Cape Town club owner, Ebenhaezer Smal gets his kicks as a music producer and DJ, making tight, high-energy dance music under the aliases HAEZER & Embassy. He’s made his name on the South African and international EDM scenes by developing an instantly recognisable, signature sound over the years, having collaborated with industry heavyweights like Bob Rifo of The Bloody Beetroots and Black Tiger Sex Machine. More recently though, he’s taken to his synth-packed studio and is working on his first ever album, EXIT.
“I’m very impressed with the clean in/out signal and ability of the iD22 to handle a ‘hot’ signal from a distortion unit”
The studio is a large, treated room. “It’s far from perfect, but it works for me,” he says. It consists of an iMac, Audient iD22 USB audio interface, a Culture Vulture distortion unit, Moog Little Phatty synth, Dave Smith Mopho and Waldorf Blofeld desktop synth and an Edirol midi keyboard. “I also make use of my Tasman recorder and sample from my SL1200 turntable,” he adds.
“I normally rig my synths via the Culture Vulture into my iD22. My analogue synths are all connected via USB to my iMac to have midi control via my midi keyboard.” What features of the Audient does he most benefit from? “I’m very impressed with the clean in/out signal and ability of the iD22 to handle a ‘hot’ signal from distortion unit without any artifacts. I use the built in stereo/mono check button all the time, too. I love this function and keeps my phasing and stereo/mono balance in check.”
“My biggest motivation to start the day is to better myself and create. Just create.”
Making an album certainly feels like a new direction for Ebenhaezer, who despite not taking himself too seriously, does admit to leaning ‘towards the darker sounds of a genre’, generally steering clear of what he describes as ‘cheesy’ or ‘fluffy’ music. “Most of my tracks I’ve made for club use. This is the first time I’m making songs to all fit into a body of work meant for listening to one after the other. Telling a story of sorts and taking the listener on a journey through different genres and moods.
“Music for me is a form of escapism,” he continues. “If people feel anything I’ll be happy. Everyone has their own interpretation of music and what it makes them feel.” He’s certainly experimented and evolved making HAEZER difficult to pigeonhole, so he’s reluctant to suggest just one track to showcase his vibe, before his album release in early 2017. “A good start would be ‘Minted’, ‘Mind Off’, ‘More’ and ‘Fire Walk With Me’,” he divulges.
“I see music as art and if I can better my art every day and never be stagnant, I’ll be a happy man.”
“My biggest motivation to start the day is to better myself and create. Just create. I see music as art and if I can better my art every day and never be stagnant, I’ll be a happy man.”