Questions by Nicholas Stock
The Main Squeeze is a band on the rise. With international acclaim and a packed tour schedule, this band is going from opener to headliner quickly. The Main Squeeze has bounced around the country in search of an inviting market before finally settling on the West Coast. Their music defies categorization, but is utterly approachable and inviting. They’ve even caught the attention of famed producer Randy Jackson who took them under his wing on their latest album. The band consists of Ben “Smiley” Silverstein on keys, Max Newman on guitar, Cory Frye on vocals, Rob Walker on bass and Reuben Gingrich on drums. Together they are a powerful force on today’s musical landscape. We caught up with keyboardist Ben and Corey to discuss their upcoming show at The Mishawaka and their newfound fame in China. With an upcoming summer tour and a new album in the works, there was a lot to discuss.
- Originally The Main Squeeze was labeled a jam/party band. After ten years on the road are you moving away from that label?
CF: Nowadays we say that we are a Rock band, but it’s always gonna get a lil funky with a pinch of soul, lol.
- You have a show coming opening up the 2019 Summer Season at the famed Mishawaka Amphitheater that is being billed as an Arise Pre-Party. Are you excited?
CF: It’s always exciting to play the Mish, it’s a beautiful venue. It’s gonna be great to come out and get the everyone amped up about Arise!
- You’ve shared the stage with a number of unlikely bands including The Roots, Jane’s Addiction, and Umphrey’s McGee. How is The Main Squeeze different from other bands touring today?
CF: We’ve been very fortunate to share the stage with some amazing bands. Our music is for everyone doesn’t matter what your taste is there will be something you can latch on to at a Squeeze show.
- The last two years you’ve had the opportunity to play at Red Rocks with both Umphrey’s McGee and The String Cheese Incident. What has it been like playing on such a big stage to a wider audience?
CF: There’s really nothing that compares to playing at Red Rocks. The moment you step foot into that place there is just this undeniable energy that wraps around you. Everyone needs to experience a sold out Red Rocks show!
- It’s been said that your music is “…a melting pot of funk, soul, rock, and R&B” how did your sound develop over time?
CF: When we first came together at Indiana University, we didn’t have original songs. So we started out playing all the songs we grew up loving as kids. As eclectic as we are as individuals, our cover choices were very much a reflection of that. We played everything from Michael Jackson, Stevie Wonder, Marvin Gaye, to Jimi Hendrix, the Beatles, The Grateful Dead, Allman Brothers to Dr Dre, Jay-Z, Tribe Called Quest, Kanye… I mean we played it all. It helped us a lot because it allowed us to be versatile when we were playing different places on campus and play to our audience. When we started creating our own original music, it became a fusion the music we loved and we were fortunate to be able to share that music through a scene that embraced us and has allowed us to continually grow.
- What is the Neo-Jam Movement and is The Main Squeeze a part of it?
CF: If this is some combination of soulquarians and rock music then 110% yes
- Yo Dawg, what’s it like to collaborate with Randy Jackson?
BS: It was a pretty amazing experience collaborating with Randy. After flying to Indiana to see us play at the Bluebird in Bloomington, he invited us to record a full album with him at two of the nicest studios in LA (Henson studios and NRG). When we were recording at Henson we recorded in the same room that “We are the World” was recorded, and Daft Punk was working on Random Access Memories in the studio next door while we were working on Mind your Head. We learned a lot from Randy that we continue to utilize today as we are working on our new album.
- You moved from Indiana to Chicago To Los Angeles, why?
BS: We started out in Bloomington Indiana and lived there for about 3 years. All of us went to college there and we were ready to move on to a bigger city but we really wanted to stay in the Midwest so Chicago was the best option for that. After 3 years of living in Chicago we were ready for a slightly warmer climate and wanted to focus on our studio sound so LA was the best choice for that, and we had just been introduced to the LA scene through Randy so it was a great transition.
- Your new release “Fancy Clothes” is a 70’s-esque throwback dance tune but is also a commentary on life in L.A. How has the living on the West Coast changed your sound?
BS: Living in LA has changed our sound mostly by allowing us to collaborate with different producers and songwriters out here. There is so many talented creatives that live in LA and it’s been awesome to see what comes out of collaborating with producers that come from different genres.
- What was it like performing your music in China?
BS: Performing in China was a real trip. They had never seen anything like us before and it was such a cool experience to perform for a crowd that was so amazed by what we were doing. We were only 2 years old as a band when we first went over there for the battle of the bands and it was a crazy scenario to be so far from home performing our music to a crowd that didn’t speak our same language.
- With a slew of festival dates and a relentless touring schedule, how do you keep the music and collaborations fresh with your bandmates?
BS: We try to keep the live shows as fresh as possible by switching up the set lists and the way we perform certain songs that have been in our repertoire since 2012. When we’re home, it’s always nice to work with different people to keep the energy in the room fresh and hear a different perspective other than the guys in the band.
- You have plans for a new LP to be released in 2019, care to tell us anything about it?
BS: We’re actually working on it right now and it will be released sometime in the fall leading up to a big fall tour around the US. We’ll release the first single from the album sometime in the next month or two so be on the lookout. We’re all really excited about how it’s starting to turn out so far!