By: Jacob Elyachar, jakes-take.com
It is a privilege to welcome Practically Einstein to Jake’s Take!
Brad “Radish” Pugh, Robert “France” Kucynski, Jersey Phil Saraceno and Mark “The General” Kuczysnki comprise this Arlington, Virginia-based band.
The band has been quite busy this year! They recently released their latest EP: Love + Hate onto iTunes and ventured to Europe, where they performed in Finland and Denmark. The group also debuted Love + Hate at Washington D.C.’s Rock & Roll Hotel!
In this edition of The Five Question Challenge, the band talked about their European tour and the main challenge that they faced while recording their latest EP.
Jacob Elyachar: Could you please share Practically Einstein’s origin story with my readers?
Brad Pugh: Practically Einstein was originally formed at the end of the previous century (late 1990s!). I put an ad out in DC to find some band members to get something started (the ad referenced Wilco and Buffalo Tom, and though neither of the two future members had heard of those bands, they answered the ad nevertheless.) A trio was formed, and was originally named “Slowpoke”, and consisted of an ex-preppy (Brad), a relocated New Orleans Catholic looking for fame and fortune (Paul) and a gay manic-depressive songwriting drummer (Dave).
The three did not always click personality-wise, but the music came more easily, and they began practicing and writing songs pretty much immediately. Brad met Rob a few years later at a drunken bar gig, when Rob asked to sit in for a song, which they somehow were able to function through. Rob was soon thereafter asked to join the band as a fourth, based partially on guitar skills, and partially on drinking skills. I still front the band, with Rob on guitar, but the original two-thirds have parted ways with PE.
JE: Let’s talk about your latest EP: “Love + Hate.” What were the challenges that the band faced during this EP? How did you overcome it?
Robert Kucynski: We overcame our challenges with a credit card! We opted not to do crowd funding and we financed the recording ourselves, which was the biggest challenge.
JE: Recently, the band traveled to Finland to perform. What were some of the similarities & differences between performing your Finnish & American fans?
Jersey Phil Saraceno: Finnish audiences tend to be quieter and much more attentive than Americans, who tend to talk a lot more during shows. Though…they were not always as inclined to actually CLAP in Finland. But they would watch and listen intently, which we really appreciated. But, sometimes there was an eerie silence in between songs, but yet everyone was definitely engaged with the performance, and we got great feedback. Interesting though…after some of the alcohol started to take hold, the crowd definitely got noisier and bar glasses were breaking all over the place. We have never seen so many flying shards of glass. The energy really built throughout the show, so we took the broken glass to be a positive!
JE: How has social media helped the band grow its online presence?
Mark Kuczysnki: It is certainly amazing to be able to connect with fans in a matter of seconds, with an electronic device that is usually right at your fingertips. Though it’s much harder now to cut through the clatter, as people seem to be pretty much bombarded with messages and media from all angles. We have found that pictures work the best to build interactions…so we are trying to do more of that.
JE: If you had the chance to meet with aspiring bands who want to have a career in the music industry, what advice would you share with them?
BP: Well for one, make sure you are pursuing music primarily for the sheer love of it. If you are chasing celebrity riches, you could be setting yourself up for disappointment. Even if you are fortunate to grasp the golden chalice of success, it could be fleeting. So knowing that the music business is just that: a business, it could help you to go in with a better business model and structure for success. The changing landscape of the modern music industry and music technology has left us with fewer true superstars, but with more ways of creatively pursuing a career in music. Also, a little luck never hurts, but the more work you put in, the more likely luck will come your way!
To learn more about Practically Einstein, visit their website!