These Band of the Day articles just keep flowing… (there’s a joke there if you look hard enough)
We’re actually from all over the place, but we live in Scotland in a big band house near Lockerbie.
I (guitar/lead vocals) am from Ft. Worth, Texas; Anna (drums) is from Shetland; Finn (bass) and Nikki (Hammond/synths) are from Colchester; Suna (backing vocals) is from Rotterdam and Kitty (backing vocals) was born in Zambia.
How did you meet?
I met everyone in the band (except Anna) in Alabama, USA in 2005. Finn, Kitty, Suna and Nikki were on tour in the states as a band called MT-TV and we became friends after meeting in a restaurant where I worked. We all got on instantly and I joined the team as a part of their road crew. I married their drummer Jo and eventually formed a band with her and MT-TV bassist Amanda. However, Jo passed away in 2012 and Amanda left the band.
Quite soon after I invited Finn, Suna and Nikki to form a temporary band to perform at a couple of gigs supporting Hawkwind. To be honest, this saved my life after losing Jo. We recruited Anna who was studying popular music at Napier University in Edinburgh and dragged Kitty into the band for third vocals – from her post as our front of house mixer.
How long have you been playing as a band?
Technically we’ve been playing together since 2013. But the guys were (for want of a better phrase) my backing band. We did two albums under my name and then we eventually convinced the powers that be to let us rebrand as a ‘proper’ band. So Death & The Maiden which is the EP we released in August 2019, is our debut as Ebb.
Before you get sick of being asked… where does the band name come from?
Ebb initially was short for ‘Erin Bennett Band’…but it wound up being beautifully apt for our flowing away from commercially driven rock and focusing more on Prog. Funny thing is… everyone knows the word ‘ebb’ when it’s in context with ‘ebb and flow.’ But we keep getting called by simply the letters ‘E-B-B’.
What are your influences?
Each of us have different influences as individuals. But since we’ve started focusing on being a ‘band’ rather than a songwriter and her backing group, the fusion of our personal influences has resulted in the flavour of music we make.
We lean towards Hawkwind, Rush, King Crimson and Tool. But you can hear some of the Heart influence in the melodies I typically come up with and the girl’s backing vocal harmonies have been compared to those of Alice in Chains. Very eclectic.
Describe your music. What makes you unique?
A journo once described us as being ‘Prog but with songs.’ And I guess this means we have the ability to make progressive, thought provoking music with lyrics to match, but the music is wrapped around melodically catchy songs which is sort of infrequent in Prog music, I think.
People think Prog focuses on crazy time signature changes, jazzy chord progressions and making sure the songs exceed the 7 minute mark.
Well, sometimes we do, to be fair, but in Ebb we’re trying to concentrate more on the song as an emotional expression rather than an opportunity to get lost up our own asses. Well that’s the theory. We do sometimes wander in that direction.
Do you have any particular lyrical themes?
Definitely! Our debut EP Death & The Maiden (which is being released with a 40-page booklet describing the concept behind the record) addresses the idea of someone becoming, through a series of unfortunate events, aware of themselves from a meta-consciousness point of view… understanding that they are a cog in the wheel of the human condition, if you like. In this instance, we named our main character Krystal Svava and the EP is like a soundtrack to a particular point in her life and awakening.
The beauty of the EP is that each song, individually and outside the overarching concept, has something that pretty much everyone can relate to at some stage of their lives. Some songs talk about dealing with the effects of depression whilst others talk about dark, mysterious love.
What’s your live show like? How many shows have you played?
Playing live for us is probably one of the biggest joys in life. There is a lot of movement in our live show in as much as me and the girls (Suna & Kitty) are bouncing around the stage like mad women. There’s a lot of hair. In fact, the energy behind our live shows adds something to the music that we have tried many times to capture in recordings. We’re more or less resigned now to this being impossible – in a similar way, I can listen to and enjoy a Hawkwind record but seeing them live actually takes me into outer space. We are looking at incorporating some visuals (video/lights) into the live show soon which is really exciting for us as well.
In total we’ve played upwards of 150 shows in the band’s lifetime so far and we’re getting busier now as we prepare for a EU/UK tour next year.
What’s the wildest thing you’ve seen or done at a live show?
As this band our ‘wildest experiences’ are pretty tame compared to those of previous incarnations of the same musicians. I’ll leave you to Google that one! Live shows for us these days are pretty straight-forward. We get up, we play as best as we can and audiences tend to really enjoy the music and atmosphere.
It’s usually after the show that we let our wild sides off the leash. Professional on stage, party animals off stage.
What kit do you use / guitars do you play / etc.?
I play a PRS custom with Dragon humbuckers. The guitar is one-of-a-kind with a HUGE history and is signed by Paul Reed Smith (actually, not one of the music store ones). I also use Blackstar amps and have endorsed RainSong graphite guitars for the last 11 years.
Finn plays Fender Precision as well as Steve Bell Ryott guitars (Steve made Finn a custom fretless which has an EMG pick up in it, similar to what Steinberger use.)
He uses Mark Bass amps, but he’s been looking at making the switch to Kemper soon.
Nikki plays Hammond and also has an amazing Korg synth.
Anna plays a Tama kit and uses a mix of cymbals from Zildjian, Sabian and Turkish.
Both backing vocalists use Boss Vocal effects pedals.
What, if anything, are you plugging/promoting at the moment?
Death & The Maiden was released through online streaming services in August but the physical product is yet to be released. The EP will come on CD with the aforementioned 40-page booklet featuring the album’s concept story as well as loads of art and photographs. Oddly (perhaps) we had to wait for the right omens and timing before we completed it. We will be announcing the release date for that soon via our social media profiles and our website. People can always sign up to our mailing list on our website (www.ebbbband.com) to hear about the release date.
What are your plans for the rest of 2019 and into 2020?
For the rest of 2019 we are writing new material for our live show. We’ll probably be filming another video and then chilling out for Yule. We’re all spending the holiday together in the band house which is always a really magical time!
Gigging starts again in January and we head off to Europe in March. Definite dates will be announced soon.
If you were second on a three-band bill, which band would you love to be supporting and which band would you choose to open for you? A chance to plug someone you’ve toured with, or a mate’s band we’ve not heard of before!
That’s a very hard question to answer! I mean…in a world where anything is possible I’m pretty sure we’d all die to support Rush. But if we have to be realistic since those guys stopped touring a year or so ago, I think we’d be up for supporting any of Maynard Keenan’s projects! (Tool, Puscifer, A Perfect Circle, etc).
We’ve had the pleasure of playing with a lot of great acts throughout the years. One of our favourites, who we recently shared the stage with, is a band called the Mind Sweepers from Dumfries. They’re this 4-piece, psychedelic jam band with brilliant songs and musicianship. And they hold their own at a party, too!
Header photo by Kersten Gruenling