Interview with 1st Base Runner

Here is our interview with 1st Base Runner, featured previously with tracks like “Only One” and the Unkle cover “Rabbit In Your Headlights.” His new EP, Ellis, releases today.

With your Ellis EP, you collaborated with longtime friend Bryan Ellis. When making music with an ideal collaborator, do you instantly feel the creative chemistry, or is it something that emerges over time?

I think creative chemistry can exist only in the proper setting, time, and with the right person. I think it comes about naturally on its own. It is really important to realize when it is in the room.

How has your extensive time touring across North America with international acts inspired your own material as 1st Base Runner?

I think perspective and scope have been broadened in some regards. Perhaps not constraining the vision for the project.

Your debut album, Seven Years of Silence, conveyed a captivating atmospheric aesthetic with eclectic elements of rock, post-punk, and more. With the Ellis EP, did you pursue any particular themes or aesthetics that you didn’t get the chance to with Seven Years of Silence?

Thank you. I would say the two releases are very different from one another. I think Ellis is an attempt at being more pop oriented. I also used different syncopations with the drums and relied a lot on delays whenever the songs allowed it. Thematically, Ellis is an exploration of young love. Perhaps once removed.

What was the first album you heard that had a strong impact, either artistically or personally?

It’s always difficult to pinpoint the first, but I would have to say Black Sabbath and The Beatles both moved me as an adolescent. Black Sabbath- Vol4 and The Beatles- Revolver. Vastly different albums, but incredibly moving in their structure, form, and content.

Do you have a specific process or ritual when creating new music?

I have to quiet the brain. It usually takes a few days of fumbling in the dark to find the right direction. It’s kind of like an exercise in being present. I tend to gravitate towards one or two primary instruments and then use those as a foundation.

Any favorite artists or albums you’re listening to at the moment?

I have been really into Good Morning, Fontaines D.C., and John Maus lately.

If you could collaborate with any artist, alive or dead, who would it be?

In a dream world, I would probably pick Leonard Cohen.

What do you find is the most satisfying part of being an artist?

I think it may be answering a personal calling. I think it is also playing live music with other musicians and sharing that sound with an audience. It can be really electric…

What is the biggest challenge you find in today’s music industry?

No one really knows which way is up or down, yet everyone loves to overpromise and underdeliver. Too many pay to play types out there willing to take people’s money. “Making it” is an idea that costs a lot of artists too much money.

What’s upcoming for the project?

Shows! I have assembled a live band and I couldn’t be happier with our sound. Some very thoughtful and talented individuals that I can’t wait to share a stage with.

Stream Ellis below:

Mike Mineo

I'm the founder/editor of Obscure Sound, which was formed in 2006. Previously, I wrote for PopMatters and Stylus Magazine.

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