Amit Erez, from The Secret Sea, stopped by The Portland Playlist Wednesday night for an evening filled with heartfelt, beautiful, and emotional music. Amit is one of the first and most substantial, influential songwriters to emerge in Israel, achieving cult-status before packing it all up to take it across the globe to Portland so that he could work with Larry Crane at Jackpot! Recording Studio. Arriving here in 2015, he has recorded a new album, “Everest,” with Crane that will be released on November 16, at The Liquor Store.
The first hour focused on Amit’s music influences starting with Elliott Smith’s, Miss Misery. Smith’s music became a huge source of inspiration to him after hearing it in the movie, Good Will Hunting. We also listened to Sparklehorse (which inspired one of his tattoos), Patrick Watson (admires the way he packs the hall wherever he performs, his unique arrangements, and use of percussion), Owen Pallett (saw him at a festival in Barcelona and was drawn to his looping arrangements), PJ Harvey (she is his “Queen of England”), Eleanor Murray (admires her lyric style which has inspired him to write better lyrics), Andy Shauf, Interpol (credits himself as their biggest fan), and George Harrison (considers George a genius and loves his peaceful, enlightened soul).
The second hour covered Amit’s original material off The Secret Sea and the newly recorded, Everest. “Whenever the Sun Comes” was written with Owen Pallett in his head. He wrote the song then arranged it with a more orchestrated sound. This song is haunting, yet beautiful, as is the video. “Afterlife” was influenced by PJ Harvey, with beautiful backing vocals and cello arrangements.
Upon arriving in Portland, Amit’s plan was to record the two songs he had already written, “Army of Souls” and “Canada.” However, during the recording process with Larry at Jackpot, songs started pouring forth and before he knew it, the album, “Everest,” was born. With each song, the listener is taken on a journey bridging the world as we know it with that which we do not yet know. He is especially adept in the way he builds layers with vocal and percussive arrangements that blend seamlessly as they carry you along his path. Canada, is the recently released single, premiered by Vortex Magazine, and is about facing a new world and questioning his present and future, which is the meaning of Everest. By moving here, to a new country, not knowing a soul, to achieve a dream, he is in essence, climbing his Mt. Everest.
The live performance portion of the show included “Hell,” which was one of the last songs written for Everest, when he was going through a rough patch. He also performed, “Infatuation,” “Special One,” which is a goodbye letter to someone special, and finally, “Endings.” Live video of these performances can be found at,
Portland’s music scene is fortunate to get someone with Amit’s grace and talents. While he forges through our waters, trying to find a home, we hope you will welcome him with open arms and find yourself in the audience at one of his shows. An important one to attend is his album release show on November 16th at The Liquor Store. He will be joined by another Israeli native, Glasys, and Arrows in Orbit. This lineup is sure to deliver a memorable evening of local music.
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