Multidisciplinary artist Esc shares cinematic prog-rock EP “Unauthorised Passenger”

"I hope my music and visuals takes my listeners on a journey from their daily lives as well. We all need to escape something, don’t we?"
19 May 2022

By Vanessa B

Esc is the alter ego and artist name for accomplished multi-instrumentalist, visual artist and film composer, Danny Manor, joining us for some QuickFire Questions this week as he shares the impressive EP “Unauthorised Passenger“. A prog-rock EP that was “inspired by an epic dream”, Danny works in cinematic music themes utilising symphonic backdrops punctuated with compelling psychedelic adjacent guitar riffs. Not satisfied with simply stopping there, he goes on to illustrate his vision with sophisticated digital art and animation to complement the music.

The music is co-produced and mixed by Francois Paul Aiche, who played a key role in the Esc project (Danny and Francois first met in the early 2000’s at Berklee College of Music). Danny also composed a full orchestra 6-minute score as the ending title for the album that is waiting to be produced and released. Check out “Unauthorized Passenger” and our QuickFire interview with Esc below.

It’s fascinating how you combine both music and animated graphics in your work. Can you share a bit about how both your musical and visual design journeys have come about?

I’m a highly educated musician, and have worked as a film & TV composer over the years. However on the visual side I rely mostly on my intuition. I’ve been editing video for a while but got into animation only recently – during the pandemic while I was creating Unauthorized Passenger.

Creating both the music and video is an amazing experience as they really assist and complement each other. Sometimes a twist in the visuals may inspire me to change/create additional music and vice versa.

What does your artist name mean?

Escape (written as the keyboard abbreviation Esc) is initially my personal escape from the daily routine – work, family, the bills… It’s sort of my alter ego that comes out at night, like a superhero marvel character (laughing)

As for my fans and followers, I hope my music and visuals will take them on a journey from their daily lives as well. We all need to escape something, don’t we?

What drives your creative output?

Life. You need to live your life, be busy and productive, and interact with people. If all I do is sit around the studio, usually I get no inspiration. In the case of Unauthorized Passenger, I was inspired by a dream that led me to start composing the music and eventually create the visuals as well.

Do you have any habits or rituals you go through when trying to write new music?

Oh yeah! I put on my Esc mask, suit, and cape… (laughing). But seriously, I do like to set the mode with very mellow lighting and a shot of whiskey to get rolling.

What are your ultimate career goals overall?

I hope to return to the film scoring scene, but this time be recognized as an artist with a unique and un-compromised sound. And if I could also bring the visual side to the broader film world – that would be epic!

What can we look forward to next from you?

Short term, I’m working on the next release called ‘Love Bullets’ – a hard rock guitar-driven track and of course with crazy visuals to support. Hopefully it will be ready in a coming months.
Long term, I’m working to find the right formula for an Esc live show. It’s very challenging since the music is very complex and I want the visuals to also be incorporated as part of the show.

Photo credits: Album cover – Sam Hayles, Artist photo – Roee Rozen