Front-man Eric Earley of Blitzen Trapper called in en route to the Midwest to give us a taste of what to expect from their show this Thursday at the Hi-Fi. Read our conversation to get hyped before the show at 8!
Aubrey Smith: You’ve been in the industry for quite some time now. How would you say that it’s changed over the years, specifically in live sets?
Eric Earley: Everybody should know by now that bands only make money by playing shows. For us, it’s been a journey of how to blend our audience for our live show – how we can play well together with our range (of genres) so that’s it’s engaging and meaningful to them.
AS: What was it like when you first started?
EE: We started touring in 2007. In the beginning, we really didn’t know what we were doing. We were kind of just messing around. Then we started to figure out what works for us. A lot of it has been about bands we have toured with. I mean, I remember touring with Wilco four or five years ago. Watching them play was eye opening as far as the way they structured their musicianship. We also toured with Brandi Carlile, and her stage energy was amazing. The thing that I like and the thing I make sure of is that the show is engaging.
AS: Since your sound has developed from opposing ends of the rock genre, how would you describe it for an audience that will be coming to your live performance?
EE: We play a lot of hard rock, but we also play a lot of folk and country music as well. The set is in pieces almost where we’ll do full-band rock and then we will go into more acoustic. There are times in the set where there’s three voices and a guitar. There’s a lot of range. We have a lot of records and songs, so there’s a lot to choose from. We pull from all over the place.
AS: Have you been to Indy before?
EE: Yeah we have been there a couple of times.
AS: What’s some of your memories here?
EE: We’ve had some pretty cool shows there. I remember in the early days we played a show probably in ’09. It was a small place. There was some pretty drunk people there. They had a breathalyzer in the bar. They were having a contest to see who could breath the highest percentage. It was pretty funny. Our drummer was trying to win.
AS: Yeah we can take our alcohol pretty seriously here. LOL! What advice would you give to aspiring musicians that have just started playing live shows?
EE: Depends on what you want to do. At this point, there’s very little money in playing music. So if you’re after money, go to college and become a lawyer or become a plumber. Something like that. But if you truly love music and don’t care about the state of the industry, the real key is just write good songs and hope you get lucky.