Host Brian Erickson and Producer Matt Smith chat about their revamped, re-launched talk show, “One More with Brian Erickson,” as well as several other endeavors.
Brian Erickson is a very busy man.
He is a solo artist also with two well-liked bands, The Paper Jets and Finding Feebas. He also wears a promoter hat as producer of the monthly New Hope Takeover concert series at John & Peter’s and a media hat as co-host of the weekly “Great Albums Podcast,” writer for “You Don’t Know Jersey” and recently, host of Carousel Arts’“One More with Brian Erickson.” Whew!
I recently talked with Erickson and his producer, Matt Smith, about the revamped, re-launched show produced live 7 p.m. Mondays at Monmouth Music in Red Bank, as well as their other endeavors, including Erickson’s next New Hope Takeover on Jan. 20 with Alpha Rabbit, The Burns, Lyons, Gay Guy/Straight Guy, and Thee Idea Men.
So how did you guys get to know each other? Brian Erickson: I was a guest on “One More with Danny Coleman” last spring. The problem was that Danny was out sick, so Matt actually had to take over hosting duties. He asked me a question about relationships and networking in music, and I made an off-handed comment about never really knowing where a relationship could lead and used Matt as an example. I said something like, “I could walk out of here and one of several things could happen: we’ll never see each other again, or who knows? We might end up knowing one another for years to come.” Something to that effect. And it appears the latter is the point that stuck. Matt Smith: He was actually someone that you brought to our attention…After that, we ended up running into each other in Asbury a bunch of times. Matt, why did you want Brian to host “One More,” and what impact do you think he will have on the show? Smith: When I ended up hosting the episode he was on, I was pretty nervous since it was only the second time I was ever on air. During the moments that I was choking on my own words, he stepped in pretty seamlessly to help advance the conversation.
Fast forward to when we were looking for a new host, I started to notice how well he was able to connect and converse with just about everyone. That really caught my attention and put him in my sights for the position.
Brian, with two bands, a fairly busy solo career, a near monthly concert series, a podcast and music writing for You Don’t Know Jersey, why did you want to host “One More,” and what do you think you bring to it that wasn’t there before? Erickson: I wanted to host “One More” for the same reason that I do the monthly concerts: I like putting people in a room that might not have otherwise been there together. Brian Rothenbeck and Tara Dente — our first guests — had never met before. If they start performing together, then we’ve done our job. And if we can help these guests lend our viewers insight as to why they’re special then we’ve done our job. And I think the two-guest format accomplishes that. I liked the long-form style of Danny’s incarnation of the show quite a bit. But I’m happy to shorten it if it means that viewers get to see two great guests, and those guests can get as much by way of lasting relationships out of their experience. Matt, in addition to a new host, how is the show different since it re-launched? Smith: We’ve changed up the format almost entirely. Now we are aiming for a talk-show type format. We’ve added a couch that was donated to us by Joey Henderson and a desk with the classic microphone. But along with Brian as our new host, we’ve added Chris Dubrow of The Burns as his sidekick to add a little extra fun commentary.
What guests do you have coming and when? Erickson: Without giving away too much, in the coming weeks we’ve got Rhonette Smith from Centennials, got Kate Dressed Up, Jim Appio of CoolDad Music, Megan O’Shea from 90.5 The Night and a whole bunch more! We have an extremely unique experience we can offer prospective guests and the immediate goal is to become a mainstay in the local arts scene. We want to be Happy Mondays or Porchfest or the free shows on the Boardwalk. We want people to be as excited about joining us in studio as they are about performing at events like that. What direction would you each like the show to go, how and why? Erickson: Well, the two-guest format was something we volleyed back and forth with quite a bit and it has worked so far. Other things we’d eventually like to do are perhaps a few remote broadcasts, visits to unusual or interesting attractions — things that take us outside the studio. Smith: I’d love to see this show become a nationwide thing. “One More” is just one part of a larger project known as Carousel Arts. There are so many other great independent artists out there, and I’d love to provide a platform to not just the ones at home with us in Asbury Park but also those out across the country. Besides “One More,” what other projects and plans do you have for Carousel Arts? Smith: There are a few things that we are planning out but those are very “hush hush” right now. How did the show come to be produced in Monmouth Music in Red Bank? Smith: Our previous host, Danny Coleman, is friends with the owner and he got me and Mario DiBartolo in contact. Mario graciously let us set up, and we’ve done the past year of the show in his back room. But we do have plans on moving out soon since we are growing! Matt, who is in your crew and how did you come to work with each of them? Smith: We’ve got Michael Venezia doing all the switching in between cameras for me. Matt Nash is my floor manager and operator of Camera 1. And on Camera 3 we have Tom DeMaio. I’ve known all three of them essentially since we all were a part of the TV and Film Club at Brookdale (Community College).
Brian, what’s doing with The Paper Jets, Finding Feebas, solo stuff, Red Pants Productions and its New Hope Takeover concert series, and The Great Albums Podcast? Erickson: At the risk of sounding overly formal, I’ll offer up my answers one-by-one. The Paper Jets are slowly winding down the album-making process. Artwork is being considered, tracks are getting mixed, we’re making small touch-ups, things of that nature. That remains our top priority.
Finding Feebas just released our first single, “Tire Pressure Low.” I play bass and keys in that band; it sounds nothing like The Paper Jets and that’s exactly why I’m part of it. You never expand your palette if you keep eating the same food, you know?
The New Hope Takeover series continues humming along. We hold them every third Saturday at John & Peter’s in New Hope, Penn., from 8 p.m. to 1 a.m. We usually do five acts and like the show, the goal is to introduce bands who might not otherwise be familiar with one another.
“The Great Albums” is now in its fourth year on the air. We hit No. 1 on the iTunes charts last winter, so I’m not sure where we can go from there, but we still have thousands of people tuning in each week. It’s the one project that takes our host Bill Lambusta and I out of the local scene and lets us communicate with people from all over the world. And I can tell you that our listeners are definitely familiar with local favorites, like Lowlight or The Vaughns or Devon Moore. We still find ways to boost our community even on a slightly larger-scale program like that.
As a solo act, I’m going to continue playing out as prolifically as my schedule will allow. You’re going to see an acoustic EP this year as well. I play solo a lot, and I think that’d be a good way to tell people in the crowd, “If you like what you just saw, this is literally just that.” But don’t expect any fanfare or hype around it. It’s just going to appear one day.
Is there anything I didn’t ask on which you guys would like to comment? Erickson: I’d just like to point out the fact that we have a wonderful co-host in Chris Dubrow. So expect him to add his own commentary each week, helping move interviews along, read ads, and help us promote whatever local events are happening that week. Chris is a great guy with an equally busy schedule who found his way onto the show, and we’re thrilled to have him on board!