erasing clouds

100 Musicians Answer the Same 10 Questions

Part Eighty-Five: Ashlin Phillips of The Eames Era

instigated by dave heaton

Louisianans The Eames Era's spunky, youthful, infectiously melodic pop-rock keeps getting better to my ears. Their new, second album Heroes and Sheroes (review here) is especially fun. Check out the band's website and MySpace. Ashlin Phillips is the group's lead singer.


What aspect of making music excites you the most right now?

Probably the performing aspect of it; writing a new song is fun, but I'm always afraid of being biased. Playing it live and getting positive feedback from an audience is always uplifting.

What aspect of making music gets you the most discouraged?

Getting stuck or blocked. At first it's fun because it's like trying to solve an equation or puzzle, but if it goes on too long it begins to feel like a mean joke being played on you.

What are you up to right now, music-wise? (Current or upcoming recordings, tours, extravaganzas, experiments, top-secret projects, etc).

Currently we are preparing to go on an East Coast/Midwest Tour. This will be the 5th time traveling this route, and it keeps getting more enjoyable due to the people we meet and build friendships with that we reunite with along the way.

What's the most unusual place you've ever played a show or made a recording? How did the qualities of that place affect the show/recording?

The most unusual sounding venue I can think of at the moment would be a place called the Skylight/Nightlight Exchange in Chapel Hill, NC. During the day it was a diner/ second-hand book and music store in the fashion of a middle school library. In the evening it was a bar and live music venue. The walls of paperbacks and carpeted floors served as a wall to wall muting tool for the show. It was like playing music into snow, just absorbed all the sound. Interesting because it served for little feedback, but also gave no resonance.

In what ways does the place where you live (or places where you have lived), affect the music you create, or your taste in music?

Our music isn't really affected by where we live. Maybe it does subconsciously, but not in any way I can put my finger on.

When was the last time you wrote a song? What can you tell us about it?

I think the last song we wrote came together at the end of our recording session, "Copious." It was generated from an idea Grant had been brewing on for a while. We ended up finishing its structure in the studio itself by throwing in anything we could think of, be it handclaps, stomps, extra vocals and whatnot, then we weeded out what didn't work. It was the least formal form of songwriting we're used to. Strangely enough though it's one of my absolute favorite songs on the record.

As you create more music, do you find yourself getting more or less interested in seeking out and listening to new music made by other people...and why do you think that is?

I get more interested in what's being made presently, as well as what's been out for a while. In one sense I like hearing new music all the time, but I become enthralled in songs with more history, and trying to grasp what has led a song or a band to become timeless. Then of course to steal ALL their ideas. joke.

Lately what musical periods or styles do you find yourself most drawn to as a listener? (Old or new music? Music like yours or different from yours?)

I like old soul. Sam & Dave, Otis Redding, Carla Thomas, Freda Payne. This isn't anything new for me but I always find myself going back to them after checking out new stuff. The rhythm sections were so great back then, with these old and sometimes crappy recordings of a heavy driving drumbeat that you can't deny moving to.

Name a musician or band, past or present, who you flat-out LOVE and think more people should be listening to. What's one of your all-time favorite recordings by this musician/band?

I'm partial to Elbow momentarily. "Forget Myself" and "Leaders of the Free World" are knockouts. Something about being spit out of the Lincoln Tunnel in New York when the chorus breaks on "Forget Myself" makes me feel like my life has fallen into a cinematic stupor.

What's the saddest song you've ever heard?

Jeff Buckley's version of "Hallelujah." Duh.

To check out the rest of the Q&As, click here.

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