WITCHPOLICE RADIO: Welcome to Witchpolice Radio. I'm here with someone who is new to the podcast and actually fairly new to me, too. It's funny because you know what, I get a lot of requests from people who are interested in being on the show. They have new music coming out or big shows or things like that. And a lot of the time it's people who are really new to the local music scene.
But I was looking into some of your stuff sort of before we did this conversation, and you've been playing music for a while, so I think that the best way to sort of start this conversation off is if you want to introduce yourself and give a bit of background about what you do as an artist.
EZI MARGOLIS: Absolutely. That was a great intro. So, my name is Ezi. I am 29. I've been playing guitar for a long, long time, performing probably for about ten years. Okay. Not too much, though. I wasn't playing like, 50 to 100 shows a year. Like some bands and stuff. Sure. Haven't done any touring yet, but that's hopefully to come.
So I played in a Red Hot Chili Peppers cover band for a few years before COVID and then I think we played one or two shows after. So those were a ton of fun, mostly at the Pyramid. Okay, so that was a ton of fun. Then we played some original tunes as well back in 2019, and then I started recording over the past year. So I'm dropping my first single in eight days. September 29, the first single comes out, so I'm very excited. Yeah, I've been performing for a long time, had a couple amateur projects that I put out in the past. But this is my first real kick at it.
WR: So I guess maybe a question to jump off of that is, what took you so long to take a real kick at it? Why now? What was sort of the incentive to start doing this now and take it seriously? Not that you weren't before, I'm sure, but you know what I mean, to take that leap to properly recording and releasing a single.
EM: Yeah, absolutely. It was just kind of that the voice inside your head just telling you, this is what you have to do.
At times, I have a tough time finding my purpose, just like a lot of people maybe do. So I knew I just got to record these songs, put them out, do the best I can, so I know that'll make me feel good, and wherever it takes me, it takes me. But, yeah, that's pretty much the reason.
And I didn't really know many people in the industry before to connect with, or maybe I didn't have as much money saved up.
EM: So the projects know homebrews are a little more amateur, but yeah, now that I know some people, I'm working with Aaron Bartel from Apollo Suns. He's a good friend of mine now, and, yeah, he's been a pleasure to work with.
WR: What does a guy like that bring to your music? He, at least from what I know of, he's been in a lot of music that is very different from what you do. I mean, in the sense that Apollo Suns is like psychedelic jazz. He's been in funk bands and soul bands, and it's not necessarily what I would think of the two of you meshing well based on what I've heard of your stuff, but obviously it works. Right. So what is the connection there? What do you think works between the two of you?
EM: Yeah, so he's still pretty early in his production years. I think he's only started a few years ago, but he's very talented, so I don't think he had ever really worked on anything quite like this before, like a very acoustic forward project, so we kind of just jumped into it together. But he helps a lot with the songwriting and yeah, as a jazz musician, he's got a special ear, so he can hear things or come up with things that the average person just wouldn't think of. Sure. So he definitely helped me write these tunes and, yeah, they turned out great.
So I'm really excited to put them out because I didn't know what they were going to turn out like. I just knew I wanted to record them and have my band come in and do some backtracking. But I'm really impressed and I hope people enjoy them. That's what it's all about.
WR: How would you describe this stuff, stylistically? I mean, I know, like you said, it's acoustic based, and I think the obvious thing to descriptor for someone who's playing acoustic music is is folk singer songwriter kind of vibe. But like you said, you have a band, you're working with someone outside of the folk idiom for production. So do you have a different way of defining this? How would you call it? I know it's a shitty question. Everyone hates answering it.
EM: No, it's funny, I was going to start off by saying that's always a hard question.
WR: It is, yeah.
EM: No one really likes talking about their own stuff, but I categorize it as acoustic pop.
It's guitar forward, but catchy melodies. And that's kind of what I base the song around. Like, catchy hooks, catchy melodies. So acoustic pop rock, but singer songwriter, but it's a blend of genres. So I had a guy ask me the other day, we were at some event, and he was like, could this be on the country radio? I was like, man, sure, if they want to play it.
WR: Yeah, why not, right?
WR: I guess, what is the importance of the acoustic element to you? Because, I mean, like you said, all of these genres that it could fit into, but acoustic seems to be always sort of at the forefront of these genres.
EM: Yeah. So I've always just been an acoustic guitar player since I was eight years old. I dabbled in electric a little bit, but I always found myself going back to the acoustic. So that's really my instrument of choice, is the acoustic guitar. So I'm not really a piano player. I'm a singer. But some people, that's an instrument, I guess. But guitar is my go to instrument. So just keeping it to my roots and building around an acoustic sound was the idea. And I think we did a great job.
WR: Cool. Well, how does that fit into the pop thing, then? Because guitar, obviously, like you said, this is your instrument. You've been playing it for years, and it's at the forefront of what you do. But I think that guitars often in pop music, are kind of pushed to the back. I mean, a lot of pop music is very rhythmically based, and melodies for sure, too.
WR: But I think guitar people maybe incorrectly see guitar as fitting in with this genre and that genre, but I don't see it as in pop music so much. So how does that fit in with you as a guitar player?
EM: I guess for me, it's more about the melody.
EM: And that's kind of how I associate it with pop. And then from if I think of a melody in my head or like a vocal melody, I'll just find a good way to play it on the guitar, match it.
So when I think of pop, I grew up listening to a lot of radio.
I mean, a lot of kids did, but I was always in the car with my mom in this big soccer van, and I still listen to radio. I have, like, an old car that doesn't have Bluetooth.
My friends hate it, but whatever radio is. So I listen to a lot of Top 40. So I think that's kind of just, like, ingrained into me. Just like, I'm good at writing catchy stuff. So when I say pop, the only pop elements are that it's just really catchy. It's not like bubble. Not like bubblegum pop.
WR: Of course. Yeah. Well, pop rock is separate from pop anyway, right.
So where where do you think that places you sort of within the local music scene then? Because, I mean, you know, if you go heavily towards the acoustic singer songwriter kind of vibe, there's a whole scene for that. There's a big community and then obviously, like you said, if you can fit into country, there's a big country scene here.
Where do you sort of think you fit in as an artist? Because, again, you have those rock elements, you have those pop elements. It's not strictly folk music. Have you sort of found a place?
EM: Over the last few months, I've been going out more and involving myself a little bit more in the music scene. So I'm still carving my path and meeting people and figuring things out. But I think I'd like to be performing with a band four piece. So just playing some festivals and just meeting more people. That's really what I've been enjoying lately.
I think I went out to the open mic the other day at the Handsome Daughter just to meet some people, and that was fun. I hadn't played an open mic in years and years and years, so yeah, to answer the question yeah, I'm still trying to kind of figure out where I belong in the scene. But it's loaded with talent and everyone's always willing to help each other. So that is important.
It's not like a battle out here. We're not all kind of against each other. We're all kind of trying to lift each other up, which is special.
WR: Yeah. That is one of the things about Winnipeg for sure, that I think that I've spent so much time in this music community that I'm not sure if it's the same in other cities, but it does seem everyone's very welcoming and encouraging and sort of wanting the whole scene to elevate and everyone benefits from it. I definitely get that attitude and always have from Winnipeg music scene.
EM: Yeah. No, it's special. There's not a lot of communities like the music scene. A lot of other industries are everyone's battling against each other or trying to climb over each other to get to the top. But just like Boy Golden, for example, he's got a team of whatever, ten people that he performs with. And they all work together and they're all climbing together. Chris does his solo stuff and Fontaine's got her solo stuff.
It really shows when you have a team and when you work together, you can really all rise as. Yeah.
WR: So have you put together like, a solid band for backing you up? Do you have that side of it figured out or are you still working?
EM: So in the past, I've played with friends of mine, the guitarist, he moved away to Vancouver, but luckily he got into video work. So we did a music video together, which turned out great. So it will be Jesse Popeski. He plays in Casati.
WR: It's a great band.
EM: I don't know if he knows, but he'll be playing guitar for me. And then my buddy Noah and Jeff, they're cousins.
Noah's good buddies with Jesse and Jeff. They've all been playing together for a long. Cool. Yeah. Jesse filled in to one of Red Chili Pepper shows last minute and we were like, can you learn all these songs? He's like, I already know them all.
WR: That helps. Yeah, definitely.
EM: Yeah. I was like, oh, jeez. It was a Wednesday. Our show was on Friday. But yeah, he came in clutch.
WR: Right on. Do these songs well, first of all, how old are these songs? Are these songs that you've had sort of percolating for a while? Or is this sort of new stuff that you've done recently and then wanted to put down?
EM: So the first song coming out in a week, it's been around for a few years.
EM: Yeah. So that one's been around for a few years. The other couple that I've recorded with Aaron, they're within the last couple of years. I don't write too too many songs, so I try to go quality over quantity.
WR: It's a good attitude to have.
EM: Yeah. I mean, it doesn't work for everybody, but for me, I try to really just pump out quality stuff. Yeah. The creative juices aren't always flowing. So when they're flowing, I try to really crack down.
WR: You have these single at the time we're recording this, you have a single that's imminently coming out and you have other ones, like you said, that you've been working on with Aaron. Is the eventual goal to release these as a larger project, as an EP or an album, or are you just focused on singles right now?
EM: So I've been trying to decide that lately. It kind of flip flops from day to day. I definitely am leading up to an album might be a couple EPs leading up, like couple EPs on the way there or just single single singles up to the album. There's definitely several ways of going about it.
I haven't really decided yet, but I think I will wrap a few songs up into an EP and then work towards an album for 2025.
WR: Okay. And when is this current stuff coming out? I mean, I know again you have the single that's imminent, but as far as an EP with these songs you recorded, is that sort of aimed at next year?
EM: Yeah. So it'll be after winter rolls through. So I'll be putting out a tune the end of this month and then the end of November and then I'm going to let Christmas happen, let the holidays happen, put out another tune at the beginning of January.
EM: So that'll be three tunes and then I think I'm going to add a cover song to the EP, then probably have a release show sometime in the spring. So it is a long time away. It's still six months but you got to drag things and milk just milk it for as much as you can. Yeah.
WR: What is that process like for you at this point? And I know this is your first kind of release of this nature.
WR: Do you have an idea sort of how to approach it or are you just going to sort of see what happens, I guess when you release the first single and then take lessons from that and apply them to the next few.
EM: So I have been learning over the past several years over the releases that I've put out and taken down from the internet, so I have been learning a lot of stuff and it's funny, but YouTube is very helpful, like marketing strategies and just how to promote a single. So people have been presaving it on Spotify for a few weeks. So I have about, whatever, 35 people on a day, it's going to get sent right to their Spotify. So it helps the algorithm per se.
So I've been doing everything. I'm sending it off to radio and I cleverly designed my album art with a friend of mine from high school. We reconnected, which is nice. Cool. So, yeah, there's a lot of stuff, but yeah, just taking it day by day because it can be kind of overwhelming, but there's really no right way to do it. You just got to send emails and call people and just network as much as you can because no one's really coming to you. That's what I've learned over the past ten years.
You got to go to them and put out some good stuff before they're reaching out to you.
WR: Well, yeah, like you said, there's so many elements to it now too, that you're doing all by yourself. I mean, the marketing side of things, that isn't necessarily something that everyone would have been doing even a decade ago. But now with the Internet and with social media and with just the ease of sort of contacting and networking people, it's expected, right? There's this whole other element of you can't just be the creative guy anymore. You have to have all these other hats and handle the marketing and the distribution and all these things.
EM: Yeah, absolutely. You're kind of doing all the jobs at once, but it's fun. It's good to learn all these skills.
I don't love being on social media, but you got to post stuff and engage people so you can get creative on that end. But yeah, there is a lot of stuff to do. But yeah, that's just the way it goes. Until you have someone working for you or you're paying someone or whatever, you're going to be doing it all yourself. But that's just like everything else.
Yeah, you just got to bust your ass until you get a team, which I'm developing slowly. If I didn't have Aaron, this would be impossible. If I didn't have Noah and Jeff to play bass and yeah, I'd have to call other yeah, I'm definitely developing a team and it's coming together nicely.
WR: So at this point, when this comes out that that single will be released, people will be able to find it on the various platforms, I imagine. How can someone find out more information about your music?
I mean, the good thing about this being a podcast, they could hear it the day it comes out or they could hear it a year from now and maybe by then you have an EP out or maybe you have a bunch of shows or festivals or whatever. What's the best way to sort of keep in touch with you on the Internet and find out what you're up to?
EM: The best way? Probably through Instagram. Honestly, I don't really have a YouTube page. I'll have a video coming out in two weeks after the release.
But yeah, Instagram and my linktree usually has all my information that'll be through my Instagram bio. So yeah, I've been updating that and I just had stickers printed with my QR and they say do not scan. I'm putting those all around. I just put some in the Handsome Daughter the other day.
But yeah, call me, text me, I'm very responsive. Until I get like 1000 messages a day I can answer everybody, right?
WR: Yeah you can handle it until you can't handle it anymore? Yeah.
And you mentioned earlier too, that you had some other recordings that you've since taken down from the Internet. Do you have any other stuff floating around out there that people can find other than this new music coming?
WR: Yeah, so friend of mine keeps bugging me to put it back on Spotify and I keep saying, well it's on Bandcamp, everyone can listen. So it's on Bandcamp under Free Morgan. So that was the band name we went under for a few years. We don't really play together anymore, but they'll just be playing under my name. So same guys just under the Ezi Margolis Band?
...yeah. So what was the question?
WR: What else do you have out? Because say someone hears this, they hear the new single and they want to check out more of your stuff. Obviously the EP is not out yet. Where can they dig up your old recordings?
EM: My mind's in the gutter. Okay, so I did a video with Village Idiots. We did a Spare Room.
WR: Yeah, I saw that. Very cool.
EM: Yeah, that was fun to go in there and work with Rylie. I've always wanted to work with him, he's a great guy. And then I did a video with my buddy Tyler, who did the music video for me. We did a video last January, I filmed it at my cousin's place and I ironically named it the Big Couch video instead of like Tiny Desk. Sure, I try to make a joke out of that. So that turned out pretty good. We did five songs, so that's alive. You can find that on my link tree, I believe. Yes.
And then, yeah, three song EP with the band that we made in the basement living room. Kind of mix and mastered ourselves. So that was the first band project. But there's not much that's out. I wanted to start kind of from a fresh slate and put out some good quality stuff because that's what you got to do.
If you don't come out flying, then it's kind of hard to spread your wings. So yeah, I've been waiting a long time to put this out, but I think it's been the right idea. Right game plan.