A few months ago I had a chance to catch up with Ezra Salmine. Ezra is an aspiring musician and sound technician for the popular Christian pop duo, For King and Country. This interview was special as I have memories of Ezra when he was in his youth and our families attended the same church in mid-Michigan. Ezra and I talked while he was travelling across Texas on his way to the bands next show in Houston.
Brewtoria Coffee: Where are you located right now and can you explain a bit about your duties as a monitor tech for For King and Country? What is your average day like when you are on tour?
Ezra Salmine: I am located in Nashville, Tennessee (when I’m not living on a tour bus). Everybody pulls their weight on a tour. Usually every crew member has more than one responsibility. My main task as a monitor engineer is to be side stage during a show with a mixing console watching the band just in case they need their In-Ear-Monitor mix adjusted.
Each of the eight band members has his own personal mix that changes (via snapshots) from song to song. They will visually signal to me what they need, I can listen to each one of their mixes in my own headphones so I can anticipate those changes. Other responsibilities of mine include firing the streamers (confetti), starting the click track, and getting instruments to the band members on time for the next song. An average day consists of three major parts: Load-in, Showtime, and Load out. Load in being the longest part of the day as it requires building and positioning every piece of gear to prescribe the smoothest, most impactful show.
BC: When you start your day on tour, is coffee a part of every day? If so, how are you getting it? Does someone brew coffee on the tour bus, or are you (or others) making a run to a coffee shop?
ES: Coffee is always a part of the day. If time is tight, the day (unfortunately) will start off with a Keurig. Oftentimes someone will bring a French-Press or Chemex and make coffee on the bus which is always preferred. If load-in is finished with enough buffer time before show; the expectation is that we will walk to the best local coffee shop and recharge before the show.
BC: How do you drink your coffee?
ES: If the beans are good, I’m always down for a cup of black coffee, but a Flat-White if I’m meeting with someone, and an Americano if I’m needing the energy.
BC: What is your favorite coffee hangout back in Nashville?
BC: Does coffee help inspire you as a musician?
ES: I think everyone’s creative process thrives in different circumstances but common trends seem to be solitude and the night hours. For some reason sitting in a room surrounded by guitar amps and keyboards at 4am seems to make things happen.
Nothing better than to have my favorite cuppa joe there to help push me through. Also, coffee is a community-builder. You meet cool people at coffee shops - entrepreneurs and artists who inspire and encourage.
BC: If you could sit down and have a coffee with anyone, musician or otherwise who would that be? If you could sit down and have a coffee with anyone, musician or otherwise who would that be?
ES: Maybe this sounds cliche, but honestly, Jesus. I would have a lot of questions.
BC: What is your favorite part being on tour?
ES: Working with my friends, being around men who I respect and would like to be like in certain ways. Also, any time we get to get out of the venue and explore the town - always hungry for new sights and experiences!
BC: What are you listening to and enjoying lately?
ES: My favorite albums lately (not necessarily in order):
Malibu - Anderson Paak
Prisoner - Ryan Adams
White Noise - Noah Gundersen
To Pimp a Butterfly - Kendrick LamarTraveller - Chris Stapleton