Interview: Echo Courts


Echo Courts are a North Carolina quartet who caught our ears with their wonderful release, Ice Cream Social. Today, we’re stoked to welcome them back to The Grey Estates in the form of a fun and informative interview from contributor Dan E Brown.

Dan: Give us a little history of Echo Courts. How did the band come to form and what made you decide that you wanted to start playing music together?

Echo Courts: Well Jacob and I (Kelly) met through his other band playing on my former radio show when I was in college. We started hanging out through mutual friends and I always loved his songwriting so I figured I’d show him some stuff that I was working on. We started by just recording one track at a time and overdubbing everything on this 16-track recorder and eventually had a modest collection of tracks that we felt needed to be released.

It was all sort of haphazard, recording at very odd times of night in various bedrooms, whoever had mics or drums or guitars, we would go there, but it was really fun. We had a few different variations of the band before we settled on this one, but Chris our bass player is an old friend of mine from High School so he was a logical choice to join in from the start

Dan: So when you formed was there any concept behind the band? Things you wanted to achieve, people you wanted to emulate, or was it just an envoy for the collections of songs you both had?

Echo Courts: All of our songs on the first EP were very light-hearted and summery on the surface, but had a lot of melancholy and despondent themes. That definitely came from countless hours of talking about and listening to Girls when we first started.

But in terms of things I wanted to achieve I really don’t know back then. I was happy with just playing shows in town with my friends. I was only 20 and didn’t really take it too seriously but lately we’ve really put in a lot of work, which has made us want to achieve more and more if that makes sense

Dan: If you’re not playing live, recording or just being in a band, what are you guys normally up to?

Echo Courts: Zack (our drummer) and I valet park cars, it’s pretty miserable and cold but it’s laid back and you have to make money somehow. Chris lives in Chapel Hill and goes to UNC and Jacob bar tends and is literally nocturnal haha. But for fun I personally watch a ridiculous amount of King Of The Hill, and I like to cook a lot.

Dan: Favorite pizza topping?

Echo Courts: Jacob likes banana peppers and sausage I think? Or maybe hamburger meat? Zack likes BBQ chicken as a toping. I like just cheese. When I moved to North Carolina I learned the practice of covering cheese pizza in hot sauce and dipping it in ranch dressing so I really haven’t looked back since then.

Dan: So, if Echo Courts were a person at a party, what type of person would they be?

Echo Courts: That’s a great question. We’re all so different, I really don’t know how we’re even friends. Give me just a moment to answer this correctly. We would be the guy that’s way too drunk begging whoever is playing the music to put on “Dancing in the Dark” by Bruce Springsteen, while our friends embarrassingly pretended like they didn’t know us. Or Cowboy Song by Thin Lizzy

Dan: If you were to go into a record store, what genre section would you head to first?

Echo Courts: Dollar records for sure…A. I’m broke and B. Nothing better than finding a sweet old record for a buck. If I have money though I like going to the new records though so I can support folks that are making music now and stay current on new stuff

Dan: So, lets talk about the songwriting on Ice Cream Social for a bit. You talk how a lot of the songs were a collaboration of both yours and Jacobs. What’s the thing that gives you the most inspiration for songwriting?

Echo Courts: Well first off, just so you can know, Mary, I’ve Been Down and Transient Pleasures are songs that I wrote mostly and sing, and Fast Ellie, Pistol and Candy Nova are Jacob’s. He has a kind of stream of conscious style that amazes me, doesn’t write out lyrics and changes them a lot. A lot of his stuff seems to come from scribbles in notebooks and stuff that he pieces together. I usually write everything on guitar first and the lyrics come way after, from things that have happened to me or my friends. A lot of them are made up stories and things that have never even really happened to me or I elaborate on a feeling that I have about someone or something. Lyrics seem really final to me so I wait a long time to finally commit to them then I never change them, just because I feel connected to the after that.

Dan: What were your top three favorite releases of last year?

Echo Courts: Oh man. So many awesome releases. Can I do friend’s bands and not friend’s bands? Ok, not friends bands Foxygen - ‘…And Star Power, Alvvays - ‘Alvvays’ and Angel Olsen - ‘Burn Your Fire for No Witness.’ Friend’s bands, Ameriglow- ‘Heavy Heaven for Robby’ (Jacob’s other band), Black Santa – ‘Sorry If This Is Weird’ and Native America (band we’ve played with a few times from New Orleans) – ‘Grown Up Wrong.’

Dan: Give us a fun fact about yourselves?

Echo Courts: Me (Kelly) Zack and Jacob all work construction together now.

Dan: In light of your EP title, what ice cream flavor best describes Echo Courts?

Echo Courts: Mint Chocolate Chip. Not for any reason that’s just my favorite one so I think that’s what I’d choose

Also you need all flavors to be an ice cream social, but it’s not a party without mint chocolate chip