Time for the next edition of Metal Anarchy’s “new music showcase,” the feature where I introduce you to artists that readers of this site may find interesting. This time I have an exclusive Q&A with Tete Essien.
METAL ANARCHY: Tell me a little about your project:
TETE ESSIEN: I’ve made music on my own and in a band for a while, but when I started working towards all of this I was certain that I wanted to have a crack at the whole solo musician thing. My way of making music had always been quite a solitary process so in that sense nothing had really changed. My intention has been to write the tunes that I would like to listen to and that leads me in all kinds of directions, sound wise. Because I see myself as a songwriter first, that informs how I want the music to sound, so if that means dipping my toe into soul on one day and then indie on another, if it feels right I don’t really debate it.
METAL ANARCHY: Who are your main influences?
TETE ESSIEN: I love artists who take full control of their output. Whether that’s taking care of their artworks and video treatment ideas, or playing a bag of the instruments on the record. People like Frank Ocean, Tyler the Creator, Kevin Parker and Jamie T, they inspire me bare. As creatives, you just know that they’re fans first and foremost, and that’s how I see myself as well. Lyrically I love Alex Turner, I think he’s immense, and Kano too, he’s great at chronicling his surroundings. Otis Redding has to be my ideal singer. His vocals have so much character and passion. I’ll never be able to sing that well but it’s something to aim for.
METAL ANARCHY: What is your latest release and why should readers of this site check it out?
TETE ESSIEN: I just released my song, “Runaway”, as a single and it seems to have gotten decent feedback so far. What I like about the track is that it’s wound quite tightly to start with before it unleashes all of that tension during the chorus. Amongst a backdrop of crunchy guitars and icy keyboards, it has me wailing to myself and the people around me about seeking out more than just what lies inside the confines of our ends’ walls. It really ended up being this kind of ‘call to arms’ and I really rate that about it. I sound quite impassioned on it, as much as I’ve ever sounded, so if that sounds like your kind of joint, you should give it a whirl.
METAL ANARCHY: What can people expect when they go to your live shows?
TETE ESSIEN: There’s an intensity to the way I like to perform. A few songs into the set, once I’ve found my feet and really gotten into it (usually the first Guinness and tequila are starting to stir inside of me at this point), I really feel like I’m in the zone then. I have total belief in the songs and I perform to express that. My faith in the music means that, in my head, I don’t need to be a great vocalist or guitarist, I just need to be the best at playing the tunes and the rest deals with itself. When I’m really feeling it, there’s an eagerness and enjoyment that come to the surface and I think that shines through. Soon we’ll have sick merch too, if I do say so myself.
METAL ANARCHY: Where do you see your project heading in 5 years?
TETE ESSIEN: I’d like to have a few records and tours under my belt by that point, and I see no reason why I can’t conceivably make that happen. My aim is always to write songs, get better at that and hone my craft, and then see where that takes me. You’ve got no control of how they or you are received, and so I don’t devote too much time to meditating on those possibilities. Wherever it is that those next 5 years take me, I just hope to still have conviction in my decision making and to still be enjoying the process of making music as much as I do right now. I make music for myself to enjoy listening to, so if ever he stops nodding along, I know I’ve overstayed my welcome.