While the name Eric Lilavois may be new to some, his resume is most definitely not. The diverse craftsman has worked with some of the brightest bands around including Atlas Genius, Saint Motel, Surfer Blood, and My Chemical Romance. His talent as producer and engineer has made the way for ownership of the iconic London Bridge Studios in Seattle where Pearl Jam, Soundgarden, Alice in Chains, and OneRepublic has recorded. His relationship with Warner Bros., Atlantic, and Universal have given him the opportunity to help develop countless emerging artists and earned him work with the Grammy’s and SXSW. If that isn’t enough, he has also worked in film and composed cues for television (Pawn Stars and American Restoration). This alone would be enough material for a series of interviews, however it is his new project that I was excited to ask him about.
“The Journey”, a film slated to open this spring, details the collaboration of talented musicians who helped him to create his three EP series entitled “Salt, Sea, & Smoke”. It is a look behind the scenes of what it takes to put an album together with a cast of such diverse characters. “There is something cool about an ordinary day in the studio that we wanted to capture. There are magic in the moments” Lilavois told me in a lively phone interview from Pasadena. The documentary shows the creative process and community of the many seasoned musicians who have worked with a variety of acts such as Heart, Macklemore, Vampire Weekend, and U2. The nostalgic Lilavois has enjoyed “marrying the past and the present” ever since he found an old typewriter in a Santa Barbara thrift store. This pre-hipster spirit drove him to contribute footage from his vintage super8 camera in order to better “capture the juxtaposition of the analog and digital world we live in.” Combined with this footage, director A.M. Bushe chose to shoot in black and white, a choice that adds to the film’s everyday cinematic beauty. The two have creatively found a way to capture the organic work of musicians who genuinely love their medium regardless of fanfare.
Currently Eric is working with some exciting new acts that he gushed over including piano driven songstress Susy Sun and LA rock outfit The Second Howl. He has also helped produce the ambitious 52/52 project which is the crazy idea of London Tone Music to unleash 52 singles in 52 weeks. Personally, I was amazed at how many projects he works on. I had to ask how he was able to strike a balance in it all. “Live amongst the chaos . . .compartmentalize and let some things slide” was his advice. After commenting that he must be extremely organized, he joked, “you haven’t seen my office.”
The personable Lilavois is an extremely articulate and likable interview. He was the first interview to actually ask me about my life, which is a glimpse at why he has been able to carve out such a successful career. We at Ear to the Ground wish him continued success in his many ventures. Make sure to check out his new EP “Sea”, which is the second installment of his EP trilogy as well as be on the lookout for “The Journey” which has its premier April 7th in Pasadena, followed by openings in Seattle and Los Angeles.