Ari Herstand: Live At The Pause DVD/CD Release, 02/26/10 at the Fine Line
Editors Note: Ari Herstand, a soft-spoken veteran within the local music scene with a look reminiscent to that of Bob Dylan, met up with Borangutan one evening to talk about his experiences in the music scene as well as the exciting release of his first DVD/CD collection premiering one of his latest music videos, “Rose Stained Red.” The following interview has been edited for clarity.
Ari Herstand: I’d say some of my earliest influences are probably The Dave Matthews Band…. That was a band that I was nearly obsessed with during middle and high school. They probably inspired my acoustic guitar playing the most. There’s also this folk artist out of Canada, Bruce Cockburn, that’s been around for a long time. He’s not very well known, but a big influence. I enjoy Cat Stevens a lot and got into him a bit later, a lot of people will compare me to artists that I’m either not a fan of or know of (laughs), it’s fine because then I’ll go get into that, research their albums and find out that I like them a lot, so I end up being turned on to other artists that I like.
“Last Day” by: Ari Herstand
Schwaz: You have a seamless timing in your looping process onstage, and it makes for a powerful live performance. How would you describe some of the differences between the processes of looping versus performing with band members, in terms to the experience of your music?
Ari: They’re different experiences and I really enjoy both setups. Each show, whether it’s a full band show or a solo show, are unique in their own respect, they have different elements. When I’m solo, it’s just me, one hundred percent of the show, and that kind of has challenges in itself. I’m much more of a communicator with the audience, and I engage the crowd in a more intimate fashion than when I perform with a band. When I perform with a band there is more of a musical chemistry, or chemistry with each player on stage. I love playing with a band and every chance I get I do that. Most of my performances are solo, primarily for financial reasons, I have to hire my band for every show. I can’t afford to hire my band for every show, but I LOVE performing with them. In the future I’d like to perform with them every night of the week. I’ve very recently started combining looping with playing with my band. I initially got into looping to compensate for not having a band with me, for the purpose of achieving a full sound. Only the last couple of years have I really started to embrace looping as a part of the live show, and now it’s almost like another instrument.
Ari: Hmm….. probably, Desire.
Ari: I opened up for Ben Folds once, and that was kind of a surreal experience for me because I’ve been looking up to him for so many years, and he was kind of one of my musical idols. I think our styles blend very well together and are conducive to the crowd…. That crowd was the biggest crowd I’d ever performed in front of, and I remember being backstage as the lights turned on and over three thousand people started screaming. I walk onto the stage and they’re still screaming and I’m not Ben Folds (laughs)…. that was pretty cool! I got a chance to meet and talk with him after the show and it was just great. That was a really amazing experience for me.
Schwaz: Some of your recent successes have been performing at the SXSW music festival in Austin, Texas, as well as having your songs played as a score for the reality show, The Real World. Are there any additional festivals or other creative avenues you’d like to perform at or collaborate with in the future?
Ari: Licensing for TV is definitely an avenue that I’m really trying to get into a lot more, and this past Monday, February 22nd, one of my songs, titled “Last Day,” was featured on One Tree Hill. Hopefully more will follow, because that’s a very powerful outreach tool, being the background music for a show that a lot of people are tuned in to. One Tree Hill in particular is a show where people tend to seek out the music in particular, they show the music credits at the end of each episode, and have an entire website specifically dedicated to the music in the episodes. That’s definitely something that this year I intend to focus on, and try to get more of my music placed on shows and movies. I also want to tour a lot more heavily this year than before. I’ve played a ton of colleges and that’s OK, it pays the bills, but I think this year I’m going to try to be an opener band for a lot more and bigger acts, hopefully have a national tour with a national artist.
Schwaz: Your new DVD/CD collection, titled Live At The Pause, coming out on February 26th is an exciting event in your career. How would you describe the creative process that went into the completion of this collection of work?
Ari: It’s a package of a CD and DVD, and the CD is of my solo looping show that was recorded at Saint Olaf’s College last year. I wanted to capture a solo live show of everything that embodied what my solo show entailed. I wanted to capture it in a kind of video form, because over the years I’ve realized that people really latched on to my solo looping show and that it was one of the things that set me apart from everyone else. Even though that wasn’t my intention for getting into looping, that’s what it turned into, latching on to my solo looping show and telling their friends, “Hey, you should check out this artist,” initially because it’s such a cool live experience. On the DVD is the full concert, and there are a couple music videos on there, my first music videos ever. One of them, “Float On By,” is this super indie, low-fi video where a friend of mine follows me around with a camera in New York City (laughter), while for “Rose Stained Red”, this is actually the premiere for it’s video, which was a bigger production, with a director and all that, filmed mainly in Minneapolis.
Schwaz: Last, but not least, is the obligatory silly question: What kind of animal would you be and why?
Ari: An animal? (laughs) Well, my name ‘Ari’ means ‘Lion’… I don’t think I would be the ‘King of the Jungle’ though. Probably a monkey (laughs) because I tend to goof around a lot, and I think you never take a monkey too seriously…so that’s my animal!
Ari Herstand will release Live At The Pause this Friday evening at The Fine Line Music Cafe. Music starts at 8PM. Tickets are $7 for 21+ and $10 for 18+.
posted February 24th, 2010 at 12:36 am Interviews