Punk duo Ed Schrader’s Music Beat has a lot to say on their new record, Riddles. It was written and recorded at a time when everyone, including their producer and friend Dan Deacon, was going through some emotional hardships. With its release now imminent (out 3/2 via Carpark Records), the band is ready to take to the stage, heading out on a national tour when the album drops.
We were able to speak with Ed Schrader himself about the upcoming dates, dictators, and his Tony Award aspirations. Read it all in our interview below and download the Thrillcall app to enter to win tickets to the tour!
Thrillcall: This tour isn’t ESMB’s first rodeo so to speak. Any new tricks up your sleeve for your upcoming dates?
Ed Schrader: I am stepping away from the drum this time around and putting on my dancing shoes! We’re building the show around the new album and focusing less on what we’ve been doing for the last eight years. Like any artist worth their salt I have to challenge myself and shed the past. I have a feeling folks won’t mind once they get a load of this new show!
TC: Dan Deacon has been a longtime friend of the band and has amassed his own cult following for his solo projects. Did it take any convincing to get him to produce the record?
ES: I was getting coffee with Dan one day and flat out asked “what about you…would YOU produce the new record?” He paused a sec then was like “ya know what…yeah I will!” I was ecstatic–it was something we both always wanted but never had a time where our schedules matched. For some freak reason it worked out this time! It was like Mr Holland’s Opus: he was a producer, a teacher, and a coach and he changed the way I work in a studio. Forever grateful!
TC: ESMB was never able to fit neatly into a genre, but your sound used to be more monolithic in the realm of post-punk. On Riddles, it’s all over the place. Are there any particular influences that you keep in mind during the songwriting process?
ES: I was listening to lots of Crowded House, INXS, Split Enz, and Janet Jackson (Rhythm Nation). I also was getting back into the Police’s albums–I love how smart but poppy they are and wanted to try that. I was also listening to PJ Harvey and Bowie/Eno stuff. We’d give Dan bare bone demos and we’d expand upon that and by the end of the process we would start from scratch right in the studio! Not the norm for us Minute Men! We used to see the studio in a more adversarial way but Dan got us to feel right at home in the studio and thus we were able to feel very free to express those elements which always seemed out of our realm.
TC: Your lives were all separately upended around the time of recording for this record, and the studio provided an escape during hard times. How does it feel now that the album is being released to the world?
ES: It feels very personal in a way that we’ve never been. We are really opening up here and at first I pushed back, but Dan worked with me and got me out of my shell, and I’m glad he did. Devlin [Rice, ESMB’s bassist] is also so expressive and really cut loose in this album. It was so cool watching that evolution and seeing Dan in the driver’s seat conducting the madness and expanding the boundaries of our strange little world!
TC: The Portland Mercury called you “part performance artist, part totalitarian dictator.” Care to make a retort?
ES: Well I’m a line cook at a diner and I sing songs to my cats. I think other dictators should sing to their cats. My loud drum Goblin King thing is a character that I play on stage–sorry to scare you Portland! I think it’s easy for an audience to confuse that character with the performer. Guess it means I’m doing my job well. I’ll take that Tony award now please!
Thrillcall is giving away a pair of tickets to each date of the tour except where marked otherwise. Download the Thrillcall app, set your location, and scroll through the live offers to find Ed Schrader’s Music Beat. Alternatively, once you’ve downloaded the app, click any link below to take you directly to the offer. Good luck! We will email you if you have won.
3/1 @ Metro Gallery – Baltimore, MD
3/3 @ Comet Ping Pong – Washington, DC
3/4 @ Kings – Raleigh, NC
3/5 @ The Mothlight – Asheville, NC
3/6 @ Pilot Light – Knoxville, TN
3/7 @ Fond Object Records – Nashville, TN
3/9 @ Mammal Gallery – Atlanta, GA (no giveaway)
3/13 @ Transit Bicycle Company – Dallas, TX
3/14 @ Paper Tiger – San Antonio, TX
3/20 @ Replay Lounge – Lawrence, KS
3/23 @ Kilby Court – Salt Lake City, UT
3/26 @ Holland Project – Reno, NV
3/28 @ Zebulon – Los Angeles, CA
3/29 @ Make Out Room – San Francisco, CA (no giveaway)
3/31 @ The Know – Portland, OR
4/4 @ Total Drag Records – Sioux Falls, SD
4/5 @ Kitty Cat Klub – Minneapolis, MN (no giveaway)
4/6 @ Vaudeville Mews – Des Moines, IA
4/7 @ Quarters Rock N Roll Palace – Milwaukee, WI (no giveaway)
4/8 @ Empty Bottle – Chicago, IL
4/9 @ El Club – Detroit, MI
4/10 @ Baby G – Toronto, ON
4/11 @ Monkey House – Winooski, VT
4/12 @ AS220 – Providence, RI
4/14 @ Everybody Hits – Philadelphia, PA
4/15 @ Baby’s All Right – Brooklyn, NY