● First I’d like to salute you for such an impressive single, well done! I noticed you’ve started as a classical musician, am I right?

Hello, yes, I started on the cello at age 7, playing Christmas carols in an old haunted house in Lancaster, PA. I’m not sure if classical music had a good influence or bad influence on me. I guess I consider it a good influence in that I learned music theory, I came to appreciate many obscure analog instruments, and I felt a connection with my Eastern European roots. But in other ways, it stifled my musical creativity. Later in life, I saw Arthur Russell holding the bow in the wrong place and doing some weird flautando magic and it healed me.

● Many classical artists refuse to try modern styles. Was it difficult to try different styles?

No, I was always out of place in the classical world. I just happened to love the cello, and I still do. Nowadays, there are a lot more options for string players in terms of degree programs, and you see so much creativity in players mixing hip hop, jazz, and rock styles. 99theproducer, Black Violin, Sudan Archives, for instance. I really didn’t grow up seeing artists like these using strings in interesting, relevant ways, but now it feels like strings are coming into their own in the music world untethered to classical influences.


● ‘Falln Angel’ is part of your upcoming Katabasis EP. What lyrical themes does the EP discuss mainly?

I wrote most of the EP towards the beginning of the pandemic, and the themes were strongly influenced by my confusion, sadness, and isolation at that time. It felt like the world was ending, and we didn’t know when we would see other people’s faces again. A lot of the material also addresses the demise of the natural world and what it might be like in the future when our natural resources are scarce. While this might sound a bit esoteric, most of the songs are still about love and relationships in some way. One of the songs, Purple Aura, is about an underwater dance party attended by sea creatures. Not sure how that fits in with the rest, but nobody’s perfect.

● I understand it’s a solo project, still, aren’t you considering adding other members in your upcoming releases?

I do all the singing, playing, producing, almost everything on my tracks except mixing. I’ve had some studio musicians come in here and there, but no, there are no plans to add other members to Marza Panther. I’m working on becoming self-sufficient as a performer using Ableton Live so I can travel freely and tour by myself. 

● I noticed that you’ve several scoring projects, can you tell me more about it?

Yes, I have made some trailer music for films. I love the short format and the challenge of building something interesting within 2-3 minutes. I recorded a horror movie soundtrack with experimental cello a while back and it got me hooked on trailer music. I’m really hoping to get some of my songs into film and TV, and games too.


● In your opinion, does this expand an artist’s musical directions?

I know quite a few artists who do film music in addition to their solo work. Oneohtrix Point Never, for instance, who is an amazing film composer. I really like the idea of straddling both worlds. And I know that film and television are ways for people to learn about artists they haven’t heard of before. I found Concha Buika and Spottiswoode & His Enemies through a film, and they became among my favorite singers.


● I loved your music videos indeed, especially Nite Sweats, are you planning to release any videos from your upcoming EP?

Yes, definitely. I’m making a video for Falln Angel right now, but I really like to be hands-on and edit everything myself, so it’s time-consuming. I don’t do it to be controlling, but just because I really enjoy making visual art, and music videos are my chance to explore that side of myself.

● Finally, the COVID effect still threatens our live music scene, tell me more about your promotional plans in 2021.

I’m mostly just trying to finish my EP’s in 2021 and focus on doing shows and touring in 2022. I’m working on an acoustic EP at the same time and hoping to release a single from that project in late Fall of this year. That project will feature lots of cello parts! 

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Mena Ezzat