Track By Track: Ed Prosek discusses his new EP, The Foreigner
California-born and Berlin-based artist Ed Prosek embarks on a profound introspective voyage through his latest project, The Foreigner. In this collection of six heartfelt songs, the singer, songwriter, and multi-instrumentalist delves into the themes of identity and belonging. The release seamlessly navigates between timeless chamber orchestration, eloquent Americana storytelling, and intimate pop, all thanks to his deft instrumentation and meticulous songwriting. In this exclusive track by track, Prosek walks us through each song, one at a time.
“As an American in Europe I’ll never be fully European, but at the same time, when I go home, I feel like a tourist there as well,” he explains. “A strange reality that leaves me confused about my identity and my feelings of ‘home’. This EP was written in one of the most important/exciting times of my life. It documents the highs and the lows of love and anxiety and it does so from the perspective of my inner monologue.”
‘Hallelujah’ started as a melody I couldn’t get out of my head with two bars of 6/4 followed by two bars of 4/4. I love irregular patterns because they always lend themselves to unique melodies and lyric structures and get me so much more inspired so much more quickly.
I wrote it at a time that was really important and pivotal in my life, I proposed to my now wife the day before my 30th birthday after months of trying to find the right moment. We were on a hike in our favourite forest with our little dog Nino and I knelt down in the fresh snow to pop the question and (spoiler alert) thankfully she said yes.
So much of this EP came from trying to capture these important moments so that I’d have them forever and ‘Hallelujah’ is exactly that.
2. ‘Man Overboard’
‘Man Overboard’ is certainly the most existentialist song on the EP. It’s a song about not knowing where you’re headed, but taking the somewhat absurd plunge anyway. Certainly something I’ve been feeling over the past few years of immense changes I’ve undergone personally and professionally (as well as those the whole world felt).
This song leans into an embrace of this constant state of change because it’s happening whether we like it or not, so we may as well make the most of it.
3. ‘Ever After (Wedding Song)’
This song picks up where ‘Hallelujah’ left off, continuing the story of getting married to my favourite person in the world last year.
As a guy who does basically nothing but make music, it was pretty natural that the whole wedding would devolve into a makeshift music festival with some of my wonderful friends playing songs throughout the ceremony and late into the night. So instead of giving a speech, I decided that the best way that I could express everything I wanted to say and to shine light on not only the story of how my wife and I fell in love, but how much she’s helped me grow and change into a happier and more complete person and how endlessly grateful I am for her existence. It still makes me smile like an idiot every time I hear it.
‘Vertigo’ is a song about drowning your sorrows. It’s a complex stream-of-consciousness exploration of the thoughts that plague us, the things we wish we’d done differently and the hope that the future will look brighter for those who keep going.
It’s also the song that really solidified the sound of the EP for me when I recorded it. Atmospheric string parts, rhythmic mandolin, and banjo parts that help guide the song on like a steam train, these little arrangement ideas and motifs show up throughout the EP in different ways, often bookending the songs.
5. ‘The Foreigner’
This is definitely the most “Ed Prosek” song on the EP and it does everything I’d ever want out of one of my songs! Its got a brass band and a trumpet solo (I’ve been playing since I was 8 years old), its got introspective lyrics about not knowing where you belong (something I think and write about a lot), and a sweet little guitar riff that is just so much fun to play.
This was the first song I wrote for the whole EP and the tone and musical choices really helped me figure out what I wanted this larger body of work to sound like!
6. ‘Tell a Lie’
‘Tell a Lie’ was my excuse to FINALLY have the biggest, out of place 80’s fade-to-black outro I’ve always wanted to have in a song but never trusted myself to execute. I’ve definitely put them together for other songs, but never had the courage to keep it in until the final draft. The wonderful people who work at my label surprised me by loving it and it was immediately clear that this time, it was gonna make it out to the world and I’m so glad it did. It stands so tall at the very end of the whole EP, like a giant pink neon sign fading out into the distance that has almost nothing to do with the rest of the music… Exactly how I planned it. Is that normal for serious, sentimental singer songwriters? No. Is it cool? Probably not. Do I love it endlessly? YES.
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