Drama, intrigue, art.
Toronto’s Simon Ahmadi, aka Est-Her, makes pop music richly soaked in all three of these things, and a hell of a lot more.
Pop music with such depth doesn’t come along every day; and that’s because there’s more to Est-Her than just music. “Being a musician was never my first priority,” explains Ahmadi.
His first love, long before Est-Her, was ballet. Trained professionally at Canada’s prestigious National Ballet School, music was a second thought, never a career choice - no matter how passionate Ahmadi was about it.
Yet while pursuing a career in ballet which took him to Germany and dancing for Stuttgart Ballet, Ahmadi was beginning to write music - “folky tracks” as he calls them - in his bedroom and whenever he got a moment he sent that music to labels.
The music side of things unexpectedly snowballed. “I started receiving some emails from labels,” explains Ahmadi. “From there I starting making connections in the business and got together my team. I dropped out of ballet and haven’t looked back.”
“In The End”, Est-Her’s incredible new single, proves the decision was the right one. Out of radio static comes Ahmadi’s raw, deep vocal over gorgeous synth strings and slo-mo, sultry beats. The track is full of tactile tension, which bursts out in a soaring chorus cut through with sharp, soloing electric guitar and Ahmadi’s pleading voice repeating the line “I’ve been watching all the classics / and they always seem to end in goodbye / end in goodbye”.
Trying to pinpoint Est-Her’s influences gives nothing away in terms of his sound. “I used to read and write a lot of poetry,” says the Canadian. “Leonard Cohen and Arthur Rimbaud had a huge impact on me. I also get a lot of ideas for songs from films. One scene can inspire a whole track. I use to watch a film a day. Whenever I finish a good movie there’s definitely a rush there, and I´ll try and capitalize on that.”
Est-Her’s music definitely draws from the poetic and the visual, while the drama and intrigue you can trace back to his ballet days. Ahmadi says “I think growing up with combining movement to music , that never really goes away. That definitely bled into my work, whether it’s a simple hand gesture, or the way you attack a certain step, I try and match that level of intensity in my music.”
Of “In The End” Est-Her explains that “no matter how hard I try and set out to make a track about someone else , I always end up with something very personal. ‘In the End’ took a while to make, it definitely needed some time to breathe.”
If there’s beauty of movement in the song, there’s also plenty in the visuals for “In The End”. Featuring two of Canada’s most renowned ballet dancers, Rex Harrington and Evelyn Hart, the clip is full of mysterious vignettes and elegant movements from the principal dancers. It absolutely has the drama to match the song.
“Visuals are everything to me,” says Ahmadi. “I’m constantly referencing films, books , and music, they truly coexist beautifully together. Whenever we’re in the studio, I always make sure we have the projector going on in the background. I’ll choose a film that will set the tone and I write from there. Every track has a movie connected to it.”
“In The End” pulls no punches. You’re taken immediately into Est-Her’s world, and it’s a place full of passion, style and just a little Lynchian oddness. As an introduction to Est-Her it’s pretty perfect - and the journey is only going to get better, and wilder.
“In The End” is released 29 March