I chatted with Bay area based producer/songwriter Izzy the Gent and musician Tobias Hawkins about Izzy’s new music project Everything But The Everything. Hawkins has a guest feature on one of the tracks titled “Denials”. We dive into the single, the project’s inspiration, the music industry, and more. Check it all out below.

THE RECLUSIVE BLOGGER: Hi, First off… It’s nice to meet you? Thanks for taking the time out. How are you doing?

TOBIAS HAWKINS: I’m good. I’m a little…I wouldn’t say edgy – the feeling is a combination of gratitude and overwhelm. I suppose it’s the result of having so many super rad “irons in the fire”. I have to keep myself humble everyday by deep breathing and morning spiritual inventories, coffee and not taking myself too seriously.

IZZY THE GENT: I’m doing well, thank you for asking. I’m just working away trying to get reacclimated to our ever changing world as life reopens.

THE RECLUSIVE BLOGGER: Can you talk a bit about you got your start in music? Just touch some on your musical background?

IZZY THE GENT: I’ve been a bass player since I was 14 years old and played mostly punk rock. As I got to my early 20’s, I got into house music and traded my bass guitar for a pair of Technic 1200’s. Eventually I made it back to bass guitar and played with several bands (The Sporting Life, The Frail, Fake Your Own Death) in the local San Francisco music scene. During my time as a promoter and musician, I met great people and built some pretty amazing relationships which have become incredibly helpful as I took on the songwriter/producer approach.

THE RECLUSIVE BLOGGER: What is the background story on this new single “Denials”? How was your creative and recording process?

IZZY: Andrew Gomez of NRVS LVRS, whom I’ve known for some time and played music with set the tone for the track with his synth work. I got lucky that the guitar parts I was toying with matched perfectly with Andrew’s contribution. Something dark was clearly brewing and I knew just who to reach out to. I immediately sent the demo to Tobias and he was on board. After Tobias knocked out his vocals, we called the drummer Landon Cisneros for a session and an hour later we were on to the mix.

THE RECLUSIVE BLOGGER: What is a typical recording and creative process like for you?

IZZY: It always starts on bass guitar. If the bassline grooves, then we have some potential. Then it’s on to guitars and synths. Lately, I’ve been reaching out to other musicians by sending out the bassline demo building block, like I did with Andrew to get new ideas injected into the fold. I’ll keep tinkering with the songs, trying out melodies/ideas and simultaneously start thinking of vocalists to reach out to. We handle the recording and mixing with producer Rex Shelverton at his space in San Francisco’s Secret Studios.

THE RECLUSIVE BLOGGER: How would you both describe the overall sound you wanted to create going into the EP and the single? Were you able to achieve that sound?

TOBIAS: We both have a beautiful sense of darkness and a strong desire to connect through art and collaboration. More than anything we love to have that soaring melody that haunts and heals with a hypnotic swirling fog machine dance groove. Our influences are very similar and so there wasn’t really a need to discuss, or over analyze the sound. We just clicked immediately – so many smiles and joy is often had between us.

IZZY: The theme is always dark. At some point I imagine we’ll start to brighten things up but dark notes always feel so right. The main difference with the EP vs the single is the range of energy I wanted the EP to showcase. I do have the goal of making every song be able to stand on it’s own, so in essence, every song is a single. As far as sound, I realized recently that I have a tendency to lean to big anthem rock and that seems to get sprinkled over all the music.

THE RECLUSIVE BLOGGER: What does music and the craft of songwriting mean to you?

IZZY: I enjoy the challenge of hearing a melody, then the quest of searching for the notes. It’s a chase, and when the idea starts to blossom, the notes begin to fall into place. That experience is a high, it’s very addictive. The satisfaction of meeting the objective.


THE RECLUSIVE BLOGGER: What does music and the craft of songwriting mean to you?

IZZY: I enjoy the challenge of hearing a melody, then the quest of searching for the notes. It’s a chase, and when the idea starts to blossom, the notes begin to fall into place. That experience is a high, it’s very addictive. The satisfaction of meeting the objective.

THE RECLUSIVE BLOGGER: You have been in the music game Tobias for a while now even working as a member of the Counting Crows in their embryonic stages. being How have you seen the music industry changed? How have you adapted over the years to maintain a career and what advice would you give to new musicians today?

TOBIAS: Like all things in life, change brings both good and bad. We all know it’s harder for artists to make money in the industry, but the flip side is that every artist has a platform to directly connect with the audience (minus the need for an executive of a label to give you that platform). So pick your poison.

THE RECLUSIVE BLOGGER: Who are some of the smallest or mundane things that inspire to you to create and put out music?

IZZY: I just like sitting in my home studio, turning off my mind and playing whatever comes out. It’s therapeutic I guess.

THE RECLUSIVE BLOGGER: What lyric do you wish you had written?

TOBIAS: When I have that crystalline experience of hearing a lyric that captures my attention and focus my first thought is never, “damn I wish I’d wrote that”. It’s something far more layered and sweet. Kind of like a first kiss that you want to both reflect on and be in again simultaneously. I just know a great lyric when it’s up against the melody doing that sacred dance and pulling out the feeling of a single moment to lift a light on a wholly human experience. We’re all telling our stories and hoping they land. Me too. In other words, “Blitzkrieg Bop“.

THE RECLUSIVE BLOGGER: What is your pick for song of the summer 2021?

IZZY: Oh that’s easy. Amor AmorPieces of Summer” has been on repeat in my Spotify for a minute.

THE RECLUSIVE BLOGGER: Last moment of gratitude?

IZZY: When I got called back to work after being laid off for eight months.

THE RECLUSIVE BLOGGER: Last time you felt nostalgic?

IZZY: Every time I ride my bike.

THE RECLUSIVE BLOGGER: Last time you danced?

IZZY: In my room the other day, probably listening to “Pieces of Summer.” I’m sure my dog thinks I’m nuts.

THE RECLUSIVE BLOGGER: To end… is there anything else you would like to add?

IZZY: Thank you for your time and the opportunity.

Stream “Denials” by Everything But The Everything out now.

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The Reclusive Blogger aka Brittney Williams is a music, editorial & fine arts photographer and writer based in Los Angeles, California — When I'm not taking photos or writing (I love writing poetry and writing about music). You'll find me at a concert (come say hi I'm super nice and have Converse on!), listening music and even making electronic music. You will also find me super active (and super friendly) on social media and I love to spend time with my family. :)

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