Interview: Eric Schackne

Erica Batchelor is schack-ing up with hammers and strings…

Pop-rock newcomer Eric Schackne infiltrates the music scene with a new style of rockin’ piano riffs. With a voice similar to Brendon Urie (Panic at the Disco) and savvy piano melodies (Jack’s Mannequin-esque), Eric exposes a multifaceted approach to pop-rock. He is responsible for writing, singing and producing every song on his EP titled Hammers and Strings, and he’s here to show the world just how talented he truly is.

After just one listen through this EP, there is no doubt in my mind it’s radiating talent. The melodies seem to come as second nature as they guide you through this enjoying experience. “Loud and Clear” encompasses everything you would expect from a pop song and is a clear cut radio hit.

The piano style adds a skillful flair that complements his vocals perfectly. Eric Schackne is a noteworthy upcoming artist who deserves your full attention and I was lucky enough to speak with him about his roots and what is in store for him in the future…

Pop-Break: As a brand new artist on the scene, how would you describe your style of music to potential listeners?

Eric Schackne: Ya know…”good” music. I do like to play the piano pretty hard and I tend to create pop rock with a punk rock influence. Like maybe if Ben Folds, Dashboard Confessional, Fall Out Boy and Panic at the Disco are having a musical four-way.
 
PB: I’ve noticed you have a very eclectic background of interests other than just music. What encouraged you to dedicate yourself to your music full-time after receiving a degree in psychology from the University of Florida?

ES: I had been a writer for a long time and had even started out writing grunge-y emo music in high school. By the end of college, I had started writing songs that I thought could be good enough to be on the radio and I was also doing a lot of improv comedy (teaching for the last year of school). I decided against a few other US cities when I moved to LA.

PB: You are very musically talented both vocally and instrumentally; did you have any professional training?

ES: Thanks so much! Instrumentally, I started piano lessons when I was five and decided to stop in high school. Being in band for five years kept me learning and playing, though I eventually stopped and learned guitar and drums on my own. Vocally, I never had any formal training. I was in an a capella group in college, initially being brought on as a vocal percussionist (beat boxer) funny enough. Eventually I made my way to singing in the group too, developing my voice more.

PB: What musical artists were you inspired by growing up?

ES: The first concert I ever went to was Billy Joel. The second was Crosby Stills Nash and Young. And I distinctly remember going to roller rinks when I was a kid and requesting MC Hammer’s “Can’t Touch This” because I listened to old music and show tunes. This was before I’d ever been to a punk show or anything. Mainly though, I draw a lot of inspiration from pop-punk-y bands like Starting Line, Something Corporate, and Dashboard Confessional.

PB: Is it safe to say your EP is inspired by true events in your life? 

ES: My writing is very personal and not terribly metaphorical at times, haha.  You can pretty much see what my romantic life has been like for the year prior to my records releases.

PB: What are five things you absolutely can not live without?

ES: Dangerous question here because you’d expect me to say water, food and air like a sucker…but I’m no sucker.  I’m not falling for that…
Here’s a list anyhow:
Loved Ones
Music of some sort
Humor
A comfortable place to sleep
Water, food and air

PB: Do you have a motto or phrase you live by?

ES: If it’s yellow, let it mellow.

PB: What are some of your loves other than music?

ES: I love creating different kinds of art. I’ve studied, performed and taught improv comedy for about seven years. I also have a bunch of pieces I’ve painted and have up in my apartment. One day I’d love to have it up in an exhibit at a show. I also love to cook. Specifically, I am into creating brand new dishes I’d never heard of yet.

PB: What image do you want to portray to your listeners according to your music style?

ES: I like to say that my music is serious but I am not. I’m the guy that will make you laugh with a pun and then sing you a candid and sincere song about heartbreak.

PB: What can we expect to hear from you in the future?

ES: Well, for a while I’ve been supporting my latest release, Hammers & Strings EP. I’ve already finished writing a new acoustic EP, and will have recording sessions start next month. I also have another big idea or two up my sleeve for awesome LA shows before the end of the year. As far as vague descriptions of new projects go, this one is gonna be big one.

Founded in September 2009, The Pop Break is a digital pop culture magazine that covers film, music, television, video games, books and comics books and professional wrestling.