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With his current album “Sundown”, Eddie Chacon has released one of the best albums of the year. The Californian soul artist is currently on tour in Europe and will also play some shows in Germany at the beginning of November. He will be accompanied by the fabulous The Zenmenn from Berlin, whose terrific album “Hidden Gem” made it into our Top 10 last year. We caught up with Chacon in Lisbon to ask him a few questions about the tour and his latest album.

Eddie, I’ll catch up with you in Lisbon, where the tour kicks off. Are you happy that it’s finally time to perform in Europe again?

Absolutely. I appreciate every opportunity to play this music I’m so proud of for my audience.

I still have the clips of your first concerts after the pandemic in my mind. The gratitude of the audience to finally experience live the music that had been with them through the pandemic. What were those first shows like for you? What was it like for you to perform live again?

It was both frightening and beautiful! Frightening because I hadn’t been in front of an audience in so many years. Beautiful because I never thought I would ever get the opportunity to sing for an audience again.

On your current European tour you will not be accompanied by John Carroll Kirby, but by the Berlin band The Zenmenn. How did you become aware of the group? What distinguishes their music?

The Zenmenn opened my show a while back in Berlin. I watched from the side of the stage and it immediately occurred to me how perfect it would be to collaborate with them. I’m such a fan of their music. It’s a real honour for me that they’re up for it.

How do you prepare for a show? Do you have certain rituals? And what do you enjoy most when you are on stage?

I actually feel very comfortable on stage so I don’t really have any rituals. I realized the other day I’ve been performing for an audience for almost 50 years. This thought relaxes me before I perform. I very much enjoy the relationship I have with my audience. They indulge me in my storytelling and I really appreciate that.

Eddie, let’s talk about your current album “Sundown”. You wrote the first half of the album with John Carroll Kirby in Ibiza. How did that come about?

I received a instagram dm from a guy who has since become a dear friend. he said “Pleasure, Joy And Happiness” helped his family through covid. He offered to gift me his beautiful vacation home in Ibiza to use as a creative space. We wrote and recorded about half of “Sundown” there.

“Sundown” convinces with free-flowing recordings and a relaxed atmosphere. How much did Ibiza’s nature inspire you?

Well I had it in my mind that I wanted “Sundown” to have a bit of a meandering spirit to it. We actually spent much of our time in Ibiza finding obscure beaches, coves and great food. Everything seemed to be in sync. It’s a sort of blessed magic when that happens. It was the perfect atmosphere.

How important was the renewed collaboration with John Carroll Kirby for the creation of the album?

John Carroll Kirby gets me. He understands that I’m always on a journey to find something new in myself or to help me unlock or articulate a side of myself that hasn’t been expressed yet. He’s a true maestro. It’s impossible to say how we inspire each other but something special and intangible happens when we get in the studio together.

Eddie, you once said that if you were to record an album again, it should be music that can only be made at your age. How do your life experience and age influence your work as a singer and songwriter? Do you get more relaxed with age?

I hope that we all get more relaxed with age but I would say you tend to naturally pare things down to what’s important when you’re older. I’m writing about the things that are important to me. I know I’m not alone in what I feel so I trust that my subject matter will resonate with others who are struggling with what I’m struggling with.

In our last conversation, we talked about Marvin Gaye and his influence on your music. Before and during the recording of “Sundown” you listened to a lot of transcendental jazz by Pharoah Sanders, among others. How important are these sources of inspiration for you to get into the right mood for recording an album?

Sometimes I’m inspired by music but I’m really very much inspired by everything.

You are a very visual person. How does your experience as a fashion photographer and creative director influence your approach to music?

I’m applying the same techniques I’ve gathered over years as a musician to everything I do. I like to think we’re all a lot more adaptable then we give ourselves credit for. I think it’s good to try different things in different chapters of your life. You discover new things about yourself you didn’t know.

Actually, “Pleasure, Joy and Happiness” was supposed to be your musical finale. Now you are on tour with “Sundown”. Can we expect another album from you in the near future?

I’m very much enjoying being on this unexpected musical journey so as long as I have something I’m excited to communicate I plan to keep making records.

Eddie, thank you very much for the interview.

Tour Dates

november 2 music box lisbon portugal

november 3 week-end festival cologne germany

november 4 uberjazz hamburg germany

november 6 loppen Copenhagen denmark

november 8 voxhall aarhus denmark

november 9 arkaoda berlin germany

november 10 franz mehlhose erfurt germany

november 11 sonic city kortrijk belgium

november 14 exil zurich switzerland

november 15 rocking chair vevey switzerland

november 18 jassmine warsaw poland

Photo: Pat Martin