Eggs Benedict is an amazing quintet coming straight out of the Eastman School of Music. Trading classical jazz for some out right weird funk and psychedelic they are a band to check out live if you want to get moving. We met up with Ethan and Mike to talk about how they got started, escaping the monotony of pop music, and getting weird.
So you guys all met through Eastman school of music?
Mike: The group started with Jason, Ben, and I who got together to play for this pop artist, Chris, we enjoyed playing with him but we ended up enjoying playing with each other more.
Ethan: We were also playing with Sarah Marie. We were the East Men at that point; that was bad that was a terrible name. That was something that came out of my brain and she liked it and it stuck.
Mike: We have been playing with this pop group for a couple months and we really enjoyed playing together so we started playing other music. We played our first gig at Art Awake in 2013.
Ethan: The idea was if we are going to play pop music we might as well play together and get super tight and get real weird because pop stuff gets super repetitive after awhile. If we were going to do this we were going to go off and do our own thing while serving our pop band. All of the other side projects faded away and now we all do Eggs Benedict.
It makes sense that the band evolved out of trying to escape pop music.
Ethan: Exactly we got real weird real quick.
You guys have been playing for 2 years now correct?
Mike: Yea, we started the first week of February 2013 so almost to this date we became official.
Ethan: it was really awesome getting together with guitars and writing tunes and just having fun then once Gomeh came into the picture and it kind of fleshed out the band. The first time we actually played through a full song was when we submitted a song for Art Awake. When that got accepted we figured out we had something going. Then Evan stepped in on sax. I had never met him before but as soon as he got into the band we decided these were the five people. We had a key board player for a little while and he was amazing, but he had too many paying gigs to play with us. I still have one of his songs stuck in my head.
So it has been the same line up more or less since the beginning.
Ethan: This has been the line up now for a while. No vocals though, we made that decision. It is cool because the no vocals gets us a different kind of fan base. We get a lot of younger Eastman kids; we play a lot of Eastman house shows. All of the music kids get to nerd out and rock out at the same time. It’s funny, we get people saying after we played tell me they will listen to us after they smoke some weed. How did one kid say it? The next time he experiences vegetation.
Mike: We had one kid who saw us play a house show. He is a sophomore now, but he was checking out the college and he told us after we played that we proved to him that Eastman was it. This is the place to be.
Ethan: The freshman jazz department this year especially loves it.
Mike: It is great, the same kids you see tearing it up in the practice rooms six hours a day looking like their heads are going to explode are the same kids thrashing around and jumping at our shows.
Jason: It is awesome to see that. It is a really cool feeling.
I’m surprised you don’t see a lot more Eastman bands playing around Rochester.
Jason: Talking Under Water is Eastman based, but other than that you don’t see a ton of people from Eastman in the overall scene.
Mike: It is weird; our thought was we spend a lot of time at Eastman practicing in ensembles, practice time, and whatever. We have a lot of rehearsal time we got into pop rehearsals and ran it with some efficiency of a classical rehearsal not so much as let’s get the fuck out of here but more like let’s get some shit done. We have something to go off of, have fun, and accomplish a lot.
Ethan: I love Eggs Benedict because it just gets weird. At this point I am just pushing for more and more weirder music.
Do you guys go in with sheet music from a set song then just keep adding on it until it becomes your own?
Mike: There is always an arrangement that we have for the majority of the band. Then there is room to improvise where you can play with everyone’s melody.
Ethan: We either do the original tunes then there is the songs that let us do what we want and we can see where everyone in the band wants to take it. We take a simple tune and make it weird or a weird tune and make it simple there is not a band writing process. Everyone has their own songs that they kind of workshop with the rest of the band.
Mike: we have a song called slow dance and it started as an elude between two songs we already had. We just wanted to create the jivest interlude ever but then we realized wait this is actually kind of fun. We played for the u of r and they wanted a slow dance and we had nothing so we played the interlude and it became our tune ‘slow dance’
Have you recorded anything?
Mike: We have done little things at this point we recorded enough for a solid EP we are working on that with a tentative released date around may.
Ethan: what I love about this band is its total DIIY mentality. We did our recording in the empty room of a church set up a full recording studio played, then torn it down. As of now we are at zero dollars for anything we have done for the recordings. I love that; I played in a couple bands with record labels booking agents and that s cool and all but that’s not what Eggs is about its supposed to be different and on its own.
MIke: I know if we talked to a label or a booker they would ask for a vocalist and that would be the end of that. So yea we are finishing the EP. Its going to take some time especially with school and with Ttwo members about to graduate with one who does all of the mixing.
So why are you called Eggs Benedict?
Ethan: There is actually a funny story about that. when I was 15 I had a dream I was sitting down at a drum set and the bass drum was an egg mcmuffin and the toms were poached eggs and cymbals was hollandaise sauce. So when I woke up a said if I had a band I would call it Eggs Benedict.
Mike: When I started it we call agreed that we should call it that thinking we were never going to play out much. What’s funny we played for fringe fest and I was in Javas I heard someone reading the programs and asked their friend what’s Eggs Benedict was and they decided to just check us out. After that I was sold on the name.