I recently caught up with Eric Chandler from Bowling for Soup via Skype. Eric has released his first solo album via Pledge which is worth the 10 bucks and much more. You can purchase it here. He has his own sound but I can hear a little of the unique BFS sound creeping into many of his songs. Next show is in Fort Worth Texas on June the 3rd. I have met Eric a few times now so our chat went for over an hour even though it was 2.30 am for him.
Your solo album was funded by Pledge Music, do you think that most people were BFS fans that were keen to see how your album turned out?
Initially I think it started that way but I think word kinda spread after the initial blast. We put a few songs are here and there and I think once people started to hear them and pledge that were not Bowling for Soup fans who now are. The only way that I can judge that is by the size of the T-shirts that I sell at my shows! I am selling a lot more grown men’s sizes then I am teenage girl sizes. (Both laughing) I have a lot of left over medium sizes. It was however when I first started doing the T-shirt orders, I decided to get the same sizes as Bowling for Soup sells but scaled-down amount. So I can gauge that people do listen to my music are my age and my size! It was hard to do as it was so different to what I am currently involved in.
I pledged early and it seemed that you stayed on 96% for a while. I pledge again hoping to get you over the 100% mark and it went up to 99!
Yeah I was stuck on 99% for a while! It was frustrating, I just wanted to reach the goal!
‘The Truth’ has BFS sounds and this is one reason that I like it so much. Was this intentional or is it just the way the sound turned out?
It was not intentional, I don’t hear it as much. However now I have said that my producer has done both albums so that is where the sound might be similar. Generally, the song writing was different but the sounds made during recording might be similar to that.
Prior to writing the album did you think that you had 13 songs in you that had to be written?
Well I wrote about 60 to 65 songs but once I locked into it, the 12 I wrote came out and I knew the direction that the album was taking. I did two more songs a little later, and I recorded them a little later and differently. I wanted to record the album initially live but it did not go as planned.We played all the instruments at the same time and played the songs 7 or 8 times in a row, hoping that in one of those songs we all nailed it. We then added sounds over that.
Do you do your writing in one place or is it something that you can do anywhere? I know I am always adding things to my interviews when I am out, thank goodness for my phone!
You know, yes and no. I am constantly typing notes into my phone or writing down vocal ideas then coming back to them, things that I do on-the-fly don’t often make much of an appearance as much as when I sit down and make myself work. I usually have a couple of ideas that I want to work on and if one does not happen quickly or at all I go onto the next idea, like is something doesn’t sound cool at the start I think it’s going to sound cool at the end.
For me it is the stand out song is ‘Where Did You Go’ holds a toe-tapping singalong while lyrically exclaiming that sometimes it’s better not to know the truth. I so agree. After my divorce I found out some of his transgressions and I really could of done without knowing what he had done.
I did not intentionally write this album about my divorce two years ago, I actually wrote most of the album before the divorce happened but upon further in inspection I realized that I read about me ending things. Not everything that I wrote was written from my point of view as well. I wrote songs from other people’s point of view. It was not all things are happening to me. Some of it is not factual, it was imaginative, I was feeling in a bad headspace and was thinking, what if that happened to someone or that etc.
This question prompted an unexpected sharing of personal stories that we both agreed that they were best kept to ourselves.
What genre would you classify yourself in? With the teenage angst theme coming through I would say Pop Punk. Although ‘Did you Know’ has some Country coming through.
Well the golden age for music for me was 1987 to 1994. They were my formative years and getting deeply involved in discovering a new kind of music. I grew up in a very small town that had one radio station to listen to. This station back in 1987 chose to play new independent artists. They played whatever they liked. They also boosted their signal so overnight so all of a sudden I was able to get it on radio in my room. It opened up this amazing world for me and I found bands that influenced me.
Your Album cover. Is there a story behind that or did you just like it?
(laughing) It is kinda lame but it is not lame. My girl and I have several pictures hanging around the house of humanised animals and I was just thinking that the album was fairly personal for me so the cover should be a personal cover. So when I was sitting on my couch on my computer I was looking at a picture of a couple, a stag and a doe standing next to each other and I thought something like that would be really really cool. My girlfriend did the artwork so she sketched something and she said something like this? and I said No exactly like that!
That sounds like your girlfriend has talent! I would not be able to sketch something that you would recognize.
Yes she is, she went to a high school for artists.
Eric and I had a chat about the demise of Soundwave although he did not want to comment on it until I told him what I knew and he agreed. I shared my story of Soundwave that he thought was rather sweet.
The rest of the time we exchanged stories that made us laugh. A very enjoyable interview and I am glad that Eric was kind enough to keep talking especially at that time of the day.
Interview by Jen Rees