He’s the frontman to Edward Sharpe & the Magnetic Zeros and an all-round nice guy. He wouldn’t leave home without love and confronted his own death at age five. Alex Ebert is an interesting man. We had a chat to him about working solo, the new Edward Sharpe album and touring.
What is your first music memory?
My father used to play opera and classical music very loud in his office. I think he was playing Beethoven and I think I was about five. And I realised that I was going to die. I realised the whole concept of death. I think the music brought that forth… so I asked if it was all true. I ended writing a song about it later. I think that was my real super profound experience with music.
What other music did your dad listen to?
He was emphatic about music he listened to. He was a music ‘buff’, as he would say. My parents would play their music extremely loud. There was no escaping it. There was a lot of country western, classical, opera or very big bodacious new-age music like Chariots of Fire… that kind of thing.
What was it like working on a solo project, then reforming Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros?
In a way it was good for me on a lot of levels. When it came time for me to do this next [Edward Sharpe] album I felt confident enough that I could handle producing it. In another way I love writing songs but I don’t love the idea of only being able to put out songs every three years. So going solo was a great outlet to put some music out that wasn’t necessarily Edward Sharpe or from the band. It was something I could put under my own name.
Here is very subtle and in some ways meditative to me. It differs greatly from Up from Below. It’s not as rambunctious and it’s less punctuated with different sounds and whatnot. It allows the songs to speak a little more simply, and I think that’s the main difference. It’s more sure of itself… there’s a greater confidence we have now.
The band’s music has been used a lot for commercials and TV shows. Do you mind it being used in this way?
In an ideal world, I wish it wouldn’t be used so much like that. It isn’t the worst thing if the two (the song and its use) are somewhat compatible. But they aren’t always compatible. If the commercial is going to take the song and turn it on its head, and make it about something else, that’s not a good thing… If the company isn’t completely evil, then its something to consider. Its been going on for a long time.
What are your sentiments about touring?
You have to throw yourself entirely into touring and playing shows. As long as I sleep, I’m ok. If I’m not sleeping well, it’s bad news.
What has been your favourite tour experience?
My favourite tour so far was the tour with Mumford and Sons across some of the American states. It was so much about being in the US and the circumstances of the tour. It was very dreamlike.
What can’t you leave home without?
Umm…gosh. I don’t know. Probably love. I can live without a lot, but not without love.
What would you be doing if you weren’t in music?
I miss painting, I miss making movies, I miss writing. Also, I was just thinking to go to school to become a physicist.
Here, is now available in Australia and is the first part of a double album. The second part is coming out later this year.