Alex Izenberg conjures a dystopian dream in his debut album, “Harlequin,” which drops Nov. 18. Utilizing fragments from his past five years of songwriting, the young Los Angeles native skips from string-infused moments of unsettling intimacy to uplifting pop songs reminiscent of Elton John. In his multi-layered single “To Move On,” and the album as a whole, Izenburg’s vocals highlight his eccentricity as a musician and the confidence of his style. With the new release just days away, Izenberg sat down with WSN to discuss his thoughts on the record.
Washington Square News: So how’d you find your way into playing music after growing up in LA?
Alex Izenberg: I thought it was safer than skateboarding [laughs]. I grew up playing in a rock n’ roll band signed to Custard Records. We went on a tour and … well, they kicked me out when we got back, so I started making music on Garageband. Eventually I got an email asking if my music could be posted on a blog shared with this guy named Jack, who was starting a label that connected with Domino Records called Weird World. He was going to call it Shine On, which I thought was pretty cool, but he ended up keeping the name Weird World.
WSN: Did those Garageband works eventually turn into the new album coming out next week or is this something entirely new?
AI: No, actually. The new record was produced separately in two of my friends’ apartments, and they both used Logic. It was a pretty collaborative process. I don’t really remember at this point in my life what started the idea for the whole thing. I just know I felt the compulsion to make a record.
WSN: The record has a pretty unique sound. How did you find it? In other words, what were the musical inspirations that we might pick up from the album?
AI: Well, I really like Britney Spears and ABBA. Also, the Rolling Stones were a really big inspiration. I was listening to a lot of string music at the time too, and my producer and friend Ari Balouzian plays violin and has a classical background.Together, we made some string-based songs, so there’s a handful of songs on the record that are predominantly string-based.
WSN: Now that you have wrapped up recording, what are your hopes for the album?
AI: I hope that I stand by it in five years, and that it stands the test of time, because there’s been stuff that I’ve put out before that have kind of been overlooked. I don’t really stand by [that music now]. I just hope that this still has some meaning to me in five years. It’s more of a personal satisfaction that I’m looking for.
WSN: Do you have any plans to hit the road for a few shows?
AI: Yeah, we have a record release show coming up here in LA, so that should be fun. I’m pretty nervous because we’ve only rehearsed twice, but it’s coming together. No plans for [touring] to New York yet, but that does sound like a great thing to do.
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