Eric & Magill are Eric and Ryan, veterans from an awesome band called Camden. Ryan is also one of the driving forces in that band Decibully (part or Polyvinyl’s roster of awesomeness). So we (Tonan and Sam) decided to gather some courage and send them a few questions, the ones they very courteously answered.
(streaming ‘You make it so good’)
1.- So, just to get it out of the way, the name Eric and Magill, is there any relationship to the Decibully song ‘Megan & Magill’?
Ryan- Hey, that’s cool that you noticed. Well for starters my sister’s name is Magill. She was named after the Beatles song Rocky Racoon, “her name was Magill, but she called herself Lil and everyone knew her as Nancy”. I always thought it was an injustice that she was named after a Beatles song and I got a generic name you gave to a boy that was born in the late 70s. So she became a lawyer and I as a musician took her name as a moniker for my music. As to the Megan and Magill relationship, William Seidel wrote that song. Before he finished it he asked my permission to use the names. He said at the time he just liked the way the names sounded together. Most likely it is in reference to a special time and place, but I never asked for more specifics, rather, I just feel honoured that he would subtly sing about me. I enjoy the lyrics to it and I put my own imagination to it.
2.- You’ve put your album for free on the Kickstarter website and hoped to get some fan support to release a physical copy? How did this strategy worked out for you? Are you happy with the response?
Ryan- We’re blown away with the amount of support we’ve gotten and there is still time to go. I love the idea Kickstarter. I see potential for music fans getting saturated with projects. I’ve even seen a little bit of backlash by some skeptical people on the Twitter, but I think the projects that are worthy and reasonable will receive the funding they seek. Not only that, but it gives a community the ability to champion their artists. I love it.
Eric- Like Ryan mentioned, we are totally overwhelmed by the amount of support that we have received on this project. The Kickstarter campaign has been an amazing journey. This project has really allowed us to do some really cool stuff with the artwork as well.
3.- Most of your songs feature a lovely voice – instruments (cellos, guitars, etc.) convergence, almost like giving words to those sounds. Any special reason why you favor this mixture?
Ryan- Gosh, I could (and do) spend weeks on end in front of speakers manipulating sounds. My ultimate goal is to create something that people could consider beautiful however that may be achieved.
Eric- This is really Ryan’s baby. He has a really amazing and unique way of mixing that gives our songs their texture. I really don’t think that we had a vision in mind when we started writing songs together again…it just kind of happened along the way.
4.- How do you string together a song?
Ryan- Each song is different. Some are even finished within a couple hours of being started. Others are a long process of editing, e-mail, revising. Generally though one of us starts with a fairly concrete idea and mails it in an editable state. We’ll bounce it back and forth for a while. We get together either in Michigan, Milwaukee or somewhere in the world for the final mixes to celebrate finishing a project. It also gives us a good reason to get together, drink delicious beer and sort of get closure with a batch of songs. It’s way too much fun. Finally, I’ll do a master and we’ll reference it for a while and call it some songs.
Eric- Like Ryan said, one of us starts a song and sends it to the other and then the fun begins. We keep sending tracks back and forth until we have the song where we want it. Ryan and I had so much fun wring/recording/mixing All Those I Know that we haven’t stopped writing. It is always exciting to be working on a song…I check my email like 100 times per day to see if Ryan has added anything or has come up with a new part or edit. Then we get tougher for a few days and mix the songs, hang out in hot tubs and take pontoon boat rides.
5.- Do you think lyrics – melody complement each other?
Ryan- Sometimes I write a lyric and fit it into a vocal melody, those tend to be my favourite words. Other times a melody happens and there just seems to be a natural word to fit it and I try to blend it in. I really wish I could sing in hopelandish sometimes. Sometimes I dream of songs/melodies, sometimes I have ideas in my mind for weeks until I lay them down. I love the creative process. I marvel at how each song became what it is.
I had a wonderful conversation recently with my dear friend Mark Waldoch, the lead singer from the band Celebrated Working Man. Long ago, man thought that creative ideas came from the divine. Meaning, the artist was a vehicle for God or the gods. It seems that could take a bit of pressure off of the artist. I’m in no way saying I’m inspired by god, but its interesting to think of an artist not being able to really control what they do at all. I think most artists feel like this to some extent. Anyway I could go on, this isn’t even an answer to your question.
Maybe the proper answer is sometimes I think of the voice as an instrument, sometimes it’s a way to get a sentiment across.
Eric- I only sing harmonies to the words that Ryan writes :)
6.- As a personal note, your music brings the sense of symbiosis, harmony, peace, togetherness, so maybe this is a little bit weird question: is there any special purpose for you when making music?
Ryan- I’m truly glad you get that feeling. During most of the lyric writing on All Those I Know I was going through some difficulties, hard times and major uncertainties in my life. I remember writing “I Hear Trumpets” and I had really negative angry pessimistic lyrical content when I started. While I was working it I thought to myself that it just didn’t really reflect how I felt about the world, so I turned the same idea for the song into something positive. I really only try to sing from a positive place. Eric and I have actually talked about this at length. The fact that you pick up on this really makes me happy.
Eric- music it therapeutic for us I think. Even back when Ryan & I were playing in Camden we often fond ourselves in the studio for hours and hours on end day after day. No matter what is going on in a given day music helps to center you. It gives us something positive to focus on and has really helped the two of us grow as friends.
7.- We read in your Twitter that there’ll be a vinyl version of your CD (can’t wait to order one already!) In this respect, what do you like the most: getting a digital copy of a CD, a physical CD or a vinyl? Why?
Ryan- I totally love the instant gratification of a download. It’s such a great way to get some new music. There is nothing like having a physical copy of a record you love though. Especially if there is some real heart and soul put into the creation of the physical product. Most records I get these days, I’m pretty sure someone in the band put the record in the sleeve them selves.
Eric- I totally agree with Ryan…I love the download, however, there is nothing like having the physical copy in your hand and reading through the liner notes while looking at the album art.
8.- How did working with Headlights and Shearwater came to happen? Love them both (specially Headlights)
Ryan- I love them both too. Like many of the guest on the record I’ve toured and been friends with them for a very long time. I basically just called them and said, “yo! When you get a chance I need you to do me a track.” And being the amazing wonderful dears that they are, they obliged. They are great friends. I love everyone that contributed to this record.
9.- What’s the one thing that really gets your attention when you listen to someone else’s music? And even further, what are the reasons why you call a band / singer an influence for you?
Ryan- For me personally its when a musician can make a record that sounds amazing and has musical ideas that are done in a new way. I’m really influenced by artists that can make music that I find difficult to recreate. Meaning, when I’m in the studio, I try to break the code of how someone made something sound, whether its with a certain effect or whether its some kind of scale I don’t normally use. Thus, I spend my time listening to them to figure it out.
Eric- For me, it is how a record makes me feel. It may not sound good or be groundbreaking, but if it makes me feel good…then that is what I am looking for.
10.- Is there a tour in the cards? If so, would you go to either Mexico or the UK?
Ryan- Well, we’ve got an EP coming out in the UK in April on a new label called Luau Records, so maybe there. I’ve never toured in Mexico, but I would absolutely love to. ¡Y tambien nosotros hablamos Español! On the other side of that, there may be a major move in the near future for one of the members of Eric & Magill. This might make touring difficult, but it could make the creation of some future Eric & Magill collaborations very interesting…check our Facebook or Twitter in the not too distant.
Tonan & Sam would like to heartily thank Eric & Magill for this interview!