The pensive rock of Greg Herzenach
Don’t be fooled by the complicated last name. What Greg Herzenach does is simple music, composed on the guitar, preferably in the bedroom. Following the advice of famous musicians with whom he shares the stage and the studio, the American producer, composer and multi-instrumentalist decided to release, last year, a bit of his songs at once in a magnificent album with an emblematic name for today, “Music for Headphones”.
(…) now days so many walk around listening with headphones/earbuds whilst, back in my younger days it meant you were gonna get serious about listening when you busted out the good headphones and immersed yourself.
Greg on “Music for Headphones” meaning
Containing 9 concise tracks, the album could very well be sold on the shelf of meditation works, except that, in this case, a meditation aimed at lovers of “millimetrically” thought rock, in the style of Brian Wilson and with touches of Bossa Nova by João Gilberto, even though the first name that pops out is no other than the late genious Elliott Smith. “(Music For Headphones”) it’s for a certain type of folk that enjoys a certain mood (pensive, melancholic) repeated listenings and attention to detail in harmony and melody“, he claims.
I guess, Greg Herzenach has just created “pensive rock”.
2 6 Things about Greg Herzenach
RC – Hi Greg, how are things in California?
GH – Thanks! they are pretty good, if you like relentless sun and blue sky. Growing up in the midwest I do miss some weather and season changes though.
RC – Names like badly drawn boy, Kings of Convenience and, mainly, Elliott Smith come directly to mind when listening to “Music for Headphones”. Is it right to say that they are an influence?
GH – I remember Kings of convenience! I had one of their CDs. I haven’t listened to badly drawn boy (I will check them out) I love Elliot Smith! I believe we share similar influences. Like Brian Wilson (songs like ‘surfs up’ ‘wind chimes’) The Beatles, also a lot of 70s music i grew up with. Pink Floyd, Queen, Glen Campbell, The Commodores. So many 90s and current bands like Punch Brothers, Autolux, Beck, Pinback. So much great music!
RC – How was the process of making “Music for headphones”? Is it somehow a reference to Brian Eno’s “Music for Airports”?
GH – Music for Airports, What a seminal record! It would be subconscious as far as that one goes but I’ve listened to that record so much: ) It’s more a duality in the sense that now days so many walk around listening with headphones/earbuds whilst back in my younger days it meant you were gonna get serious about listening when you busted out the good headphones and immersed yourself. You hear things you don’t always hear and there is quite a bit of ear candy and subtlety that I hopefully put in this release.
The process was inspired by a few good friends and great musicians (I could name drop but I won’t) That told me I should release this music. I never thought it was ‘done’ in the sense that it was recorded with a demo mindset. Just getting the idea down in my home studio and eventually the intention was to try and get some musicians together and go into a proper studio. They said that can be the story! It’s you and your bedroom studio. So when the pandemic slowed down life a bit. I finally had more time to hunker down, write some new music, finish some older songs, add some more layers and production and put this record out.
RC – Judging by the title “Music for headphones”, we have a dubious idea that it is a type of music to be consumed quickly, on the run. Or perhaps to be calmly analyzed. What did you mean when you arrived at that title?
GH – More to be listened to immersed. Maybe a little 420 and some downtime
RC – Usually, independent artists start with a series of singles. You decided to send a full album right away, something increasingly rare in the market. What are your expectations regarding the acceptance of your work as a whole?
GH – Hmm, I don’t think it is a first listen, bang! It’s chock full of hooks and instantly memorable music. It’s for a certain type of folk that enjoys a certain mood (pensive, melancholic) repeated listenings and attention to detail in harmony and melody.
RC – About Brazil, do you consume anything from our music, culture? Do you intend to perform your album live on tours around the world, maybe here too?
GH – Wow, what a segue! Because I just spoke about attention to detail in regards to harmony and melody. I think the music of Jobim and Bossa Nova exemplifies this at the highest level! I love that music and when I practice guitar and improvisation it is often over those tunes. Like Meditation, Wave, How insensitive, The music from the film Black Orpheus, ect. Timeless and truly beautiful!
As far as touring, that would be amazing but these days with this self produced, self released music there would have to be quite a demand. I say this coming from the perspective as someone who has worked and toured with signed artists and record labels. They provided the album expenses and also tour support as part of the deal. Not sure how it works at this indie/bedroom production level?
I am fortunate to make my living as a musician though. I do sessions as a guitarist and multi instrumentalist as well as scoring indie films and documentaries. Also writing for TV and advertisements. I certainly shouldn’t complain.
A now, we want your opinion about Greg Herzenach’s work!