Bowling For Soup

Interview: Bowling for Soup – Erik Chandler

After seventeen years and eleven albums Bowling for Soup have been around and done almost everything in the music industry. This year they returned with the aforementioned eleventh album ‘Fishin’ For Woos’. Just before they come out to the UK to undertake their first headline tour in support of the album I got the chance to speak to bassist/backing vocalist Erik Chandler.

Track: S-S-S-Saturday

Espy: Hey man, how’s it going?

Erik: It’s going very good at the minute.

Espy: I’d like to start by just talking about the band in general. You’ve been together for seventeen years now and released eleven studio albums, has it been difficult to work with the same guys for that length of time?

Erik: Has it been hard to work with them? No, definitely not. The big problem I have right now is that working with these guys is easy, it’s a system, and it is what it is. Even if we’ve been off for like four months and haven’t rehearsed, we step back into our rehearsal space and within about 15-20 minutes, after everybody has shaken off the laziness, we’re right back where we started before. The problem that I’m having is that I’m doing a solo album and it’s difficult to do by myself. With the band you get the energy from the other guys and it just becomes very real and very comfortable.

Espy: Onto the new album now, ‘Sorry for Partyin’ had a party vibe to, but the new album [Fishin’ for Woos] has a couple of slower songs, and a lot less effects. How did you come to the decision to basically go back to basics for this album?

Erik: Well that was done by design. We wanted to get back, in the last few albums we’ve gotten fairly into the studio process and playing with all the toys we had available to us to create a huge sound that you don’t normally get with four people on stage. With this album we really intentionally dialled it back to being just two guitars, drums and bass. There’s a little bit of that stuff sprinkled around, the “extras”, but this time we tried to keep that to a minimum.

Espy: With having quite a few “hit” tracks, does it making choosing your set more difficult to try to please everyone, for example when you toured last October you missed tracks like ‘Emily’?

Erik: We don’t really overly take that into consideration. Our set is basically what we come up with when we rehearse songs for “what would we like to play?” and I think that’s a better way. If we pick the songs that we’re going to be cool with and have a good time playing then that will hopefully translate into the audience appreciating and enjoying the songs that we’re playing.

Espy: Obviously over the past few years you’ve toured a lot, especially in the UK. What’s the differences between playing the US and Europe/UK.

Erik: It’s just a different kind of music fan to be honest. The UK vs. America, in America folks will come to the show and enjoy the show. They’re definitely there to see and be seen. Whereas in the UK there’s very much a group vibe kind of things, the fan goes to a show for the total experience. This is only something that I’ve learned because I’ve been here so much. People treat the show as more of an event, their entire day is built around going to the show, being at the show, I’m here at the show, this is the show and this is what I’m doing today. As opposed to getting off work at five or six, then I’m going to go home and get dinner, I’ll get to the venue around 9:30pm. The band I want to see are on about eleven, I’ll get in to see them. Yet in the UK we have folks starting to queue at around 7:30/8 in the morning.

Espy: What are you currently listening to in your own time?

Erik: Yesterday I had Frank Turner’s ‘England Keep My Bones’ and a band from the States that aren’t together anymore called The Fags. We toured with them on Warped Tour several years ago and I was listening back to one of their EPs. So what I’ve most recently listened to, that’s what it is.

Espy: Just two final questions, how do you juggle family life with the obvious pressures of being in a successful band?

Erik: It’s not really that hard. I mean, I say it’s not really that hard and then I think about it, it’s not an easy thing but we’ve been together for so long, all of us have our own separate family situations and everyone’s been there as this little “monster” that we’ve had has just continued to grow. We’re very lucky to have some very understanding girls at home who understand that every once in a while there’s going to be huge pick up in the band and we have to go do band stuff. I can’t go to this reception at the university with my wife because this interview just came up or something like that. We’re very lucky simply because we have some very understanding people in our immediate families and that is probably why we chose these people to be with.

Espy: And finally, how do you feel that the internet has helped and hindered the music industry, for bands of all statures?

Erik: Well it’s done both to be very honest. When we released our first album it was in the day of Britney Spears, Backstreet Boys, and so on. It was in that time that downloadable music was just starting and we yelled and screamed at the record label that we need to get onto this. The industry tried to stay away from it because they’re very uncomfortable to change and having to adapt. That’s when people starting pirating music, now I think it’s kind of been reeled back in. I realise that pirating is still happening but the true big bands are still there, like when there band releases an album, they’re going to be there, they’re going to buy it. Then the stragglers that hear it a little bit later on are the ones that are taking it for free. I mean you can’t complain really if that spreads the word a little more but it’s not right. Seventeen years ago when I started in this band I had never intended to make a pay check from it so it really doesn’t bother me a whole lot. But at the same time knowing that had we started ten years earlier the way it would’ve translated into album sales, I’m not bitter about it, but it’d be cool to see a little bit of that money but that’s not why I’m here doing this so it doesn’t really matter. All of what I was saying really boils down to supporting your local artists and scene, if you enjoy a band, go see them and buy their albums. Have a role in making something happen for them. Nothing happens for anyone without the fans and that’s the only reason that seventeen years in we still get to do what we get to do.

Espy: Thanks for the interview, take care.

Erik: No problem.


About Scott

I'm a fun-loving 18 year old Student from the sunny shores of Scotland! I love almost all kinds of metal and rock and always looking for new bands. A website designer as well as wanting to do journalism, I can be contacted about anything and everything on either Twitter or by Email.

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