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7. Canada eh? They have got a reputation for throwing down, for sure. You mentioned Raised by Apes and the Bastard Suns. In today's scene where bands need to work closer together to get to that next level, who are some of your favorite artists to play with?
Well, that list is as long as it is distinguished. I guess it depends by band member and who we are working closely with but at any given time you'll see these names pop up. Obviously The Bastards and Apes, Canobliss, Sic Waiting, DC Fallout, Faithless Saints, Random Orbits, Guilty By Association, Under The Influence, Black Sails Western Shores, Silence Betrayed, not to mention Pour Habit, Authority Zero, Death By Stereo, Voodoo Glow Skulls, Ignite, Pulley, and all the future friends we have yet to meet (and everyone who didn't get mentioned who I am going to have to hear it about too).
8. Who are some artists that influenced EID? Both in sound and in how you guys run your band?
Chris came up with a very diplomatic yet sexy answer for this one, so I will paraquote him: All artists influence each other through live shows and listening to one another. Usually it's the big artists like Rage Against The Machine, but with how we run the band, we're trying to do what works for us because sometimes all we have is each other. (end of Chris paraphrase)
My thought is similar but as I have mentioned in other interviews I think the more we play on bigger tier shows, I think those really amazing bands like Pour Habit, Authority Zero, The Bastard Suns, Death By Stereo all play into our drive to play harder/faster and perform better as well as the drive to unlock the key to our longevity as we work to be relevant in today's music scene. Felony Ron has also played a big part in this music thing for me. He's been a great friend, mentor, advisor and supporter of most things EID as well as an inspiration. The guy doesn't do it for money or notoriety yet has built a label responsible for 28+ releases out of his sheer love for music. In all the time I have known the him, I have been actively stealing that drive and good energy trying to make it part of what I am not just as a band guy, but more importantly as a regular human.
9. So as 2011 winds down what are EID's plans to close out the year, and what do you see shaping up in 2012? Besides the world ending and all that awesome crap.
Ahh, 2011 where have you gone and what will we do with the rest of you? We made a bit of a somber announcement not too long back that this year will mark the end of Jack Eken's tenure with the band. He's hanging up his spurs to be a full time family man which of course we support as we quietly mourn the loss of yet another bandmate. The search for a new drummer will be an ongoing concern as well as finishing out the year with a heavy live schedule, Jack's final tour (October Pacific NW Tour), hopes of a couple more big tier shows, a split release Sic Waiting (this band out of Oceanside we always seem to get into trouble with), a vinyl release on Felony Records, keeping sane and not killing ourselves and finally a Blacksound Records acoustic compilation that will coincide with a very special acoustic event at the end of the year. It would be nice to accomplish all that and then some and making 2011 another year where we have outdone ourselves.
10. Any last words, parting wisdoms, or quick insults?
I have probably babbled for too long already but since I have the conch, I will thank all our friends, fans, family and supporters near and far. I hope that EID continue to carve out a place in your hearts and your playlists for a long time to come but in the meantime, I hope everyone will help us send Jack Eken to his next life as a family man with a bang. It's been a wild year and hopefully the future smiles on the men who make the music. Thanks for the chat Jared. See you soon. 9/9/11
5. One necessity of bands coming up, and of bands that are entirely self-managed as you guys are, is getting your music to as many ears as possible. Do you think touring has become less important with the revolutions in media and internet making it easier to promote yourselves? Or has it become more important in order to prove that you're a working band with real goals in mind?
I am a big fan of the revolutions in media in but I look at it almost in reverse. Almost anyone can get their hands on enough technology to produce some kind of recording and then distribute it to the entire planet with relative ease. Who can commit themselves to putting together a tour across the country with little to no support? I see touring as earning your stripes because so few bands are doing it and even fewer with success. Take for instance The Bastard Suns. Those guys eat asphalt for breakfast, lunch, and dinner yet throw down a show with intensity, energy, and love of music every single time you see them take the stage. For anyone who has met them, they already know that they have phenomenal recordings but to see them do it so well live and then be able to hang out with them and find out what genuinely amazing human beings they are, it takes the whole music fan experience to a different level. While our project hasn't toured as extensively as they have, we've stolen pages from their book as we venture into new cities/states, face unfriendly crowds and do our best to deliver a great performance. We love to meet the people who are listening to our tunes and keeping our hopes and dreams alive and do so with genuine love and appreciation.
6. Generic but necessary question #3: What's a story or two that stands out from your time on the road?
Tour stories that stick out...I guess I'd be lying if Canada didn't come racing to mind right away. Vancouver Canada was the furthest stop on our Northwest Nightmare 2009 Tour and it still stands out as a highlight show for so many reasons. First off, we got to reunite with our good friends in Raised By Apes and see them in their natural habitat of the legendary and since shut down Cobalt. That could have been the single gnarliest venue in North America we've played. The place had been stripped of anything that wasn't bolted to the floor or walls and just reeked of hardcore. Apparently East Van is a tough place and this was the site of so much madness that the venue was as feared as revered by the locals. We didn't know what to expect but by the time the set was done, the house was packed and we had witnessed one of the most brutal pits we'd ever played for. We're talking a vicious pit full of every kind of punker you could imagine alongside gorgeous traditional model type girls who would take your head off just as soon look at you. It was unreal and the icing on the cake was meeting Doug Donut (Vancity local who at one time was rumored to have played drums for Tool in the early days) and him telling us we were "the future of rock n' roll." Granted Doug Donut was having a rowdical night himself, but it was still a pretty cool moment. Right after that set we hit the road around 2am to trek across half the country to be in Berkeley, CA (16 hours away) for our last show of the tour which we actually did make on time. That night at the Cobalt was such an amazing show that our next run up the west coast a few months later, getting back to Canada was agenda item number one. While that next tour happened and we had every intention of returning, let's just say that we didn't quite make it back in to Canada...
3. You guys are entirely self-managed. How is it in today's industry climate to be self-releasing your records, booking your own tours and running your own career entirely? Are you guys aspiring to getting with a label or do you see traditional label deals as a thing of the past?
I personally go back and forth on the management/traditional label topic. Somedays I don't think anything can be better than being our own boss. By establishing Blacksound we have managed to keep EID a fairly self sustaining business but mainly because with the exception of a tshirt or a meal paid for by the band, we never see a cent. Then there's the days that I get jealous and petty that bands that haven't put in the tour time we have are getting booked on serious tours with top tier bands. Maybe this is me hating on those with more talent or sour on who their management is juiced in with but regardless, we'd like to be doing bigger things. Not to badmouth the life we've chosen but it's tough doing everything on our own on top of trying to maintain regular type lives when we aren't playing music. Chris is a great example. Damn near every second he's not at his day job or night gig, he's on the phone locking up a show or negotiating another to keep us in business. We're realists and the notion of the million dollar deal is fantasy but I'd like to see a day where we have (especially Chris) a bit more breathing room. We are open to meetings and discussions from labels and management firms but ultimately I think the deal needs to make sense for where we are.
4. EID is well known for having an intense live show. Describe what makes your shows different than the rest. Is it harder some nights than others? For example, rocking a packed House of Blues vs. rocking a family pizza joint?
When you boil it all down, I think it simply comes down to us being music superfans. Obviously different bands and acts turn us on respectively, but one thing we all enjoy is a great live show. We strive to put on a performance for anyone who has given us their attention or even stumbled in on us accidentally. If nothing else, we like to leave an impression. You may hate our music but there shouldn't be any doubt in your mind that we gave you everything we possibly could on that stage. As those who have been to a live show, chances are you might have ventured in the splash zone and now know Chris a whole lot better than you did before. As for some nights being harder, of course. At the tail end of a tour/ or no sleep turnaround three night run through Arizona/four show week around socal it's all tough. Not to sound too morose, but who's to say we ever get a chance to play again? Life can be pretty insane and you factor in the risk of so much time on the road, multiply it by what can happen when people lose their head after a long night at the bar and just maybe we should be counting our lucky stars that we made it to see another stage. As for the pizza joints versus the House of Blues, we have seen places like Dipiazza's and Pepz go completely off. Maybe that's part of staying honest, playing smaller venues and being part of an amazing show where kids get turned on by music and we're just there to play the soundtrack as a supporting act. Granted the feel of the HOB was a very different story. We sold out our presale tickets on a weeknight, outdrew the other bands and had a ton of friends and family witness what I felt was the show of my life. There was a buzz in the air and we hit it so hard that the crowd caught the energy. That was an easy one to just let go of anything not on stage, play our hearts out and just be in the moment.
Awhile back last year, there was talk about an interview for an online website that never happened. It still came out pretty cool and thought it should get posted as there's still all this time between now and the next show. Enjoy.... (Part 1)
(Interview conducted by Jared Stinson and answered by Vic Eken) 1. To start off, tell us about Eken is Dead from your beginning to the release of your latest full length 'What Lies in the Mirror.'
Looking back on what's only been a few years but feels like several lifetimes is pretty strange. My guess is that unless you have been through it on your own or been one of the people who has supported us since the beginning, it will sound like your standard rock band type story but since you asked, I will tell... EID came together from the ashes of two other bands at the tail end of 2007. Chris, Jack, Eric, and I hit the ground running and within a month we were playing live. Our demo EP, "The Dead Ascend" was out soon after and within six months our first album, "Amendment." was released. Between then and now we have played hundreds of shows all over the USA, once in Canada, met and played with a ton of talented bands and raised our fair share of hell along the way. We've lost Sleaze (Eric) to responsibility and becoming a family man but gained a new brother, Gagg when he came on board at the beginning of this year. Throw a few video shoots, ton of photo shoots, all the necessary merch/marketing, the expansion of our label Blacksound Records, our second album "What Lies In The Mirror", the blood, sweat and tears that come with four guys living and dying damn near every moment together and you have the cliff notes of our story.
2. Generic but necessary question #2: How has the band's sound evolved from 'Amendment' to 'What Lies in the Mirror?'
"Amendment." was something of a feeling out period for us. While Jack, Sleaze and I had already been playing together for a number of years, it was almost like starting over when Chris came on board. He opened up a lot of doors with a very aggressive attack/energy which allowed us to play harder and faster. All of us were very excited to get right to work so a nightmarish timetable was put into place and that pushed everyone to work at a furious pace. We got into the studio very soon and Gagg actually engineered the project. It's actually pretty rad that he's been with us since the beginning. Cut to three years later with all those shows/tours/time together under our belt and "What Lies In The Mirror" feels like we have found our collective voice. Even though we have evolved since Amendment, I think it holds up and one of the biggest compliments is when a new fan will get a hold of it and tell us they are stoked on songs from our earlier days.
EKEN IS DEAD NEEDS A DRUMMER! Flexible and talented drummer sought for touring hard rock band. Must be proficient in hard rock, punk, metal and aggressive beats but also be able to mix in unconventional ideas. Recording experience is preferred but must be able to record and play live to a click. Current drummer has given notice of resignation effective end of 2011 so interested parties must be ready to get to work immediately.
EKEN IS DEAD is based in South Bay so living in or around Los Angeles is preferred but as long as reliable transportation is available and are willing to travel to South Bay for practice twice a week (plus shows), we can work with that. Practice schedule is m/w evenings (6;00-9:00pm).
Drummer should have pro gear and road cases or willing to acquire immediately. EID books 3 two week tours throughout the year and plays out almost every weekend so work/life schedule must be very flexible. EID owns it’s own touring van for transportation to and from shows.
We are looking for someone to become part of the team as well as the family. Drummer should be hungry to play and gain exposure by assisting in band promotion and marketing. We are an established act but are looking for someone who brings good energy and enthusiasm to the table. Serious inquiries only, please.
Listen to our tunes at this link: http://www.facebook.com/events/create/?gid=32624726812#!/ekenisdead?sk=app_178091127385
If you are interested please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com. We can give you the songs on cd, so you can prepare before you audition. Auditions will be held on an ongoing basis.
Thanks much, we look forward to meeting. EID
In a recent interview, the question of how we got our start was asked. I told the tale but found it very strange recounting so many miles, shows and misadventures during my tenure with the band. Part of the answer involved discussing the way the band has evolved over time and space, including members who have come and gone. Each time it was very sad and band altering as each of us became so much a part of each others lives. Music can be a cruel mistress for us and resisting the evolution of a relationship is obviously a futile endeavor. Despite the initial shock each time, I have found a way to embrace the choices several of my bandmates have made and have been blessed enough that they remain part of my life to this day. After many deep breaths and some time to let it sink in, it looks like it's time to let everyone know that the face of eken is dead will change yet again.
Jack Espinoza came on board in or around 2003 when EID had not yet materialized. At the time it seemed rather far fetched that this odd little guy from Long Beach who knocked on our door would become one of my best friends and writing partners in this so called musical project.That's pretty much how it went and that guy Jack has been in the mix ever since.
Jack, Hundreds of shows, so many states, so many stories, lies, misadventures, and misrepresentations... Not to mention all the music we wrote for the world as well as what we wrote just for ourselves. It's been a hell of an experience and it looks like we have gone farther than you thought we could go together. Here we are at yet another crossroads where we must part ways. Time and situations obviously make carrying on as close as we have been difficult, but blood doesn't dilute that easily. No matter what, Jack, I have your back and will continue to support you as well as my extended family of Christina and Bryan, hopefully through the next lifetime. It's been an honor to have shared this experience with you and it will always be a part of what I am as well as the music which will carry on. I look forward to our remaining time together with us and hope that we can send you off with a couple of months of shows that punctuate an already wild ride. Thank you for everything you have been to us, Jack.
And so now we must soldier on, just as we have before. Jack will remain a member of the band through the calendar year as we continue to hit the road and every available stage we can. We invite all our friends, fans and supporters to come out and be part of the final months of Jack's tenure with eken is dead. The Pacific Northwest Mini-Tour just announced will be his final trek up north and from then we will announce shows as they are booked. There will be every attempt to book a large scale sendoff so please check back often. We thank you all for your continued love and support as the search for the man who will fill Jack's big shoes begins.
on behalf of chris and gagg, as we prepare to part with our brother, bandmate, and dear friend Jack, vic eken
(please read the blog below for Jack Eken's parting words)
So, to those who wonder and ask why I have decided to continue my life without the band? Well here it is... Life has been on busy schedule for me these past 6 years, meaning both in life with wife and son and in music. I have finally come to the end of chasing that dream and passion of becoming a well known musician. I have realized that having a child and being away from my son & wife has been hard at times. Things are meant to be the way they are for those who believe. As for me i believe. I had a decision to make and it is to become a full time family man. It sucks to know that at one point life doesn't always go your way but for me I don't see it that way. I see it as a new direction and continuing to achieve on raising my son the right way. I feel bad that this has to be it for me and I know the guys would love for me to stay but I have to do what I have to do. You guys will always be my friends and family. I know you guys are going to get something good down the road if you guys keep hitting these venues hard when I am not around to play for you.
Vic, Thanks for opening your doors and giving me the opportunity to become your friend and bandmate. I can remember the first day when you guys brought me back after the audition and gave me the news. That I was going to be a part of EKEN. A feeling and memory that I have kept in my heart and mind. You have given me memories to look back at and have a nice laugh at. Thank you for being my best man at my wedding and being a good friend. I will miss playing and sharing the stage with you. Good times!
Chris, "Camp Director"...hehehe! You know its a way of saying we love you for being a huge help to the band. Honestly We wouldn't of gone to the states we played and had those really good shows if it wasn't for your help. Your are the front man that I always wanted to play alongside with and I am glad you share that energy and encouragement with me. Thanks for a being a friend and a badass singer with no boundaries.
Gagg, On this short time that I had the chance to share the stage with you.Thank you for doing so and for taking the challenge to help the band progress when we needed you. Being a friend of yours and knowing that we got closer as family makes me feel that i am glad it happened.Thanks alot for all the work you did for "What Lies In The Mirror".
I also want to thank my wife and son for supporting me in everything I did for this band. My son Bryan for encouraging and inspiring me to play for all of you friends and fans.
I WANT TO THANK: Mrs. and Mr. Arevalo for being family and give us a place to play and practice. Paula Brandt for being there when I needed a little advice and support. Liz Chapman for being a good friend and believing in me and the band. Victor Marshall for taking those badass pictures of me and becoming a friend. Samson Pedroza for being like a brother to us. My Mother for supporting me on my down times and helping me when possible.My father Joaquin R. Espinoza may he rest in peace, and if it wasn't for him I wouldn't of got exposed to playing drums. My siblings Veronica, Carolina, Hugo, and nephews for coming to my shows and supporting. The Canobliss boys for sharing the stage and being really good friends. Sic waiting, Under The Influence, The Bastard Suns, Authority Zero, Goodnight Marie, Kristi Beach Productions, Forced Elegance, Pour Habit, Raised By Apes, Buddha Bomb, Loser By Default, Conversation Kills, and Silence Betrayed. Thank you for giving me those memories that I will take with me to remember. For those who I didn't mention thank you for the support. I LOVE ALL YOU!!!!!!!!!!
what a month it has been for all of us at EID...
tracking of "What Lies In The Mirror..." has wrapped up and we are well into the editing and mixing stages of production. so far, we are ecstatic about the possible outcome and we continue to be excited to get this thing into your hands.
april 7th we took a little siesta to see RISE AGAINST/BAD RELIGION/THE DESCENDENTS which as you likely know, went off. got to see a bunch of friends at that one and even mixed in a little mayhem to close out the night.
the april 9th "Got Your Back" CD release show with POUR HABIT was awesome. again, got to share the night with a lot of good friends and play main support for the HABIT who threw down as they always do. congratulations on their continued success and an outstanding record our friends are probably listening to right now.
april 12th turned out to be one of the most memorable ones yet. AUTHORITY ZERO asked us to open for them at The Slidebar which completely went off. again, so many old friends and many new ones packed in the sauna and supported as we did what we do. not only was it an honor to open for the ZEROS but it was AMAZING to share that night with so many of our brothers in bands, including POUR HABIT who suffered a devastating loss when their van/trailer/equipment was stolen by some gutless piece of shit. don't worry boys, karma will get them if we don't find them first. special shout out to P*Dubb, Jared, Joe, Beer Punks Justin, The Dude, LJ, Tonya, Felony, and everyone else in attendance that "you know who" probably spilled a beer on.
looking ahead, it's going to be a brutal second half of the month, but it will rock. the punk rock heart transplant release is today and available for free download with a TON of amazing bands we have shared the stage with. make sure you check that out. release shows are all over so try and make it out.
brother gagg's 4:20 bday party will take place at the shore in hermosa which will be an amazing free show for our local crew by the beach. AARON JONES kicks it off at 7pm.
april 23rd the fun continues when we do a double header in oceanside, first acoustic at the beachside, then close out the night with a full band set at the pierview for the afterparty. did i mention that AMERIKAN BLACKHEART (Jason Cruz of STRUNG OUT)/SIC WAITING/CHASER/ are all playing acoustic?
that's already too much talk for now, check back for the scoop on the EKENOMIC RECOVERY TOUR 2011 which kicks off in Folsom CA 4/27.
until then, eid
and here we go... an amazing weekend filled with friends, fans, and awesome bands has drawn to a close with the album recording having begun. only a couple of days in the process but so far so good. jack has been a machine behind his kit and has laid some thick tracks thus far and it's only getting better. gagg has also been a trooper as he came down with some nasty flu of some variety or other yet powered through it. the longhairs have had it easier but have also stayed busy polishing some arrangements and keeping the boys supported and on their game. as for the meantime while we are underground, big things are upcoming. it was announced that we will join the St.Punker's Day Festivities this year at Keegan's Irish Pub (Old Torrance) with Mr. Jason Cruz's (STRUNG OUT)project AMERICAN BLACKHEART leading the charge. Also on the show are newly annoited Vans Warped Tour band and good friends, DC FALLOUT, our favorite Oceanside madmen SIC WAITING (acoustic), and STATION (featuring members of STINKY PINKY). no doubt St. Punker's Day will go off. Many thanks to Felonious Ron for the greatest flyer ever created and to Turtle Brian for being such a good model. as if this wasn't enough to keep us pumped (and hopefully you as well), we were asked by our very good friends and Fat Wreck Chords band, POUR HABIT to play on the cd release show for their second album, Got Your Back. Wow, really? knowing that our bros are out there throwing down all over the planet and making us proud is enough, but to share the stage with them on a night like that is unreal. mark your calendars for April 9, 2011 at Dipiazza's in Long Beach, kids. it feels good and right now feeling good is good enough. pics, footage, and updates will continue through the production process. hope to hear from you all out there, we are very excited to unleash "What Lies In The Mirror..." on the world. talk soon, eid
the january rehearsal sessions are drawing to a close, the final songs are being arranged, and the year in live shows is about to begin-is anybody out there? does anybody care? if you have been paying attention, it was posted sometime back that on february 1st, there would be a secret announcement made. to test if anyone reads this blog, we will let you know what is being announced: the name of the forthcoming album. we are excited about the entire thing coming together and more so excited to get into the studio and lay it all down. we have high hopes and are looking forward to getting the final product ringing in between your ears. that is all for now...