© 2019 by Sebastian Zel.

Biography

photo by Evan Chapman/FourTen Media

Sebastian Zel (b.1996) is a composer, producer, and multi-instrumentalist, based in Brooklyn, NY. 

Sebastian writes music that seeks to explore and reflect on the different ways that humans perceive the passage of time, and in doing so, explore our relationships to the past, present, and future. Described as embodying “an obsession with rhythm…and the play of patterns, repetitions, and variations”, Zel’s music draws on an adulthood of playing and writing hip-hop, fusion, & RnB, and an adolescence of playing punk, and progressive metal to build a rhythmic palette that lives at the center of the compositional process, and serves as his sonic toolbox and his language for grappling with time.

 

Zel plays bass and guitar, appearing as a sideman with various acts all over NYC, and plays bass & a co-bandleader of Tabemono, a “delectably moving” (Earmilk) Brooklyn hip-hop collective of 6 producers and 2 vocalists. The band has two EPs and a single currently released, and in the early stages of the production process of a debut full-length, slated for release in early Fall 2019. Zel's work in hip-hop and his work in contemporary music - or otherwise more experimental musical spaces - inform each other greatly, and is consistently fascinated by the cross-contamination.

When in a non-directorial role in music-making, Zel frequently works with filmmakers to compose and produce soundtracks. Zel made his TV debut with Andrew Garcia's La Piel De Ayer, which premiered May 1, 2019 on HBO.

Zel holds a degree in Music Composition & Theory from NYU Steinhardt, where he studied composition with Ezequiel Viñao, classical guitar with Pedro Da Silva, and jazz bass with Ron McClure. His compositions have been performed all over New York City, as well as in Philadelphia, PA, Miami, FL, Ann Arbor, MI, Oberlin, OH, Waterville, ME, and Knoxville, TN, among several other cities, 

 

When not making music, Sebastian enjoys long and boring history documentaries, exploring Brooklyn via skateboard, Cuban food, the Craigslist market for used music equipment, loud electric guitar feedback, black bean-based cooking, reading about the spomenik monuments (seriously, these are fascinating), Haruki Murakami’s writing, and brutalist architecture.

"Findings, the debut EP of composer Sebastian Zel, ... features the kind of music that puts its passions first. The album does not adopt the popular approach of wearing an objective mask, in an attempt to disguise meaning behind concealed mutterings. Zel instead, in an exceedingly expressionistic way, shares his imagination with us directly, and in Findings gives to us the gift of being able to look into the window of his musical imagination."

- Forest Muran, VONYCO

To listen to and read about Sebastian's latest release, Findings, click here

"Really great work, a very strong portfolio"

- Julia Wolfe, 2015 Pulitzer Prize

"Outstanding Artistry"

- Iceberg New Music