Electric Volcano Experiment (EVE), an experimental-ambient jazz trio, consists of Jeremy Hummel, drums and percussion; Andy Seal, bass and synthesizers; and Alex Callenberger, guitars and effects.
The Sun-Gazette recently interviewed Hummel about the band, which will perform as part of Absorb Williamsport Music Festival, which will be held Aug. 28 in Brandon Park. EVE also can be seen at 6:30 p.m. each Friday at BJ's Steak and Rib House, 17 N. Market St., Selinsgrove.
JACKIE SZYMANSKI: You used to drum for Breaking Benjamin. Was it kind of a weird transition coming into more jazz-inspired projects like EVE?
Ambient jazz trio Electric Volcano Experiment, featuring, from left, Alex Callenberger, Jeremy Hummel and Andy Seal, will perform as part of Absorb Williamsport Music Festival, which will be held Aug. 28 in Brandon Park.
JEREMY HUMMEL: No, though some people might think that would be the case. Really, I have always had aspirations of doing this kind of music. It was just a matter of having the time and finding the right people to do it with. People look at the Breaking Benjamin thing and think 'rock drummer,' but now I'm doing things that are pretty far removed from that.
JS: I take it you found the right people?
JH: Andy and I had known each other for a number of years and had played together before. When we were putting the project together, I asked Andy if he knew of any good guitar players to put into the mix. I had played with a few guitarists in the area, so I was looking for somebody fresh that we hadn't played with before, but who was on same page with Andy and I. Andy said 'I think I have just the right guy' and introduced me to Alex. There was great chemistry - both musically and as friends.
JS: If the band is an "experiment," would you say it's a controlled experiment? Should fans wear safety goggles?
JH: Well, it all depends on what your level of safety is. We just go out and our music is largely based on improvisation. We have our jazz, we have sketches and we have some things we know we want to hit on, in terms of melodies and form, but for the most part we're just trying to stretch it.
JS: What have you learned from this experiment?
JH: That when you're playing this kind of music - improv music - it's best not to go into the musical environment with any preconceived thoughts of what you want to do. What we try to do is just enter the situation. It's like you are a dot in the center of a big circle, leaving yourself open to everything around you. You don't go into it thinking 'I'm going to do this, pull out this lick' - you just leave yourself open, thinking 'I'm going to just listen and respond to the other players.'
JS: If EVE's music were on a movie soundtrack, what sort of film would it be?
JH: There are times our music definitely has some cinematic qualities to it. Actually, when we play live, we bring along these TV sets and play movies on TV screens as we're performing. It gives a visual and almost is more appropriate for us anyway because the TVs are kind of older. What we'll do is put on movies that maybe never even had any dialog to begin with - unspoken movies - and we sort of provide a soundtrack for these movies as we perform. We did a show one time at The Pub and at one point, when I wasn't playing, I happened to look behind me to watch the visuals. There are definitely times when the two are really just working together, where it seems as though the music was designed for us. And [the performers] are not looking at the screen - the music just somehow catches up with the imagery.
JS: Are you guys looking forward to performing at Absorb?
JH: Yeah, absolutely! [laughs]. It's always good to get out and play. And the festival atmosphere is generally a good time. People at festivals tend to like to experience a variety of things - not pulling for this or that, just experiencing whatever it has to offer.