2014 has been a succesful year, full of new projects. The Ben Babylon Band were selected by Sonic Bids to play Sunset Sessions 2014. We could see tham opening for Marshall Tucker Band at the Canyon Club. Also working with producer Matt Still in the Studio on 4 new songs: first of them, "Never Stop" released free the past 03 September, the official day of changing their band name to "The Episodes". As you know, Ben released his new Single, "Burning Man", off his EP "Further Interpretations of Real life", and another single, "Contradiction", which features the Elton John Band. We invited Ben to chat a little about all these projects, and asking about all those things. So Ben, welcome again to your fan site, a joy to have you here. So let's start. Jack Rabbit, it's your turn.
Thanks, well, the BBB develop to The Episodes. You define this as an Alternative Rock band. Why the need of this development? What could The Episodes gives you that the BBB not did?
Yes, we are a high-energy, piano-based alternative rock band. We put ourselves in that genre because a lot of the bands that influence us are in that genre as well. The reason we changed our band name to The Episodes was to form a sense of unity, and also to introduce a new “start.” We are starting to branch out, listen to different genres, and also write very differently. Our songwriting process is beginning to develop and transform as well — both individually and collectively. We just sound different. You can definitely hear our Ben Babylon Band “roots", but we just sound different. We also wanted to institute a fresh and unique “image” that we just didn’t think the Ben Babylon Band could boast. To establish this image, we added Joshua Barish to the band. Now, you will never see Joshua on stage, but you will see his art. Soon we will unveil our new beautiful kick drum head. Joshua is going to be performing all of the art for The Episodes.
Art and music, good combination. Amazing idea! And why the choosing of the name? What's the reason behind this?
That, I have to say, is a little bit of a mystery. Somebody just suggested it — I believe it was Alex. We all got together and started suggesting band names, and The Episodes just came up. I can’t tell you why we all liked it so much, but I think we realized it just fit. I think we liked the sort of double meaning behind the word “episode.” It could mean an episode as in a period of time or a show, or it could be a mental breakdown type of episode. I think it will prove to be a good band name in the future as well. I think we, as The Episodes, will have many “episodes” — or chapters. I think we will continue to develop, and I think the name really allows for us to branch out and try new things as our career develops with time.
Sure! Perfect! Influences from Ben Folds Five to Randy Newman, from Elton John to Radiohead, from Queen to Cage the Elephant... a wide range of styles. What do you pick from those different artists?
Yes, all of these artists are major influences on our music. Elton John has been an influence on our music from our beginnings as the Ben Babylon Band. But as we developed, we all began to listen to all different kinds of music. One of my favorite singers/songwriters/performers of all time is Freddie Mercury. I have listened to him, watched his performances (my favorite being Wembley ’86), and even researched him and his life. He is a major influence on me, and subsequently also an influence on the rest of the band. We all listen to different bands however, and fusing all of our influences together really creates, what we think, quite a unique sound.
Yes! Then could you present the members of the band? One of those members is Jacob Staben, the one you write: "What will he be playing, you ask? We don't really know to be honest . . . just a bunch of . . . things".
Alex Arnaout — Alex is the bassist of the band, and also sings background vocals.
Ben Babylon — That’s me. I am the lead singer and keyboardist.
Joshua Barish — Yes, we count him as a band member. He creates all of the artwork for The Episodes, and has creative input.
Jagger Krusen — Jagger is the drummer, and sings background vocals.
Brian Schwartz — Brian is the lead guitarist and occasionally sings background vocals.
Jacob Staben — Jacob plays all sorts of stuff! He will play rhythm guitar, keyboards, percussion, etc. Whatever the song calls for. He adds texture to the band.
Thanks! "Never Stop", mixed by the greatest Matt Still, is the brand first new single. This is the first step to release an entire album? I love the lines: "Look at all these people are they even here for me? Look at all these people — why don’t they shout, why don’t they scream?”.
Yes, that is our first single, available on Bandcamp for $1+ (https://theepisodesmusic.bandcamp.com/releases). Matt Still did an amazing job and we look forward to hopefully working with him again. He is amazing. We recorded four songs with him, and “Never Stop” is the first one we released. The second song, “Jack’s Hit” is actually available to download now when you sign up for our mailing list (https://www.facebook.com/theepisodesmusic/app_306495682738302). To answer your question about an album — yes! We are trying to complete an album right now. Unfortunately, making an album takes a lot of time and money, so it is a slow process. That’s why every dollar that comes from Bandcamp goes to funding our album. But we are definitely in the process, and we have high hopes for it!
Wow! People, we have to be there, we must be there. Next coming shows are in the making, I suppose. Anything to explain about this?
Our next show will be November 22nd at the Canyon Club, opening for Macy Gray. Tickets and more details are on Bandsintown (https://www.facebook.com/theepisodesmusic/app_123966167614127).
Which songs we could hear on your live performances? Something from the BBB days? New songs by The Episodes? Covers as you did by Fun or Ben Folds?
You will definitely here a few of our BBB songs, but reimagined. We will also have a lot of new songs that we have never played before. We will play a few covers, but a majority of the show will be original.
Finally, I would love you explain something bit about the experience on the Berklee School of Music. What does it means to you to be in one of the most priviledged schools of music?
My experience at Berklee School of Music was one of the coolest experiences in my life. I had so much fun, met so many talented people, and I learned so much. What I learned there is definitely being incorporated in my new songs — and I can’t wait to show them to everybody!
Thanks so much Ben for being here. Today it's your birthday, so me and Rabbit wish you a HAPPY HAPPY BIRTHDAY, wishing all the best this year and years in become. You are a genuine person and I wish you fullfill all your dreams because you deserve it. Next, we've got a few people, few fans, that would like to send their wishes to you. You are so much loved and you are the best. Thanks so much Ben, God Bless you.
Pictures courtesy of Ben Babylon