By: Sandsha Andreyev
March 24th, 2016
SA: Thanks again for taking the time to meet. I know you’re on a busy schedule, so I really appreciate you taking the time to do this. So what were some of your biggest influences musically? The music you play is a really interesting blend of, kind of different and distinct elements. What led to that fusion happening?
Reuben: Well we could all answer that differently. Artists that we all like tend to be stuff like Michael Jackson, Stevie Wonder, Jay Pharrell. A lot of jazz stuff, Snarky Puppy. They’ve got that fusion influence too. It’s all different stuff we’ve all listened to over the years. Personally, I like a lot of jazz and fusion, but I also like electronic music and rock stuff so it’s kind of all over the board.
SA: Is there a type of music that, as a consensus, the band doesn’t enjoy as much, or a type of music that you think wouldn’t work at all if you incorporate it into the band’s current element?
Reuben: We’re pretty open to a lot of different things. We try not to categorize it too much as far as the genre that we play. There’s stuff that’s kind of metal and stuff that’s soft. Too.
SA: I read on the website that two of the members met at a camp and that was how the band started. How did everyone else get tacked on?
Reuben: Smiley and Max, our keyboard and guitar player, met at this Jewish sleepaway camp and they’ve been playing music there for 7 or 8 years and went to IU. All of us went to IU and that’s where we formed the band. We had a different singer and bass player. Rob’s actually our 8th bass player that we’ve had.
Reuben: Who’s counting?
SA: Rob’s counting. Rob’s going 9th and final.
Rob: That’s the plan.
Reuben: We kill them after a year.
Rob: sacrifice them.
Reuben: No so, we started at Indiana University and that’s where the band formed.
SA: So you guys must be really excited about March Madness then?
Smiley: Hell yeah!
Reuben: Um yeah. Our singer is huge into it – huge into basketball.
SA: I read that the band had won the International Blues and Jazz competition in Macau? How was traveling to China? How was competing?
Reuben: That was awesome. It was a really cool experience. It was cool to go to China and play music. The people were real receptive of it. We didn’t know what people would think because no one had seen us, obviously, when you go to new places like that and have people really respond to that and enjoy it. It was really cool. And then to actually win the whole thing was awesome. We used the money to pay for our album that we were recording and buy a van and that’s when we started hitting the road and touring. Right when we were just coming out of college so we obviously had no money at all. It helped us get on our feet.
SA: Did you travel anywhere else in China?
Reuben: We went to Hong Kong, but that’s just 45 minutes on the boat. But other than that, it was just Macau. And the next year they actually invited us back to perform again as last year’s winner so we got to go again. We met a lot of really cool bands from all over because they had bands from all over the world. A couple of other bands from the States that we’ve stayed in contact with and we see them around.
SA: Were there any other local Chinese bands?
Reuben: There were a lot of bands from the Philippines and Indonesia. They both have really good music scenes. It was cool.
SA: So what’s been the most rewarding experience as a band so far?
Reuben: Rob you want to answer? He’s only been in the band for 3 months.
Rob: Being at IU with all of them and see their growth and not even been in the band. They did a lot of stuff in the Midwest. For me, personally, to see how far they’ve come and just to be able to finally be onboard and share that experience with them is great.
Reuben: Traveling the country and world and playing original music. That’s been a dream of mine.
SA: How long has the band been together?
Reuben: We started in 2009. Six years (ish). It’s been great. It’s awesome.
Rob: I’m in California now. Just moved out there in January – trying to start a whole new chapter.
Reuben: We were here the past three years and moved out to Cali in January?
SA: What motivated the move?
Reuben: We did our last album there and when we did that we met a lot of people in the industry and we liked the scene out there. There’s a lot more opportunities
business wise that we can take advantage of. The weather is a lot more awesome. It’s way easier to work on music every day and go to each other’s houses and be able to be productive. When we went out there, we recorded the new album in a month. So it kind of jump-started our creativity and there’s definitely a cool, creative vibe out there and it helped to be around that.
SA: So since you moved to California is there a particular musician or band that you’d like to collaborate with in the future?
Rob: There’s a lot of talent and great producers out in Los Angeles. It won’t be hard to find somebody to collab with.
SA: Is there someone specifically you want to collab with?
Smiley: Anderson Pack.
Reuben: Anderson Pack, yeah, he’s great. There’s a lot of guys. Rick Reuben could be a good producer for us. He produced the Chili Peppers.
Rob: Mark Ronson for sure.
Smiley: For sure. So many people.
SA: Is there any particular venues or festivals that you would go back to if the chance came up? I saw you did the Super Bowl Pre-Show
Reuben: Yeah we did the Super Bowl Pre-Show. That was cool. Festivals are always fun like in the summer. Bonnaroo was a highlight.
SA: Do you have any advice for aspiring musicians?
Reuben: It’s the ones that don’t give up that make it. The music industry is so hard to make it in and there’s so much competition. It can be really frustrating, but if you just keep going. A lot of times these bands that you think are a new band have been a band for 15 years and they just started to break through and see some success. So persevere and keep going. That’s what I would say.
Seamlessly blending funk, soul and rock ‘n’ roll, The Main Squeeze promises to keep your body moving with their infectious, feel-good musical gumbo. The Chicago-based band has been winning fans over with their unique musical blend since their formation a few years ago.
Ben “Smiley” Silverstein (keys) and Max Newman (guitar), the two founding members of The Main Squeeze, first began writing music together after meeting at a sleepaway camp in upstate New York. The two then went on to study in Bloomington, Indiana, where they formed The Main Squeeze during the summer of 2010. Now based in Chicago, The Main Squeeze is completed by frontman Corey Frye, drummer Reuben Gingrich and bassist Rob Walker.
In the five years since the band’s inception, The Main Squeeze has attracted a remarkably loyal and ever growing national fan base. The rabid following is no surprise as the band boasts a unique sound that is equal parts soul, funk and rock ‘n’ roll – think Stevie Wonder meets Red Hot Chili Peppers. Further, their high-energy live shows that showcase each member’s virtuosic talent — with soulful vocals, intricate jams, tight grooves and powerful solos — always leave their audiences awestruck.
The Main Squeeze has released two albums – an EP entitled First Drops and a self-titled sophomore effort that met with great acclaim. In addition, the band placed first at the International Jazz and Blues Competition in Macau, China, put their stamp on the Rolling Stone Super Bowl XLVI Pre-Party and graced the stages at some of the country’s biggest music festivals, including Bonnaroo, High Sierra, Electric Forest, North Coast, Phases of the Moon, Summer Camp and Gathering of The Vibes, among many others.
Having shared the stage with artists like The Roots, Jane’s Addiction, The Meters, Aloe Blacc and Trombone Shorty, the band continues to catch the ear of industry giants, like legendary producer, Randy Jackson, who was the producer on The Main Squeeze’s upcoming sophomore full length album, Mind Your Head, due out in September 2015.
Vocals/ Corey Frye
Guitar / Max Newman
Keyboards / Ben “Smiley” Silverstein
Bass / Rob Walker
Drums / Reuben Gingrich