Interview: Tezeta

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Toronto native Joe Roth, or Tezeta, is no stranger to the flourishing Canadian music scene. Since playing with Little Girls back in 2011, this year has seen the emergence of his personal project - Tezeta.

The eclectic mix of warming, awe inspiring synths and sharp song writing prowess saw many take notice and admire early tracks like "A Night", "Ties" & "Are You Fine Now?". More recently Roth unveiled "Pharcyde", a gliding concoction that further diversifies the Tezeta sound, and something that duly opening our 'Certified New' mixtape for February.

Below you can find not only a new song in "Left", but also a 60 minute mix that embodies some of the artists and tracks that influences each aspect of Tezeta's infatuating work.

(One For The People) Could you tell us about the Tezeta project? 

(Joe Roth) Tezeta has been a solo project of mine since fall of 2010. I started composing acoustic based songs and while most are unlistenable now there is still one or two that are important to me. I sometimes think of going back and re-creating the ones I like. In any case, in the past year I've become more influenced by Hip-Hop and house producers. When I am in front my sampler or computer I try to create something that is a Tezeta song. It's fun yet sometimes quite frustrating as I'm still trying to find my identity in music. I named the project Tezeta when I first heard the track entitled "Tezeta" by Ethiopian musician and arranger named Mulatu Astatke. "Tizita" translates to 'nostalgia' and is also a form of music in Ethiopia. With the balance of repetition and improvisation, its sound is something that I have always related to and which I find comfort in.

(1FTP) Are you still involved with Little Girls band? 

(JR) I am not. When "Youth Tunes" came out it was a great time. Josh is my best friend from High School and we were all quite stoked on the idea of touring in the states and promoting his new project. However, time went on and I did not feel the same way. I felt that I needed to create something on my own, that is when Tezeta started. Little Girls are a collaborative effort now under the Hand Drawn Dracula label. Josh has also just started a duo project with his girlfriend, Talvi. It's called Prince Innocence.

(1FTP) How has, or does Toronto influence the way you make music? 

(JR) Just like hearing old recordings for the first time, hearing and seeing new music is always influential due to the vast scales of music that the bands relate to. You hear the past yet it's projected in a different way that is the truly inspiring. As far as the music scene goes in Toronto, the people here are great. There so many great bands here that I go to see when I can. Here are just a few to check out if you haven't heard them already: Actual Water, Austra , Cold Specks (she's in London now but we try to stay in touch), Doldrums, Ell V Gore, Fucked Up, Huckleberry Friends, Mac DeMarco and Makeout Videotape , One Hundred Dollars, Slim Twig, Teenager, Tropics, TRST, Wryd Visions and Young Mother.

(1FTP) Production wise, your tracks you seem to be very well versed. One cant help but think that J Dilla might have played some part in that? Is "Pharcyde" influenced by him? 

(JR) Thank you. J Dilla is my favourite Hip-Hop producer of all time and Dounts is my favourite album of all time. With that said, there is no exact influence that I could pinpoint in any of my songs. Music is a world market now and is difficult to define bands nowadays. There are still local music scenes but it's changed since the Internet. I feel each track of mine is influenced by everything that I hear and will never be specific.

(1FTP) What comes next for you? 

(JR) I have a show in Toronto that Max Mohenu is organising so I am preparing for that. I'm continually creating new tracks to find my musical identity and I find myself getting closer to that goal. When I the compile songs that I want to take the time to record and perfect, I will tour to many cities as I can.

Listen and find the track listing below, hit the link to download.

0:00  Tezeta - Menelik Wossenachew 
4:24   Nico - I'll Keep It With Mine 
7:28  Beach Boys - All I Wanna Do
9:59  J Dilla - U-Luv
11:00  De La Soul - Stakes Is High
15:38 Outkast - Ms. Jackson
17:45  Kanye West -  Spaceship
20:03  Nas (Feat. AZ) - Life's A Bitch
22:45  Earl Sweatshirt -  EARL
25:10  Reflection Eternal - Just Begun (Feat. Jay Electronica, J Cole & Mos Def) 
28:47  Panda Bear - Bros 
41:03  Daft Punk - Fresh 
43:39  Sampson Butch Moore - House Beat Box
49:13  Radiohead - Everything In Its Right Place (Gigamesh Remix)
53:37  Ruth - Polaroid / Roman / Photo 
58:12  Prince Innocence - Shells
1:01:21  Cold Specks - Holland

As a further treat you can also find new track "Left" - which is another enchanting, diversely arranged gem. Listen & download it below.