Interview with Jesse Cash and Alex Ballew of ERRA
By: Jason Gillis
SPR: This is Jason here for Southeast Pit Report and I’m here with Jesse (Cash) (guitars, clean vocals) and Alex (Ballew) (drums) of ERRA. So, ERRA, the god of mayhem and pestilence, how did that come to be the name of the band?
JC: Well the name doesn’t actually hold any relevance to the band necessarily, it just sounded cool haha, and yeah that was our old vocalist (Garrison Lee) who came up with the name. It was short and to the point, catchy, ya know.
SPR: Fair enough ha, I agree it does sound pretty cool. What kind of message, if any, do you hope to instill upon your fans?
JC: Most of the stuff we sing about is pretty positive, so that’s the main basis of it is to be positive.
AB: A lot of our lyrics we write to try to get people to portray them as their own, so they can figure it out for themselves, so they can kinda create their own message.
SPR: Yeah, something we can all relate to, ok, cool. So what has been some of your biggest musical influences?
AB: Well when we started the band we were all really into Misery Signals so we tried to have that melodic, kinda heavy feel to it, and then started adding a little singing and everything on top of it.
JC: So yeah Misery Signals and Born of Osiris, Saosin and Circa Survive as far as my vocals go, and yeah those are pretty close examples.
SPR: I know that both of you are like founding members, the original guys, and I know Sean Price (guitars) signed on back in 2012 and just last year you guys got Ian (Eubanks) (vocals) on board, though he’s filled in for Garrison on tour before, how has the transition been for everyone as far as the writing processes and their styles go?
JC: The writing process is the same, our old guitar player Alan (Rigdon) wrote a good percentage of the guitars and stuff. The only thing that’s really different this time around is that most of the work load as far as writing is solely on me and Alex.
AB: Yeah he’ll usually write all the guitars and synth and all that and I’ll just put drums to it later on.
JC: But yeah the transition with Ian was pretty smooth because he already had a similar style to Garrison. Ian is a little bit older than us. When we were in high school his local band that played was one of our favorite bands, including Garrison’s, so we were already kinda influenced by that, even the way Garrison screams, so it made sense whenever we got Ian. People are like “oh yeah they sound similar”, and it’s because they were singing in the same music scene for years. We all knew each other for years.
AB: That was probably a huge influence on why we got him, ‘cause we knew him and he’s a really cool dude.
JC: And it wasn’t a huge physical change ‘cause they’re both like kinda big vocalists.
SPR: Yeah I was gonna say, I’ve noticed that the sound between Garrison and Ian really is very similar, it fits, it makes sense, very cool. So Jesse I know you recently also released a new EP for your solo project Ghost Atlas, how difficult is it to keep that separate from your works with these guys?
JC: It’s easy because that’s like just a side project right now, so the only work load for that, as of last year, is just recording music. With ERRA it’s recording music, touring, ya know managing the business side of things, there’s a lot more to ERRA for us than the side project because ERRA is more established, obviously. So it’s actually really easy.
SPR: So is there anything from your work with ERRA that you incorporate with your solo stuff or is it just totally different?
JC: It’s pretty different, like I consider it a different genre, it’s like more rock based, but the vocal styles are the same.
SPR: The new EP Moments of Clarity is your first under Sumerian Records, what’s it like working with them and how have they helped in the development of this EP?
JC: It’s been awesome. They’re really hands on and really put a lot of effort into helping their bands, so we’ve been getting really solid tips from them. All the dudes we work with are sick, so it’s been awesome. It’s been a totally new experience for us.
AB: Yeah we’ve got a really good team behind us.
SPR: Have you guys learned a lot from any other bands under the label?
AB: Yeah, a lot of their other bands are ones we listened to back in high school, ya know, like Born of Osiris, Veil of Maya.
JC: They’re all a really tight knit group ya know, it’s just really comfortable.
SPR: What has been the most difficult part of constructing the EP?
JC: The most difficult part was definitely just how rushed it was because the whole point of that release was to showcase our new singer, and that was the first time that Ian had been with us was to come and do the recording with us. That was the biggest challenge; there was so much pressure to push something out. It’s definitely a pressure that we don’t want to have to go through again so with the full length album we’ll make sure to give ourselves ample time.
SPR: So what’s going on with that?
AB: We’re trying to write it right now, and plan on going in the studio in a couple months.
JC: Summer time, we’ll be recording the new album in the summer.
SPR: Ok, awesome! So as far as the recording process what has been the most fun part?
JC: All of it! That’s my favorite part of being in a band is recording. I like writing and recording music the most, I like that more than touring. It’s my favorite aspect of being in a band.
AB: Yeah, hearing what comes out of the final mix, the finished product ya know.
SPR: Ok so to finish it off, what is the strangest thing you’ve ever been asked to sign?
AB: Haha, I don’t know, I haven’t really signed anything that strange. I’ve signed a guitar pedal before, that’s about the most ‘out there’ thing I’ve signed.
JC: Haha, that’s not that ‘out there’, but yeah, easy, a pregnant girl’s stomach. Yeah I was there and her boyfriend was like “dude, sign my girlfriend’s pregnant stomach!” Haha, so that was definitely the most interesting thing I’ve signed.
SPR: Haha wow, well yeah that’s definitely interesting. Well thank you guys for your time. Again this is Jesse and Alex from ERRA and I’m Jason for Southeast Pit Report. Thanks guys.