The Eskimo Writer
The Eskimo Writer
/ South Africa
It’s been four years since the single “Dreaming Is For Those Who Dare”, from Sivan Pillay’s alter-ego, The Eskimo Writer.
The accompanying album First Ray Of The Sun went on to confirm his talent sufficiently for a welcome and highly-anticipated 2018 return.
Current day music reality celebrates The Eskimo Writer’s homecoming with no less than 16 first-time listens to a growing number of fans keen to hear lyrics laced with real emotion atop melodies equally engaging, entitled Last Light Of The Moon.
With no less than 25 years immersed in the entertainment industry, The Eskimo Writer is the realisation of a modern rock aim that’s hit its mark. With his 2014 full-length debut album, First Ray of the Sun, the Chatsworth-born, Jozi-fed-and-watered multi-talent embraced regional and national radio armed with songs filled and fuelled by powerful personality.
Track four years later and The Eskimo Writer’s return is fuelled by introspection. “These are songs I wrote in my 20s, and most of them date back to between 1997 and 2004,” Sivan says of the songs that make up Last Light Of The Moon. “I wrote them, re-imagined, and recorded them at the request of my kids who loved the songs.”
Having spent a fair chunk of his adult life identifying extraordinary talent, the likes of Watershed, Sivan’s established and grown relationships with some of South Africa’s most respected names in music today. “I had the chance to work with some amazing people on this record,” he confirms. “Neill Solomon is the producer, and together with Sean Fourie they worked on many of the arrangements with a brief to push the musical limits and embrace the genres of music that influence me.” Gavan Eckhart recorded and engineered the album at SoulFire Studios. “He has an impeccable track record,” Sivan confirms.
The musicians peppering Last Light Of The Moon include Mauritz Lotz, Dio Santos, Pete Sklair, Dan Selsick amongst others. Backing vocals fell to Faith Kekana and the late Peps Cotumaccio. “One track “Swerved”, recorded in Cape Town at Hey Papa Legend studios with Ross MacDonald, features Watershed’s Craig Hinds on guest vocals. “This is a song I wrote that Craig always wanted to record, and we finally got a change to do it,” Sivan shares. “This will be the lead single from the album, a track that includes Ross Macdonald’s magic touch.”
As for the mood and direction of Last Light Of The Moon, Sivan’s quick to point out that the songs are moody and much more intense than the first album. “They each talk about people, places and experiences through the eyes of characters I have created, and they are all pushed to the extreme, musically, from the Indian-infused “The Infinite Light” to the “Ska-like Within Myself” or the reggae track, “Touched”.
Always curious and armed with ability to push boundaries, Last Light Of The Moon also includes alternative tracks the likes of “Acoustic Neuroma”, “Find Your Fusion”, “Stupid By Design” and “Novel of No Consequences”, all of which are tinged with hints of The Eskimo’s more traditional influences like R.E.M, Green Day and The Beatles.
“The previous album, First Ray Of The Sun, churned a few more surprises than I imagined,” Sivan reflects fondly. “Hot 91.9fm’s Paul Almeida told me that “Afterglow” was the most played local track on the station.” The track has also amassed over 40 000 views on YouTube. “Dreaming Is For Those Who Dare” has topped 60 000 views. The Eskimo Writer now has over 10 000 followers on social media, mainly on Facebook. 90% of this reach is outside of South Africa.
Smart lyrics, acoustic guitar and a singer/writer discipline is what separates The Eskimo Writer. “Think folk rock with a twist,” he explains. “I grew up in a place where R&B, soul, house and hip-hop were part of the suburbs stable diet,” Pillay recalls. “I, on the other hand, was listening to rock and loving it. I often felt like a salmon swimming upstream,” he jokes.
Today, as the man who can claim spotting and facilitating the signing of Craig Hinds’ band, Watershed, back in 1999, Sivan also played in the duo band Hunting Season between 1995 and 2008. He’s pleased with the journey his music’s taken him on so far. “It’s exciting for me to see where these songs land. I have lived with so many of them for years and they still percolate. That excites me no end.”
Cathartic, qualified and entirely intoxicating, Last Light Of The Moon is a powerful body of work. One that rewards the listener with themes familiar, universal familiarity and beauty. Last Light Of The Moon is available to download or stream across all major digital platforms.
YouTube: Sivan the Eskimo