Interview: Josh Ostrander of Eastern Conference Champions

posted August 20, 2007

by Corinne

Josh Ostrander of Eastern Conference Champions

It is somewhat surprising that two-thirds of the band is ex-Laguardia and the other third is ex-CKY. They are both southeastern PA bands, but how did you all know each other and how did the line-up come together?

Greg and I would always run into Vern on the road when we were in Laguardia, usually in California.  I always thought he was a great guy, it was a no brainer when we decided we needed a bass player.

By the time this interview is published, the new album, “Ameritown,” will already be out. So how are you feeling about the new release?

[I’m] very proud.  We worked so hard on every aspect of this record, from the lyrics to arrangements to artwork, every detail was throughout.   We know a lot of bands that are having trouble even getting a record out so we feel very lucky to be in our position.

Quite a bit of hype built up based on “The Southampton Collection.” What sort of motivation did that give you when it came time to work on “Ameritown?”

The band is its own worst critic/enemy.  We aren’t really affected by reviews.  We write to impress ourselves and each other.  Greg and Vern will each in their own time try every possible approach to a song imaginable.  And we have no real gauge on success.  We are never satisfied.  We are always looking towards the next song or the next tour or video.  You are only as good as your next song kinda approach.

There was more than a year between “The Southampton Collection” and the release of “Ameritown.” Did you go about the writing and recording processes in the same way?

Yeah, we toured off the EP for a bit.  Then the label asked to hear songs for the upcoming record and I had to explain to them that I didn’t really have any.  So we took about four months to write the record, which consisted of us locking ourselves in a practice spot in Bryn Mawr, Pennsylvania, and not leaving until we had over 30 songs to choose from.

You worked with Owen Morris on the album. How did his production and experience influence the “Ameritown?”

He was imperative to the session.  We worked with him during pre production to get everything in order, but I wanted the session to feel loose so I/we weren’t too rigid.  The band works very well under stress but we take more risks with our playing if we are in a relaxed atmosphere and if we feel in control.  Owen's excitement towards the record was really important for the growth of the band.

The band’s bio says that Suretone Records signed Eastern Conference Champions on the spot. What was the band’s reaction to the label’s confidence?

It was interesting, Greg and I just left a situation where we felt so neglected, so to walk into a situation where we being treated as a priority was amazing.  They came to the table with ideas, which is huge; I feel the music industry needs these kind of risk takers.

Who are some underrated bands that you think deserve more attention?

The Cobbs from from Southampton, PA.  Illinois from Southampton, PA.  Meowskers from Brooklyn, NY.

What have you been listening to recently?

I am obsessed with the new Wilco record.  Greg said I should get the new Spoon record, which I will be doing very soon.

If you could have written any song, what song do you wish you had written and why?

"Shade and The Black Hat" by Jeremy Enigk off of his solo record "Return of The Frog Queen."  This song just destroys me.