still thrash Elvis and Jeff. I struggle to go a day without listening to and learning from Bon Iver, Matt Corby, Nick Murphy, Gang of Youths and Jacob Collier. Collier who I’ve only just recently discovered is quite literally a musical genius.
I also need to thank my pianist/saxophonist Aj Janus. He was a music teacher at my high school, and while he never taught me directly – he gave an annoying and highly excitable kid a chance to learn and develop a career. I still learn from him every time we play together.
Outside music, what are some of your passions and pastimes?
Outside of music I live pretty simply. I adore all of my friends, hanging out with them at the river or beach. Kicking the footy, having a beer, honestly pretty standard stuff.
I’m fortunate enough to be working for The Carly Ryan Foundation. I get to travel around Australia talking to kids about Online Safety & Wellbeing, it’s really rewarding, and I get to see the little interesting places our country has to offer.
I also love golf, but I’m horrific.
What message do you hope to convey with your music?
Just the other night I was watching a video of Jacob Collier at MIT and he said – “I’d rather write words that invite people to understand, rather than projecting my understanding to other people.”
That really spoke to me. While I have my own understanding of my songs, that doesn’t mean I want people to turn around and only think about what I’ve said. Language is stunning and so fascinating because so much of it comes down to interpretation. I suppose I just want people to know that it’s okay to be an individual, be vulnerable, be emotional – because it’s all a part of life. We as humans get to feel and express and it’s so important that we do so. So, whether you write to inspire, or write to heal, I think it’s equally as important to listen to be inspired and listen to heal. If that makes sense…
Ahead of your launch parties in 2020, what can an audience expect from your live show?
A lot of energy and a bunch of good friends having a great time on stage. I’ve been truly blessed to be able to play with some of the most talented people I’ve ever met in my life. My horn section is made up of incredibly strong players, while the drums and bass carry us perfectly through every song. If I didn’t show up, the audience would still have an incredible time.
Hopefully the audience gets the chance to feel something, I’d love people to sing along, boogie and maybe have a little cry. There’s a lot of passion behind these songs, more so when I get to play with such beautiful people. I’m really excited for everyone to see what we’ve got in store.
NAKED & AUTUMN LAUNCH PARTIES
FRI 3 JAN | THE MILK FACTORY, BRISBANE QLD
WED 8 JAN | THE GASOMETER, MELBOURNE VIC
FRI 10 JAN | RYE HOTEL, MORNINGTON PENINSULA VIC
SAT 11 JAN | JIVE, ADELAIDE SA