Into A Ball – Six Crucial Musical Questions For The Booklights

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If you’re looking to turn the page to new people, you’ll be happy to take a look at The Booklights.

We certainly did.

We sat down on a summer day in New York City and enjoyed the group’s warm vocals and constant string play, which showcased the talents of Rob morrison (singer-songwriter, second from left), Lauren Molina (cello, second from right), Rachel Green (violin) and Benny Elledge (percussion).

The group’s new EP In a ball is out now and each of the five songs, including a cover of Velvet Underground, is sweet and tangy and imbued with the confident spirit of the American border.

We speak with the group below.

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BANDAGED: Reading lights

MEMBERS:

  • Rob morrison (songwriter, vocals, guitar, mandolin)
  • Lauren Molina (cello, choirs)
  • Rachel Green (violin, choirs)
  • Benny Elledge (percussions, choirs)

HOMETOWN: New York City

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1. What is your earliest musical memory?

Rob Morrison (RM) – I was probably about six years old and I was watching California Raisins (the stop-motion “claymation” series). There was a super cool raisin playing the saxophone and wearing sunglasses, and I was like, “I wanna be that guy.” The alto saxophone ended up being the first instrument I learned to play.

Lauren Molina (LM) – I remember watching my dad practice bass in the living room when I was probably 2 years old.

Rachel Green (RG) – I was about 3 1/2 and was learning the Suzuki method on the violin. He began by holding a ruler stuck to a cigar box.

Benny Elledge (BE) – I was probably going to rehearsals with my dad. He was a drummer and played for local college productions and in variety groups and stuff like that. I loved sitting down and watching him play.

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2. What was your most embarrassing musical moment?

RM – I was an understudy in a musical, and I continued through the second act of a performance; all I had to do was a fairly short scene, but I completely slaughtered my lines and the scene ended early with everyone trying to make their way through it.

LM – I’m singing and dancing to the musical Desperate measures, I slipped and fell like I was a cartoon sliding on a banana peel and kept singing. I just kicked my legs up to keep the music and the energy going.

RG – Maybe the time we did a show on 4/20… so there were a lot of 420s… I spaced out the notes of the song for about 15 seconds, but it felt like 5 minutes! Fortunately, from years of playing in orchestras, knowing chord structures and (occasionally) pretending, I was able to get by and no one knew!

TO BE – Haha. Fortunately, I didn’t have too many. Once a guitarist yelled at me on stage while I was playing the saxophone, he yelled “You’re flat !!” Also once, during the encore of a musical I was playing in, I fell down the central staircase of the set. Whoops !

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3. What do you like and dislike about touring?

RM – I love seeing the country through the tours and talking with new people after each show who love music. The Booklights haven’t toured yet, but I’ve toured a lot with my other band, The Hollows, and these experiences have been amazing. The downside can certainly be homesickness (I get this often the first few days) and the lack of privacy. And you can’t let someone dominate the DJ position in the car too much …

LM – I like to explore new places. I don’t like when the only option is fast food.

RG – I like the element of surprise, of not knowing what to expect – the environment, the audience, the experiences… being able to share your art with so many people. Touring can be exhausting too – travel, crappy accommodation, lack of sleep.

TO BE – It’s super fun to see and discover different cities, countries and places and get paid to travel. This part is the best. But the schedule is always exhausting. And you’ve been away from home for so long and you miss so much in life (weddings, funerals, birthdays, etc…) So that’s cool, but there is definitely a trade-off.

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4. What is your favorite record store anywhere in the world?

RM – When I lived in Boston there was an amazing record store on Boylston Street called Looney Tunes. It has since broken down, unfortunately. Walking into this store was like stepping into a time machine. I bought so many great vintage records there; one of the most influential for me has been Big Pink music by the band.

LM – I love Amoeba Records.

RG – I loved Newbury Comics when I lived in Boston.

TO BE – The Electric Fetus – Minneapolis, MN.

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5. Besides your own music, what is your favorite song or album of all time? Why?

RM – It’s so difficult to choose just one album! I have three desert island disks: In the rainbows by Radiohead (the sound textures are beautiful, and the songwriting is cutting edge), Time (The Revealer) by Gillian Welch (the perfect Angular Americana album), and The third by Soft Machine (absolutely breathtaking jazz-rock that rewards repeated listening … and I’m probably about my 300th …)

LM – Radiohead Child A. It’s perfect. The atmosphere, the ambiance, the soundscape, it makes me feel a way.

RG – Oh wow. It’s hard. If I think about what I listened to the most, it’s probably a connection between Lauryn Hill’s poor education, Faith, and Songs in the Key of Life.

TO BE – Ooooh boy…. It’s hard. I don’t know if I could do an album… but the song would probably be “Channel One Suite” by the Sands’ Buddy Rich Band-Live. It’s a 12 minute big band song that features some of the craziest drum and horn plays I’ve ever heard. It is really an experience to listen to the whole track.

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6. You wake up in a dingy Berlin hotel room with no memory of the past 96 hours. Who is your first call?

RM – Hmmm… well, if Lauren (cellist in the Booklights and my partner) wasn’t already with me in said seedy hotel room, she would be my first call.

LM – My amazing friend Lev who lives in Berlin and would be there to pick me up.

RG – Hahaha, probably my friend Shannon.

TO BE – Probably my 20-plus-year-old friend Taylor. We went through pretty much everything together, so there would be no judgments. Besides, if that was the case, I would probably like to know which Berlin prison he was in… haha. The second call would probably be a food delivery cause… 96 hours ??? Daaang.

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Introductory image courtesy of The Booklights and photographer Shervin Lainez


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