An Interview With The New York-Based Group, LATE SEA On Their Latest Single ‘Hunter’ and More!
Posted On 06 Mar 2018
New York’s Late Sea have been hard at work carefully crafting their dark brand of electronic sorcery. Their new video “Hunter” comes as the latest fantastical and spell-binding addition. Lead vocalist Izzy Gliksberg lays his distinct speak-sing vocals over lush, atmospheric soundscapes that both captivate and confound the listener. It’s a tricky thing to balance, but the band pulls off this juggling act effortlessly, with “Hunter” a prime example of their ability to create music that is simultaneously experimental and accessible.
Recently “Hunter” was released as the third and final video off the band’s recently released EP The Writer’s Trilogy. As they did with their previous two singles “Ring The Bells” and “The Great White” Late Sea have created a stunning visual to accompany the song.
The video for “Hunter” is centered around the mesmerizing movement of Butoh dancer Mina Nishimura who choreographed her routine specifically for the song. Well-known in the NYC arts community, Nishimura has collaborated with artists including Celia Rowlson-Hall, Vicky Shick, and Ursula Eagly, as well as gaining popularity for her evocative performance on Saturday Night Live with Sia in 2015. In “Hunter”, Nishimura appears with striking silver hair, white make-up, and a flowing dress – an otherworldly mystique that she masterfully portrays. Set on a desolate beach, beneath a clouded sky, Nishimura dances within the confines of a glass cube that seeks to restrict and imprison her. Trapped inside, her character writhes and contorts in accordance with the pulse of the dark soundscape painted by Gliksberg and his bandmates in Late Sea. Reverb-drenched trumpet stabs, played by Sam Nester, echo over off-kilter rhythms and arpeggiated synth lines that float alongside the cry of a ghostly theremin. The tone of the composition, paired with Nishimura’s movement, works to great effect and makes for a video that is both visually engaging and thought provoking.
Nishimura shared her thoughts on the experience, “Dancing to Late Sea’s “Hunter” on a desolate beach was a profound and unforgettable experience, which resonated in my body for a long time. Gliksberg’s music spoke to my soul and to the deepest part of my body, and transported my mind to another world. Although the film was shot on a extremely cold day, my body was boiling from inside! I very much enjoyed and appreciated the opportunity to be taken to such a deep internal journey by the mysteries and poesies of “Hunter.”
Inspired by Franz Kafka’s story The Hunter Gracchus the messages behind “Hunter” aren’t particularly easy to decipher, which just follows in true Kafka fashion, leaving interpretation open to the viewer. Gliksberg explains, “Kafka manages to make an improbable connection between the mystery of ‘being’ to the strangeness of modern day bureaucracy. Gracchus the hunter is both a mythical figure and a petty one. The story is impossibly bizarre, even by Kafka’s standards.”
Late Sea’s The Writers Trilogy EP is available now to stream and purchase on iTunes, Spotify and all major digital retailers.
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Learn more about Late Sea in the following All Access interview:
Thanks for your time! Where does this interview find you today? What is one song that you are loving right now? What is a song that you all disagree about loving right now?
I’m listening to lots of Beethoven lately, and I love The National’s new album Sleep Well Beast. No particular song though.
How has 2018 been treating you all so far? What is one musical goal that you have for this year?
Currently I’m working on new material and in two months we’ll start rehearsing and building the arrangements. In the past, I used to come to the band members with fully fleshed ideas I mocked up at home but this time I’m aiming for a more collaborative approach in building the songs. We’re also trying to break our way into the music festival circuit so that we can be exposed to more fans.
Can you recall the moment when you all thought you could be in a band together? Was it hard to come up with a name that you all thought fit your sound and who you are? How did you pick this one?
I usually work on the music solo and in later stages of production the full crew steps into the picture.
The people who are now actively performing with me in Late Sea come from extremely diverse backgrounds- Sam Nester (trumpet player) and myself come from a more or less classical background, Graham Doby (Drummer) comes jazz-fusion-punk world and Kalen Lister (keyboards and backing vocals) comes from the pop-rock realms. I know Sam from Manhattan School of Music but I met Kalen and Graham quite randomly.
The name was a huge hassle! I had lists and lists of possible names that I sent to everyone – band members, family and friends – and that somehow stuck.
What has the growth been like for this band since first forming?
Late Sea has gone through many changes. Sam Nester is the only person that I’ve been working with since the beginning of my indie rock endeavors. I guess we’re still learning about this indie rock business. Especially from the business side of things.
Let’s talk about your newly released EP The Writers Trilogy. What was it like putting this collection together? Were there any unexpected challenges or surprises?
The main surprise was how long it takes to make the videos. I started conceptualizing the project some two years ago and materializing the videos took us a very long time. So the feeling of having everything out in the world is quite satisfying.
The positive side of it is that our idea of a show with the film projection really worked- we performed the full version of the EP with the visuals at National Sawdust and Rough Trade and the experience was magnificent.
What was it like making the video for “Hunter”? How creatively involved were you in the making of it? Why did you choose to have the evocative dancer Mina Nishimura in the video and how did you come to work with her?
It was clear from the get go that “Hunter” was going to be a dance video. Andrey and Hazuki, the directors, introduced me to Mina and we all got together to see her dance out her ideas for the video. Although I’m not very familiar with modern dance or Butho dance for that matter, it was obvious from her first move that something about her energy was perfect for the song.
The video was shot in a freezing cold day out in Fort Tilden, NY. It worked well for us because no one was out there other than the crew, but it also made Mina’s job much harder- sitting on the wet sand in such a cold weather was not very luxurious. But it all turned out for the best and now we’re even bigger fans of her!
Generally, how do you guys go about putting a song together? Do you work separately or together?
I generally write the songs many months before I start producing them. In this EP, after the songwriting was done I mocked up up arrangements in my studio and started bringing people in to record over the sketches I’ve made. When the sketches were ready I went to Yoav Shemesh, who produced the EP, and we polished the arrangements and re-recorded everything. It was a lengthy process.
How important do you think social media has been to this band? Do all you help to maintain all your sites or is one of you more into it all? Or do you rely on your PR/management team to handle it all?
I do the social media, but I think I’m really bad at it! Perhaps I’m not comfortable with putting myself out there when it’s not through words and music that I meticulously planned.
Who would you love to work with in the future? Who are some of your favorite artists right now? What do you think would be a dream collaboration for this group?
I really dig a lot of veteran artists – Bjork, Nick Cave and Radiohead are what immediately comes to mind. I’m really into James Blake who is an incredibly sensitive musician. Kendric Lamar really blows my mind. To me, he is one of the only true representative of a counter-culture act that made it to the mainstream. He cares about his people and about political issues and that seems to be the main drive behind his work.
I love the british band London Grammar, and our fellow Brooklinite Nicolas Jaar.
As for collaboration fantasies: I will be forever happy if Bjork would agree to sing a duet with me on our next album. I actually wrote a song with her in mind.
We are living in a trying time right now so I am curious how you think being in this band gives you the most joy in life today? Do you think that music being created today is going to reflect this challenging time?
I think that social media and digital super-connectivity is flattening out our language and equalizing our individual worlds. It seems like everything exists on a ‘general’ level, as though everybody is the same. This can be a positive thing on the political level, but it’s a disaster on the emotional and artistic level.
I hope that artists in general and musicians in particular do their best to create extremely personal work. It might not be rewarding on a material level, but it’s the only thing that can open up new horizons for potential listeners, and isn’t that the real work of an artist?
Having said that, America is huge, and if you dig down just a little you always find amazing things that are going on under the radar.
What do you hope is the message of your music? What do you hope people continue to take away from your songs? What do you hope they take away from one of your shows?
I hope that our music puts people into a mental ecstatic trance, and opens up a world where they would be interested in hanging out and coming back.
I’m not sure if were quite there but my goal in shows is always to create some type of a ceremony. A ceremony in which the audience lets us lead them into the backyard of their conciseness where everything is more interesting and real.
Is there anything else that you would like to share with our readers about yourselves or your music?
1. Everyone in the band has great hair except me.
2. We’ve just entered the streaming world so check us out on Spotify!