Interview with

Ed Askew

Ed Askew is a painter and singer-songwriter who lives in New York City. Born in Stamford, Connecticut, he moved to New Haven to study painting at Yale Art School in 1963. The singer-songwriter moved to New York for a few months in 1967 where he met Bernard Stolman of ESP Disk’, who offered him a contract. Between 1968 and 1986, Ed lived, mostly, in New Haven; doing occasional shows with his band , and later doing solo shows there.
Around 1987, Ed moved to New York City, where he continues to write and record songs, and now regularly performs. In the summer of 2011, Ed Askew embarked on his first US tour at the age of 71.
Stolen glances, forgiven memories and moments of joy are the backdrop of Ed Askew’s wonderful album “For The World”, released on Tin Angel Records in summer 2013.

Facts

1: there are usually 3 people in my band ; me (vocal) in my mid 70s, Jay Pluck (keys) in his mid 30s, and Tyler Evans (strings) in his mid 20s.

2: it is always the problem of the confusion caused by public officials saying one thing publicly, but having other, personal and political reasons for doing what they do.

3: I spend most of my time by myself.

Questions

What is the biggest inspiration for your music?
Making music is the biggest inspiration for making music.
Than there is knowing people who like my music. Especially other musicians who say nice stuff about my songs. Though, even at the time I wasn’t performing, I found the process of making a song challenging and interesting. And the stories all around you, of course.

How and when did you get into making music?
As a child, I was always in at least one choir. In High School I was in 3.
My father had a tiple that he never played, or even put strings on.
I got strings for it and started playing it when I was in High School.
Later, after I got my masters in fine art (in painting) from Yale, I started making songs. I was playing music and writing poetry at the time, so why not make my own songs.

What are your 5 favorite albums of all time?
Lotte Lenya’s 1958 production of The 3penny Opera. (I still have the LP box set)
The Smiths Meat is Murder.
My complete set of Ciccolini’s Piano music of Eric Satie.
Charle’s Ives Concord Sonata.
King Krule’s 6 Feet Beneath the Moon.
(Blood on the Tracks, isn’t bad also)

What do you associate with Berlin?
What I know about Berlin comes from tv news reports (when the wall came down), Wim Wenders films, German Music and art, etc. so I have a somewhat romantic view of the city. But I always wanted to see it for myself. Even if it’s only for a day.

What’s your favorite place in your town?
The Met. Museum. and Vickie’s Dinner, near me.

If there was no music in the world, what would you do instead?
Paint. Walk around. Have a beer with friends. Go to the museum. I’de be much more isolated, maybe.

What was the last record you bought?
James Blake’s Enough Thunder or Kath Bloom’s Pass Through Here

Who would you most like to collaborate with?
Don’t know. I’m certainly not going to fantasize about playing with some famous person. I would have to need them. I would have to meet them. Or someone in my band might suggest someone.    

What was your best gig (as performer or spectator)?
Nov 2012, I suppose, when we played a 4 week residency at Zebulon, in Brooklyn, before they went out of business. It was such a nice friendly bar. But new neighbors were complaining about the “noise”, and calling the cops.   H ere is a show (very lo- fi)

How important is technology to your creative process?
Very. In the sense that I work on songs using an Alesis Synth (mostly),  a modest proTools set up, and a MacBook. Also the band uses amps, electric guitar and stuff. But it’s a light foot print. It’s still related to acoustic music and an acoustic sound.

Do you have siblings and how do they feel about your career?
I have an older brother who keeps to himself. I hear from him on my birthday. I don’t know what he thinks, except he did appreciate getting cassettes when i used to send them out.

Our Favourites: Run Away  | Ask the Unicorn |  A take away show

Links: Band camp |  Facebook

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