Five Questions With... Eric Charles
As purveyors of gritty, no-nonsense rock with a melodic edge, the Eric Charles Band are at the forefront of their Kitchener-Waterloo, Ontario hometown scene, and with their latest single and video, “You Read,” they’re poised to make a lasting impression nationally.
The track is part of ECB’s self-titled debut, produced by Gavin Brown (Billy Talent, Three Days Grace), and, as the video charmingly illustrates, pays tribute to anyone attracted to bookworms.
After spending several years as a solo artist, Charles formed the group in 2013 in order to fill out the more expansive material he had been writing. The band, featuring lead guitarist Nick Maldonaldo, keyboardist Luke Collins, bassist Neil Nunnamaker, and drummer Eric Sherlock, made a big initial splash locally after earning a slot at Kitchener’s inaugural Big Music Fest in 2014, alongside headliners Slash, Aerosmith and Bryan Adams. After further gigs, they hooked up with Brown at Noble Street Studios, who whipped the album’s 12 tracks into shape, with the overall results emerging as a throwback power-pop gem.
In some ways, Charles is now carrying the torch for the K-W scene that once was overflowing with great singer/songwriters such as Danny Michel, Shannon Lyon, Paul MacLeod, Rob Szabo, Ian Smith (The Miniatures, Spirits), and others. But for all of its reminders of a time when unpretentious guitar-based pop ruled the radio, Eric Charles Band sounds incredibly fresh and vibrant. More info is at eric-charles.com
What inspired you to write “You Read” and what was the process like making the video?
It was inspired by a beautiful bookworm whose innocence was very captivating. During the day, she was a button-down intellectual but at night she transformed into a sexy rock ‘n roll queen. The video was a blast to film in downtown Kitchener at a popular used bookshop. The band performance was filmed at Wilfrid Laurier University’s campus bar, the Turret.
What song in your catalogue means the most to you and why?
“You Read” has always been my favorite and that’s why I was so excited to get the video premiered on MuchLoud. It’s a catchy song and that’s probably why radio has been very supportive. We’ve had several plays on commercial rock stations across Canada. In my view, the song is full of hooks and has unique lyrical content.
What has been the biggest change to your musical approach since you first started?
I’ve always been very honest about my songwriting. For me, simple chords allow the lyrics to speak to the audience and convey the message. The biggest change to my musical approach was adding a younger band to help shape the instrumentation and rock up the production.
What have been your most memorable shows?
We’ve played a lot of shows over the past two years, but my favorites have been Big Music Fest and Rogers Hometown Hockey. To share the stage with some of the biggest acts of all time, including Aerosmith, Bryan Adams and the Barenaked Ladies, was a huge accomplishment.
If there is anything you’d like to change about the music industry, what would it be?
I’ve always considered music as an artistic pursuit similar to painting. I do it because I need to. I’m personally fulfilled by the creative process and truly appreciate my fans. As for the future, I only hope that the industry will survive this very transitional time.