Infectious Magazine spoke with Alex, Andy, Abe and Jonas of NH based, East is East about future tours, the NH scene, charity work, and what they’d like to say to their fans
Infectious Magazine: Hey guys! Thanks for taking the time to speak with me. What makes you guys stand out, and what lights your fire?
Alex: We feel like music these days has lost it’s meaning, and we think what sets us apart is that we’re trying to bring the heart back to music. The heart and soul of classic rock fuel’s my inspiration when I’m on the drums.
Andy: What makes East is East stand out is that we don’t try to limit ourselves to one type of music, we’re not afraid to try new things and get creative. My greatest inspiration comes from my peers, the other bands we play with and love, I see what they are doing and see how we can do it better.
Abe: I would say it’s our individuality. We don’t particularly belong to one scene or another; we’re not hipsters, punks, emo’s, metal heads or cookie cutter rock people. We’re not working hard to be pretentious and fit into a scene. We’re making music that we like and allowing a scene to come of its own volition.
IM: You’ve been playing in the NH scene for a while now. What do you think are some of the challenges of coming from a less populated, less music heavy scene such as NH as opposed to NYC or even Boston?
Andy: In the area we come from, it’s very hard to gain momentum and to build a solid fan base who come to shows consistently, buy CDs and support the band in other ways. The only way we have been able to overcome this is by reaching out and putting our roots down as far and wide as we can.
Fire needs heat, oxygen, and fuel in order to happen. A music scene needs people, places, and bands to populate it. We’ve found plenty of places that we can play, almost whenever we want, and we have the music to play, but if there’s no one there, what’s the point? The only scene that seems to be happening in New Hampshire, that has droves of people flocking to it is the hardcore scene. I think that has kept a lot of people that like our kinds of music, “at home” so to speak.
Jonas: Immediately the thing I notice is that its an uphill battle for the respect of other bands and to get a comradery. If other bands alienate you then it’s harder to get fans. And at the end of the day fans are what keeps you going… Well that and my cat.
IM: How have you managed to overcome those obstacles?
Alex: I view the obstacles we face only as an illusion of obstacles. We play a different style of music that most people don’t expect to hear from our age group. The one challenge is to give other people the chance to experience the music that is East is East. People from our area seem to be set in their ways, but I feel confident playing our music to new crowds and spark new attractions. The illusion is that there’s something stopping us from being what we already do.
Abe: Well playing shows with hardcore bands doesn’t seem to necessarily help finding “our people,” (people that don’t belong to a particular scene or another). Someone going to a show generally has a purpose in mind; they are there to see their band. We have good luck pulling some people in at these kinds of mixed shows with our diverse sound, but they tend to not be regular fans. So the idea is to get people who would like our music, out of “the house”, and to our shows and buying cd’s. So we’ve gotten a good campaign going via the internet and our partnerships with regular and College radio stations. We’ve got a good presence in these areas, and I think it has helped gain us whatever notoriety we have in the NE scene. However, we put a lot of work into our live show, and I’ve yet to hear from anyone that we don’t do a good live show.
Jonas: In many ways we try to be the “nice guys.” We let bands borrow equipment sometimes and we try to be civil and chivalrous… Its not a competition to me its a team effort with other bands to a common goal. That being exposing people to our art.
IM: Over the holidays you released a cover of “White Christmas” with all profits donated to Unicef. What other charities or organizations do you support, and how can others get involved?
Abe: We’ve done stuff for the Red Cross Haiti Effort, Breast Cancer awareness, the local Children’s Auctions and other things. These things are usually very easy for us to do, for example the “White Christmas” recording was done by a friend of ours and took two nights work. Other times, these organizations just contact us to do a show and donate our time. Usually these work out well for both parties. We get our fans to go and usually, it helps us with exposure. For example we’ll be playing a benefit show in Maine on March 2nd, in a town we’ve never been before. There are no ticket sales necessary on our half, (which is a big boon for any band now-a-days), and we’ll hopefully leave a mark in an area that hasn’t heard of us before.
All anyone needs to do to help, is to do what they would do anyways, go to these shows and bring friends; we’ll make sure you have a good time.
Jonas: I have always been one to help other people and when you have a band its good to let people know that no matter who you are you can make a difference. We’ve done many benefits before and when we worked with piche’s for the haiti benefit I became interested in UNICEF so all of the t-shirts we sold the profits went to unicef and it was great. With ‘white christmas’ the planets aligned just right and we got a professional recording and mastering for basically free and we got a good deal from HFA for the licensing.
IM: What would you like both your current and potential fans to know?
Alex: To our fans: Keep the faith, fight the good fight, push yourself harder to be better and stronger, don’t let anyone tell you that you’re nothing because they’re the jealous ones. Buy our album and listen to it in the dark with some lava lamps, always great to see you guys at our shows, and keep your guard up because the Daleks are still out there.
Andy: We’re extremely thankful for all of the love and support we’ve got along the way and there are ALWAYS open positions for more dedicated fans!
Abe: We’re a good band! Isn’t that the goal of every band? You can go to our shows and not worry about getting your face smashed in, you can understand the lyrics, and have a good time without trying too hard. We’re not douche-bags, we appreciate anyone who likes our music and will always do our best at everything we do.
Jonas: Life is a blessing. Make the best of it and don’t be a prick.
IM: What is in the future for East is East?
Andy: The future is bright, we’re always growing, always evolving, we never stop, we always keep our eyes focused on the horizon, because if we blink, even for just one second – we’re dead.
Alex: In our future, I see lots of working out and burning off all the pizza that’s been consumed. Always gonna be working on new songs, albums, and sounds. Music is always in our hearts and we won’t stop listening to it. I hope that more and more people enjoy our music and come to future shows. We love singing along with people and rocking out. As long as you want the rock, we will always bring it.
Abe: A tour. It’s time to get off our asses and get out into the uncharted seas. Spread the word of EIE to other areas and take a chance at living on nothing but music and see if we can do it. We have a great product people are going to love.
Jonas: World tour, millions of fans, and a bad break-up stemming from an asian woman.
IM: Thank you for taking the time to speak with me. Is there anything else you’d like to add?
Abe: Andy bought me a Doctor Who tee shirt with a Dalek on it.
Jonas: I want to thank our street team and all of our new friends and affiliates.