Monday, May 4, 2009

A Sit Down with The Ease Down

Listening to the very talented Ben Wilkins and his band The Ease Down perform their illustrated and powerful  songs at the Concordia Student Union  Winter Orientation concert, I knew that they were a treasure to remember. I talked to Ben at the show and decided to sit down and talk about the direction of the band, life on the road and his inspirations soon after all via the interwebs. When you hear a band classify themselves as “Pop music is preferable, and then Gangster Pop followed by Roid Rock,” you would have no idea what to expect  of what you are getting into. That is unless you are lucky enough to already know the make up of The Ease Down.   

A band may change over time depending on the changing times and events, that may be why I asked Ben what the first album he bought was and his first concert experience, one where he snuck in as a kid to a Sloan concert. “When I was a kid I hid in the bathroom to once to see Sloan at a university bar.  The Dears opened.  It was an amazing show, beer flew everywhere, and I wondered why none of the security guards noticed that I was very underage. “His first album buying experience he believes was Miles E. Davis Kind of Blue, “It’s a classic, so I guess I started safe.  Before that I mostly listened to mix tapes. “ Buying a Miles Davis album may have not seem like the most preliminary artist  on the path to whom he cites as his major inspirations in life ranging from classical songwriters the likes of Paul Simon and Stevie Wonder to Fiona Apple and Joni Mitchell. There are also other influences in his life though, some that may surprise you including the film Notorious.  

            With this influences, it makes each song excitedly unexpected and gives a great sound to each song in its own way. Ben’s answers I found particulary interesting to this question, especially the last for me which I find really sweet: “U2 - not because I think our music is similar but because I think it would be fun to play in front of a huge crowd that is easily impressed. An opening spot for Shakira would be fun too.  And I fantasize about being apart of Def Leppard’s 2009 summer tour.  What I wouldn’t give to sing those guys some catchy pop-ditties.” Imagine pop becoming a big part of Def Leppard songs. It could change the world! 

            When Ben Wilkins was attemping to put together what we know now as the Ease Down,  he seems to go the way of the internet, “I met Armen on the internet.  He was looking for a band and I was looking for a bass player.  It was beautiful,” oh and also places that may be a little out of the ordinary, “ I met Hugo at a step aerobics class.  There was just something about his rhythm.” You can never guess how bands will choose their name. For the Ease Down, it was like pavlov’s bell for Ben from when he used to work for a moving company and would say easy down easy down.

            They have gone on tour around the United States and Canada, have had some great experiences and some not so great. One faithful memory is of their goldfish from tour, “We also won a goldfish at a county fair and felt responsible for it so we decided to free it in Lake Erie,” ranging to when they were called names in Indiana like “creeper” and “long hair” but these experiences only made them stronger.

            The people behind the music of the Ease Down plan on visiting the United States soon and I look forward to seeing them play soon again in Montreal. You can find their music here


The video below is also their video for my favorite song, Shapeshifter: 

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