Brendan Ekstrom is the guitarist for Circa Survive. He resides in his hometown, Doylestown, Pennsylvania with his cat. That’s all anyone knows about the mysterious Mr. Ekstrom. However, this man is very witty. I personally find him quite inspiring and feel that everyone should learn more about this passionate musician. Let’s do some digging.
J- Thank you so much for taking the time for the interview! It’s very much appreciated!
BE- Of course. No problem.
J- So, you’re a guitarist in an awesome band…But it’s deeper than what we all see on the surface. What do you think is the biggest misconception about what you do?
BE- A lot of people assume that being in a band is a 24/7 party. There’s a lot of hard work that goes into it and while it can be rewarding, it is also very exhausting at times and requires lots of sacrifice. Sometimes I almost wish it was the “sex, drugs, and rock’n'roll” roller-coaster ride people seem to believe it is but I haven’t even had a drink in sixteen years. We all take this very seriously as a business and a career and have hopes of making it last as long as possible.
J- So true. It’s so easy to think that the life of a musician is all concerts and after parties. It is a lot tougher than it sounds! Seems like you were made to do what you do. If you weren’t able to do what you do now, however, what else could you see yourself doing?
BE- I’ve been thinking about it more and more recently and I feel that I’d be doing something working closely with people in need. Just this week I’ve been looking into volunteering with special needs people in my hometown. I just have to find something that will allow me to volunteer on an erratic schedule. I’ve always felt the best about myself when I’m helping friends through tough times and I feel that working as a psychologist would be very rewarding for me.
J-Circa Survive has released many records and EP’s over the years…Which is your personal favorite?
BE- Ha. I’ll always feel very partial to our first record Juturna. There was something magical about us all coming together for the first time, like meeting a new lover. Everything was fresh and new and there were no boundaries or expectations. That being said I feel that our last record may have been the most rewarding over all because of the journey it took to create it.
J- That makes a lot of sense. You guys have come such a long way. Made music, played music…You have toured with many bands over the years, which bands would you say you have built the strongest friendships with?
BE- I’m sure it’s different for everyone in the band. I keep in touch with a lot of people but I’ve been friends with the guys from Portugal the Man, Moneen and Murder by Death for quite awhile and more recently have made friends in Oh Brother and Meg and Dia.
J- For someone that wants to do what you do, name one thing they need to be wary of and then name one thing that they can look forward to if they do end up following in your footsteps.
BE- Well I know a lot of people will talk about how labels and promoters can rip you off and a lot of external things to be wary of, and I don’t mean to sound preachy, but I think one of the most important aspects of being an entertainer is to be aware of yourself at all times. Always believe in the art you are creating. Try to always make sure you’re doing things for the right reasons. Make sure you stay humble and grateful no matter what success you find. Keep your ego in check. If you do, then everything you accomplish will mean more to you and to the people around you. Okay there’s really no way for that to not sound preachy. Sorry.
J-A little bit of preaching never hurt anyone! Advice is always welcome, help is always appreciated…Speaking of help, what person/position (outside of your band) who contributes to your band/career are you most thankful for? Maybe a job “behind the scenes” that is overlooked in the music industry. (exe. Manager, driver, sound engineers…)
BE- Well honestly there are a lot of people that make everything work smoothly for us. On tour, my days are made much easier by Brad Clifford, our guitar tech. Not only does he do everything to keep my workload easier, but he’s just really positive and fun to have around. Also, Nani Stoick who works with our manager is constantly on top of things that we need done on a day to day basis.
J-That’s something. Sometimes positive energy and keeping things alive can be overlooked so easily. It’s important to keep things upbeat and fun for good things to happen. So what bands have you been listening to that keep things fun for you?
BE-The Christmas Lights, Graveyard, Portugal The Man, Soundgarden, Nirvana…
J- Some of those are new to me; I’m going to have to look them up! Yay, for new music! Now, before I let you go, tell us what is going on right now. Any tours coming up or projects that are in the making you would like to tell us about?
BE-Right now we are in the middle of working on a new record. It’s been great so far. Songs are coming together more easily than ever. We have also been touring in the fall. The schedule is posted on our website. We will be traveling a lot this October! Check it out!
J-I definitely will! I might try to catch a show near me! Thanks again, Brendan, for your time!
BE- For sure. Thank you.