The Spill Canvas/Toxic Shock interview at The Fillmore at Irving Plaza, June 11, 2008
Toxic Shock: Hello, this is Karen Benardello from Toxic Shock, and I’m here with Joe Beck, the drummer from the rock-emo group The Spill Canvas, at The Fillmore at Irving Plaza in New York City. So Joe, why did you decide to join a band?
Joe Beck: It’s kind of been a dream since I was kid, to play music. Obviously, when kids join bands in high school and middle school, they don’t even think it’s going to become anything. But it kept becoming more serious, and here we are today.
TS: Who were some of your musical influences growing up?
JB: I’ve listened to tons of different music over the years, whether it be Fleetwood Mac; Blink-182, who I was a huge fan of; Jimmy Eat World; Saves the Day. But we also listened to country, like Nickel Creek, Alison Krauss. We’re just huge fans of all different kinds of music.
TS: I didn’t really expect that one, it’s pretty interesting. How did you make it in the music industry?
JB: Basically, we just left from our town in South Dakota and started touring. We got picked up by a record label. We’ve just been working hard and touring the past five years. It’s just been a long process.
TS: What do you hope your listeners and the audiences who attend your concerts take away from your music? Do you think that they can relate to your music?
JB: We’ve always built our music around honesty and being completely real and upfront with everything. Also, at the same time, we’re on the same level as our fans. We go out and meet our fans after the shows. We also host these bowling parties the night before our shows. It’s just another way to connect to our fans. We feel that our music connects, and we can connect to people, too.
TS: Is it one of your dreams to make it, and play, here in New York?
JB: We love New York. We’ve been playing here for a long time now, and this is one of our favorite venues in the country. So we’re honored to have a bunch of kids come out-it’s awesome.
TS: How does it feel to go from opening up for other bands to headlining your own tour and having other groups open for you?
JB: It’s very cool. It’s been cool to watch it happen over the years. Obviously when you start, you’re all by yourselves, and then you’re picked up to pen for these tours. We’re fortunate enough to have enough fans that we can headline it. It’s a process, but it’s been a fun one.
TS: How did you meet the other members of the band?
JB: The other three guys grew up together, and kind of knew each other in elementary school and middle school. Dan Ludeman (the group’s guitarist) and I were in a group together in high school for about three years. It took a few years for all of us to get together, and here we are.
TS: So, you all knew each other before-it wasn’t like you were thrown together. Is it easy to relate to each other then?
JB: Yes, definitely.
TS: What kind of advice do you have for struggling artists who want to tour on their own one day?
JB: First of all, you can’t give up-it takes a lot of work and perseverance. It’s going to be hard, and you’ll meet a lot of obstacles, but if you feel passionate about it, and into it, give it 110 percent.
TS: How do you come up with your music and lyrics?
JB: About 90 percent of the lyrics are autobiographical from Nick’s (Thomas, the group’s lead singer, guitarist and songwriter) standpoint, and the other ten percent are fictional. As for as the music, it takes time to write. It’s a very fun and natural process, and we sort of let it find us.
TS: Do you have anything else you want to say to your fans?
JB: If you don’t already have the album, go get it, and come see us at the shows.
By Karen Benardello