After finding little inspiration in music with boring hooks, uninspiring lyrics, and over-produced “pop” songs, musicians Ken Lamken, Ben Taylor, Max Maples and Serge Ruccolo formed Beechers Fault. The band's live performances have been said to produce a “wall of sound” complemented by “raw, honest lyrics” and “pristine vocal harmonies”.
We interviewed founding members Ken and Ben about their musical trajectory and what they've learned from being in a band thus far:
What is your fondest memory associated with music?
KEN - My fondest music memory would have to be listening to albums with my older brothers. They are 7 and 14 years older than I am so with an age gap like that, music was one of the only things we all could relate to growing up. That’s what really led me to pursuing music professionally. As a musician, my fondest memories associated with music would have to be playing sold out shows in NYC and Boston.
BEN – Shortly after Beecher’s Fault released our first EP we won a battle of the bands at the Knitting Factory in Brooklyn. The place was packed and we managed to beat out 700 other bands to earn first place. That was the first moment where I thought “we can really do this”. Haven’t looked back since. Oh, and the first time I saw Radiohead live. That’s gotta be up there.
What can music do and what did it do for you?
KEN - Music helps me make sense of the world. No matter what mood I am in, I know there’s a song out there that mirrors how I am feeling.
BEN – Playing or listening to music can completely turn around a day. Sometimes the worst days end up the best if we have a good rehearsal, show, or if I hear a new record that I love.
What are you most proud of?
KEN - Beecher’s Fault.
BEN – What Ken said.
What do you regret the most?
KEN - I am a firm believer in ‘no regrets’.
BEN – Not always practicing enough as a child growing up. I wasn’t always as excited about playing instruments and singing as I am now, and I feel that if I had been I’d be a better player today.
Who are your heroes?
KEN - Musically speaking? Some of them would include Jeff Tweedy (Wilco), Jimmy Tamborello (DNTEL, Postal Service), and Dale Earnhardt Jr. Jr.
BEN – John, Paul, George and Ringo.
What lessons would you pass on to your younger self?
KEN – I would tell my younger self to doubt less.
BEN – Don’t worry so much about the future. I’m still telling my older self that too.
What was an important learning experience for you?
KEN – I learned a lot doing graphic design for an artist a few years ago. He was so particular about everything that I couldn’t stand it. If a design was, no exaggeration, one pixel off, he would notice and demand a revision. He was like that about everything and I eventually left the company out of frustration. Looking back, I grew to appreciate how great of an artist and businessman my former boss really was. I realized that there’s a very fine line between perfection and madness and if you want to strive for perfection you have to be willing to drive yourself (and sometimes others around you) a little bit crazy.
BEN – Damn, Ken. Good answer. I just learned how to answer a tough interview question!
Where would you be without music?
KEN – I’m not sure, but I know I would have to feel like I was giving back in some way. Possibly an Art Professor.
BEN – Something related to the outdoors, nature, and/or the environment.
How has music/music education positively impacted your life?
KEN – It makes me happy as a listener, learner, and a performer. The endless possibilities with music keeps me inspired and excited.
BEN – The music education I received in college was excellent and opened many doors for me. It also gave me a much deeper appreciation for the theory and history behind the music we listen to and play today.
At what point did you know you were going to dedicate your life to teaching/playing music?
KEN – I’m not sure exactly when it was, but a few years back I found myself complaining about the struggles of being a penniless musician. I thought for a while about my life and I asked myself “What else would I rather be doing?” Since then, I’ve kept that question in the forefront of my mind and I’ve stopped complaining.
BEN – Still can’t be sure that ultimately I’ll dedicate my whole life to it. But for now, it’s the only thing I want to do.
Talk about a song that changed your life forever?
KEN – Thirteen by Big Star. That song captures the feeling of youth so well. I think it is a perfect representation of just how powerful great music can be.
BEN – “Paranoid Android” by Radiohead. First time I heard it I was in my car in high school. I pulled over into a parking lot and listened to it a couple more times all the way through before driving home.
What’s your favorite song to sing in the shower?
KEN – It’s the End of the World by R.E.M. Which is tough because the only lyric I know is “Leonard Bernstein!”
BEN – I like to practice our songs in the shower, but if not then probably something by Wilco.
Why is music education important?
KEN – Music is one of the greatest things in my life because it is so rewarding. I have been very fortunate to take music classes and lessons and I feel everyone else should have that same opportunity.
BEN – Learning to play an instrument takes a lot of discipline and I think that kind of practice can be applied to a lot of things in life. Outside of that, I think music helps your EQ (emotional intelligence) to grow and develop. It really helps you get to know yourself better, which can help you take on greater challenges.
To find out more about Beechers Fault, click below: