After hearing the new record by The Essex Green, I was immediately drawn in by the great songwriting and vocal harmonies on all the songs. I recently had the chance to correspond with band member Sasha Bell over the information super highway.

How did the band come together?
SB-Well Jeff, Chris, and Mike started playing together as Guppyboy while in college together at the University of Vermont. I joined Guppyboy in 1996 and then when we moved back to New York in 1997 we started playing with Tim Barnes, our drummer, and became The Essex Green.

Explain the bands family tree.
SB- Sasha Bell, Jeff Baron, Mike Barrett, Chris Ziter, Tim Barnes. As I mentioned Jeff, Chris and Mike met in college. I met Jeff in NYC whereupon we embarked on our current romance shall we say. I then started playing keyboards with those guys. And then we added Tim to the picture. Jeff knew Tim from having met him several times at Rocks In Your Head, the record store where Jeff works in Soho.

Lyrics or music first?
SB- For me, I am exponentially more inspired by writing music than I am by lyrics. I could write songs all day but lyrics are a more difficult task for me as I weigh each word so heavily. Sometimes I can write a songs worth of lyrics in an hour but this is a rare event. When I write a song its always based on a certain melody that has nothing to do with actual words. I'm really down on lyrics these days.

Does 5 songwriters equal tension?
SB- Only 4 of us write songs, but this is enough to create tension, yes. Usually if we start practicing a song we all don't support, it will quietly leave the set list and never make it onto a record. Recently this has caused some heated problems. Its just one of those icky ego trouncing things you have to go through in a band like ours.

Explain the recording process
SB-Slow. For Everything Is Green we went to Studio 45 in Connecticut and recorded basic tracks for a week. Then we took the reels back to Marlborough Farms in Brooklyn and finished up the record there. We haven't decided how to pursue the next record yet. I did like doing the basic tracks like we did. At first I was skeptical as I was used to doing everything track by track. In our case I think it was important to capture a live sound.

How did you hook up with Kindercore?
SB-In 1997 we went on tour with Aden and Ryan Lewis, the head of Kindercore, was drumming for them. We became good friends and he asked if he could put our record out. And that was that.

How did you hook up with the the Elephant 6?
SB- We'd known a lot of those guys from touring and hanging out at shows. And then last year we met Robert and Hilarie(Apples In Stereo) at a show in NY and they offered to put out a record for us, which became the EP that just came out a few weeks ago(which Robert also mastered).

Vintage music gear or new stuff?
SB-Vintage all the way

Who does your artwork?
SB-We all come up with the ideas and then Mike Barrett uses his graphic design expertise to put everything together. Another democratic process...

Best touring moment?
SB- We actually haven't done a whole lot of touring at this point and I can't remember any major highs. However Jeff likes to ride nude in the van. This provides some good moments.

SB-Someone smeared poo on our van and I touched it in the dark. Didn't happen with the Essex Green but its at the top of my truly terrible touring moment list.

Look into the crystal ball.
SB- The crystal ball sees us lounging on the Spanish seaside playing cabana shows when we're 60.

Is everything really green?
SB- Not in NYC, but in my mind yes.

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