Ethan Bortnick: Preparing for First Concert After Pandemic & Process Behind Single "arsonists"

Interview and Photos by: Donae Allen | October 30, 2022 | West Palm Beach, Florida

Ethan Bortnick chats with Hazze Media before his show on West Palm Beach, Florida on October 16. Full set photos and show highlight video below.


I know this is your first show with your music, how did this come to be?

Ethan: Essentially yeah, this is my first show with sort of my new career path, if that makes sense. Prior to this, I think I've done about 1100 headline shows. but a lot of it was my previous career path, which was, you know, I was doing a lot of stuff on, PBS, NPR and that kind of stuff. It was not my own music for sure. So after quarantine, I switched the type of music that I'm making and started releasing stuff on Spotify. And so this is sort of my first show of all of that stuff.

So how, how does it feel to be playing your first show? Are you nervous?

Ethan: I'm just very interested to see a crowd that isn't filled with people who are 60 plus, because that's what I've been used to, playing Mozart and Frank Sinatra so, it's going to be very interesting. I don't really know what to expect, and especially because in quarantine, you know, we built this fan base and people who listen to my music, which is nuts on its own, and now I get to see who those people are and meet them so I'm really looking forward to it.

What's your biggest influence right now with your music?

Ethan: I don't know. I mean, when it comes to really writing, producing stuff, I feel like I pull from a lot of different things. My roots, which is classical music, I feel like you can hear that in almost every song. But one of my favorite artists is Kendrick Lamar. As an artist I'm not a rapper, I can't rap, but just visually, sonically, as an artist, I love what he does. I’m pulling a lot of singer songwriter shit. A lot of different bands that I love, that Dylan loves as well. Dylan and I actually write and produce everything together. All of it's us two in my bedroom Which we turned into a studio, so I don't know. I just pull from everywhere. I love jazz music and I love experimental shit and electronic stuff. Maybe I’ll have a certain vibe that day, but really I'm pulling from just anything and everything that has excited me about music.


You have a new single out called “arsonists” what was the inspiration behind that song?

Ethan: My entire romantic life has been people, putting me off as a second choice up until now. And, I feel like I was just trying to figure out why that happened or why it keeps happening. like why there's such a big cycle with that. And,I figured, I think it's because I am a people pleaser and I give too much and that gives people an opening, to either take advantage of me or hurt me or something along those lines. So Arsonist was a song we wrote, because the person that it's inspired by sent me a meme that said couples who commit Arson together stay together. And I just thought it was a perfect way to sort of take the song in this direction where it's like, I wish I could just burn shit down and burn bridges with people and just show no remorse, essentially.


What was your biggest challenge working up to the show?


Ethan: I feel like Dylan could probably speak more on that cause, Dylan's sort of been helping. Actually, helping is the wrong word. Literally building the entire show.

Dylan: Yeah. I was handling the technical side, you know playback, all that shit. It just took a long time to get right. And we also rehearsed in his room. Or his, foyer, whatever you call it, and setting that up was a bit of a nightmare. But it was fun.

Ethan: Yeah It was a lot of fun. We rehearsed in my house but I don't know, I feel because I've had this nice head start with all these live shows, even though it's not the same thing, I feel like it's taught us a lot. Being able to have that knowledge I feel like it was very beneficial. I'm very grateful for that.

Any upcoming album ideas or upcoming album ideas?

Ethan: Yeah I feel like whenever I make an album, I want to make sure that I can lock myself in a room and just make something conceptual and really fanatic. Because, like I said, one of my favorite artists, Kendrick Lamar, has that sort of intricate detail in every part of his music. The lyrics, the cinematic quality of those albums and those records. I want to make sure I get that in line. So I don't have any album ideas yet. I feel like that's probably a far future thing.

Dylan: Except for that one idea.

Ethan: Oh yeah, I want to make an album based on a Mafia Movie. Like a Godfather themed album maybe one day. I don't know. We'll see. You know, with lots of mandolins.

What song are you most excited to play tonight?

Ethan: I'm probably most excited to play an unreleased song called Sleep Paralysis Demon. I don't know when that's gonna come out, but I feel like that's the thing I'm most excited for. There's a little classical interlude right before it and it's just, the energy is all the way up here, so I'm very excited!

Well, thank you for taking your time to answer these questions and good luck with your show tonight!

Ethan: Of course, thank you!