Sam Eckstein is Esseks. The NYC-based producer and illustrator is a force in electronic music. From dance-floor-ready thrashers to emotionally-driven introspective cuts, Esseks is a proven innovator.
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Following “Boss Lair” and “Watching From a Distance,” and “Swamp Lord,” Esseks unveils his newest album The Villain’s Journey via Deadbeats. Esseks cut his teeth in the dance music space circa 2015 with his explosive debut album Bad Cartoons. It wasn’t long after his breakthrough that the industry embraced his forward-thinking, cutting-edge production styles. A mutli-faceted creator, Esseks also draws and paints the art for his releases himself.
Despite the odds, 2020 was a successful year for Esseks as he released a string of celebrated singles, his 2-track EP Soul Stone with Shanghai Doom, and delivered a track for Bassrush’s compilation album The Prophecy Vol 1. Maintaining a full speed momentum, Esseks has already made 2021 his own.
At the heels of his single “Ellie’s Nap” which was released on CloZee’s self-curated album Emergence, Esseks has mapped the blueprint for his forthcoming album The Villain’s Journey. An album inspired by storytelling and unconventional genres, the LP is a mythical story that follows a lionhearted voyager through a post-apocalyptic New York City.
Each track on the album is a musical manifestation of the dystopian hellscapes and dark forces the voyager encounters along his journey. In addition to the propulsive storytelling in The Villain’s Journey, all of the LP’s art was drawn and painted by the hand of Esseks himself.
The album’s lead singles “Boss Lair,” “Watching From a Distance,” and “Swamp Lord” were praised by the likes of Billboard Dance, Bassrush, ThisSongIsSick, EDM.com, Headbang Society, and more. A proper thriller, The Villain’s Journey is stitched together with narcotic dubstep breaks, trap nuances, tricky hip-hop cadences, and a flurry of unconventional electronic subgenres. Watch this space.
“The inspiration behind this album came from all the prog rock concept albums I listened to as a kid. There was something epic to me about musicians trying to tell a story through their music even if it was, in most cases, overambitious stories about a distant future in which “rocking” is outlawed or something so vague that the person describing it to you barely knows the story but loves telling you it exists.
I wanted to make the kind of album your burnout older brother would show you in his airbrushed van or whatever the modern equivalent of that is. I made a series of illustrations around a loose narrative inspired by the music. It’s about a sword wielding protagonist who navigates a flooded post apocalyptic New York City. I would prefer to keep the narrative open to interpretation beyond that but I make some hints in the art and in the vinyl booklet about what it’s about to me. “ – Esseks