In short, Eric Bruce Schnare is a rare and remarkable human. In this blog, Eric unveils and shares his story of living with anxiety, battling depression and the nature of finding himself through the upward and downward paths of musicianship and mountain biking.
I met Eric back in 2012 when his band The Other Bone's played their 1st Portland show at Flask Lounge. I seriously considered a career change after this show. They were so ridiculously good, I dreamt about becoming their manager. Over the year's Eric and I have kept in touch via our love for music. After a hiatus, The Other Bone's is releasing an album this year and being their biggest fan I couldn't be more excited. I'm honored to share Eric's story.
When did you start playing music?
I started playing music in my grade school band, but it didn’t really connect with me until I got my first electric guitar at twelve. I then became obsessed with the crazed noises that I could make that would drive my parents mental. It’s been those oddities and curiosities in music that have opened new doors for me, ones that I didn’t know were possible.
Has it always come naturally to you?
Hell no, I’ve had to put in some serious time with music. I took lessons, and didn’t practice for years, would pick it up and try and write songs, only to hit roadblocks time after time. It was the process of figuring out ways around those preverbal roadblocks that shaped who I am today. I think most people in their right mind would have given up or moved on but for some reason, I’ve never been able to quit it entirely. It’s taken years for me to finally feel like I’m progressing in the direction I want to be, but nothing came easy, it’s been work. It's also been a process of finding the right people to create beside. Having friends that I can bounce ideas off of when I'm stuck in my head is such an essential part of this grand puzzle. This wasn't a comfortable process for me; I've always been secretive of what I create because I hate everything. By allowing myself to open up a bit — and to have those friends and peers around you that understand the processes of creativity — I have been given a new lease on what it means to create, to appreciate what it is you put out into this world.
Can you give us a brief history of your musical journey, as well as share what your current projects are?
It’s been a bumpy ride with me quitting music more times than I’d like to admit. I dabbled with playing guitar until I was a junior in high school when for some odd reason, I thought it would be a cool idea to sing and perform in a band. It took me until much later in life to realize that I love entertaining people and music was that outlet for me. However, I learned very quickly that to perform at the caliber of the New Jersey bands I idolized, we had to practice our teenage butts off. The bands I played with during those years didn’t last, but I met some great people during that time of my life, and some of them have even stuck around long enough to be influencing current projects.
Now, once again, I’m trying to work my butt off with a few musical endeavors. One project is with The Other Bones — a defunct band that is still releasing an album (we just put out a four-song EP) this year. The second project is my group Body Electric — a socially charged rock band working on an EP and playing a bunch of gigs this summer. Lastly, I have a solo project called The Elder Youth, under which I will be releasing a compilation of new songs later this year.
What role do you think music plays in our society today?
How would you describe the Portland music scene today?
I’ve been a bit removed from what’s been happening locally for a bit. After the devolution of The Other Bones, and suffering from anxiety about public places, I haven’t been able to show up as much as I would like to on a local level. Of course, that won’t keep me from saying that I feel like we are sitting on a pressure cooker. While typing this interview, The Ghosts of Paul Revere just played Conan, and Weakened Friends are about to explode — both local, hard-working acts finally getting the notoriety they deserve. I’m excited to see how it can help improve our music community in a positive manner.
You told me, "Mountain biking saved my life." Can you tell me why?
There was a time in my life, in between tours and albums where I was pretty depressed to be home and was stuck in a circular pattern of despair.
Not even a mile into that ride, I gashed open my side and my knee, but outside of the pain, I felt alive. It was the same thrill that I had felt when performing in front of a responsive crowd, and since that day, I’ve been biking ever since. Mountain biking, in particular, attracts me because of the physical and mental game that it plays. You can set small obstacles and objectives to tackle, and when you do, you feel incredible. It gives me the confidence to tackle the hardest of projects. I’m so grateful for that crash.
What do you like to do outside of music and mountain biking that contributes to your wellbeing?
Talking with friends, being with animals, listening to audiobooks or podcasts, walking in nature, people watching at coffee shops and trying to stay positive about the world.
What is one challenge and lesson you’ve learned from your experience as a musician?
That you’re entering a very earnest relationship when you join a band. It feels like, in a sense, you’re dating everyone. It’s important to set boundaries and to have straight-forward communication. Not everyone is going to be able to give 100% all the time, and that’s when you need to work as a team to pick up where someone can’t. I think a lot of people get into music because they have had a hard time communicating, and that's why you see stories of bands breaking up and all these terrible fights, but it doesn't have to be that way if you're willing to work on communicating. I think it can only make you a stronger unit.
How important is having a daily routine and setting goals?
It’s something I’m not good at, but it’s so important and something I work at every day. Goals for me sometimes have to become so small and minute, that they seem almost redundant, but that’s how I can move forward towards the bigger goals.
What is one “can’t live without it" app you use?
There is a note taking app called Better, it hasn’t been updated in awhile, but it’s excellent for making fast notes, and you can use hashtags to organize ideas and thoughts. It’s just clean, and you aren’t distracted when trying to jot down a fleeting idea.
If you could share a stage with anyone in the world, who would it be with and why?
It might sound cheesy, but right now I can’t wait to perform with The Other Bones. It’s so much fun to get up on a stage and do something with your friends, and now that we have these new songs, even with the end in sight, I'm honored to share in that experience.
What is your favorite inspirational/motivational quote?
"Every one of us is, in the cosmic perspective, precious. If a human disagrees with you, let him live. In a hundred billion galaxies, you will not find another.” - Carl Sagan
In one word describe yourself: