Thematic Explorations in Hospitality, Culture & Entertainment

New York City


Sebastian Heck – Impressions of NYC

Published January 15th, 2021

If you’ve paid much attention to the goings on at Electric Eel over the past five years, or Commodore Room before it, you’ve probably noticed that we often have excellent photography of our events, cocktails, etc. It’s not as often these days, but when it appears it’s clear it isn’t some cocktail jockey behind the lens.

Over the past eight years or so, I’ve been lucky to count Sebastian Heck among my friends and frequent co-collaborators. We’ve traveled half the planet together, from Hamburg to Mexico City, both for fun and creative projects. And of course here in Karlsruhe, Sebastian can often be found at the decks at Electric Eel, spinning his mix of off-beat rarities, folk, funk, soul, hip-hop, instrumentals and much else. In fact, I’ve often had to choose between asking him to play records or take photos. It’s not an easy choice, and I can assure you that there are some cool photos missing from our collection because I opted rather for the immediate payoff of guests grooving to his sounds over the evidence of it only to be seen later.

In 2017, Sebastian and I, along with our buddy Hank, headed to North America to host a string of parties. Our first stop was New York City and Sebastian decided to leave early and enjoy his solitude in that city of 8 million people. Usually, we only see his work without much of an explanation besides the silly little captions I make up. This time, I wanted to go a bit deeper and give him a chance to offer some detail to his process and talk a bit about that trip.

First, though, let’s have a look at some of the photos.

A quick chat with Sebastian Heck (aka, DJ EZ Muny)

What were some of your favorite things about NYC?
Everybody knows there are so many things to discover when visiting New York for the first time. Besides good food, drinks, coffee, whatever, the ridiculous collection of buildings and architecture, and let’s not forget the record shops!

What I enjoyed most was my daily routine of grabbing my camera and a coffee with some pastry, and then just strolling through the five boroughs at random. There are so many things happening, so many random encounters to be had, and so many memories to be made just by walking around. I loved it.

Was there anything that ran counter to your expectations? Anything that surprised you?
What really surprised me was that I felt immediately at home, but at the same time knowing for sure that it was only temporary.

You’re known for capturing images of people in their natural habitat. I noticed that with the photo of the guy on the boardwalk at Coney Island. What is it about that sort of thing that interests you?
Yes, the guy on the boardwalk. Luckily he passed me two times. The first photo I took wasn’t good.

I think it’s not a special interest, it’s more about aesthetics and a random principle: I see somebody on the street who looks special or interesting to me, and I try to figure how I can get this into a photo. That I like in the end.

You’re not a typical tourist snapper. But what are you looking for? What causes you to pull up your camera and take a photo when you’re out in the field?
Same here again, it’s this random principle. It can be a certain person, a tree, a doorbell, some little details, or patterns. The rest is kind of auto pilot. Sometimes, of course, you see the result and you realize the photo in your head looked much better.

If you could wake up in NYC tomorrow, and the pandemic would be something that never happened, what would you do with your day?
I would start with my daily routine from back in 2017.
I’d grab my camera and a coffee with some pastry, and then just stroll through the five boroughs at random. 🙂

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