By Nicholas Jason Lopez
Elvis Monroe band members Bryan Hopkins, Ben Carey, David Pichette, Matt Nelson, Chris Reeve and Ashley Reeve recently partook in a “quarantine”-styled separate webcam performance of “Be The Change,” a song dedicated to the men and women on the frontlines of the COVID-19 outbreak, such as doctors, nurses, truck drivers, grocery/convenience stores workers and more.
Regarded as an all-star lineup of sorts from some of the world’s most successful acts, Elvis Monroe is composed of members of Lifehouse, Nelson, Emerson Drive and band members for Avril Lavigne and Cher. Hopkins is also the former lead singer for Los Angeles band Paperback Hero.
A festive blend of country and classic Americana, the group was founded on friendship and they always remind their listeners that to get through these tough times, lean on your friends and have a little faith.
The Music Bugle recently had the opportunity to talk to Hopkins and Carey about the performance, which you can watch on the video embedded below and other topics.
Music Bugle – What message do you think the “Be The Change” video conveys?
Ben Carey – The video is an honest, raw, live representation of the song. The message in the song may be different for every listener. That’s the beauty of music. My hope is that it inspires hope and motivation that you can be a part of something special, that your contribution, no matter how big or small, matters to us all. Be part of something. Stand for something. Be the change.
Bryan Hopkins – When writing the song, I wanted to inspire hope and a little faith to those at home who might be scared and our gratitude to those on the frontlines. I’m hoping the video and song helps slide a smile on a face that needs it. We’re in this together and when it’s all over, we will have a story to tell and by doing our part, we will “be the change.”
Music Bugle – Do you feel the group’s overall experience and extensive background in music gives you an advantage of any sort?
Ben Carey – Our band definitely has a very colorful backstory, with experience at a world-class level. It gives me a special trust and respect in each member that goes unspoken, this kind of attention to detail ensure the listener of a great experience every single time we pick up our instruments.
Bryan Hopkins – I’m the guy in the band with the least experience, but it gives me a sense of comfort knowing I’m surrounded by world-class players and I feel like I need to keep pushing myself to play and write on their level. It’s challenging and rewarding. I don’t know that it gives us an edge over anyone, but it definitely makes for an exciting journey playing music.
Music Bugle – How has the COVID-19 outbreak affected you personally and what do you think about its effect on the music industry as a whole?
Ben Carey – COVID-19 affects us all. We’re all locked down and away from our “lives.” It has affected life in every single way and as for the music industry, I feel everything has been paused in time and each artist is forced to go back to their roots and be creative and barebones. These are the stories and songs that will shine in my eyes.
Bryan Hopkins – Somebody hit the “pause” button on life and sprinkled in some fear. The unknown has been added and it has affected each of us at the same time around the world. Music is who I am and what I do, but I’m more worried about family, friends and those I don’t know, coming out of this okay. When this is all over, writing and performing is something I always will find a way to do, like the song, “be the change.” It’s how I cope.
Music Bugle – Which of your musical influences do you feel shine the most in your music?
Ben Carey – The storyteller aspect is a big part of us as a whole, not just the songwriting, but our live show and both Bryan and I as men and artists.
Bryan Hopkins – The ability to convey real stories through our music. We write from the heart and hope that it resonates and speaks to the listener.
Music Bugle – What has been your favorite moment while playing live or onstage?
Ben Carey – I don’t have a specific favorite moment. I enjoy each and every show in a unique way. Each show is a different animal and I’m always along for the ride. It’s kinda addicting. It’s our drug, I suppose I could say. No matter how big or how small, there is something special and memorable in each one.
Bryan Hopkins – Every show has a special moment or 10. (Laughs) Picking just one doesn’t even seem right. Top of my head, a few come to mind. Having my Pops, Rocky, join us on stage to play the spoons in front of 7,000 people during our song “Backyard Family Barbecue.” My brother Cody joining us on stage performing our song “Forever Family,” together for the first time opening for Joe Nichols with a sea of cell phones in the air. Playing the Rialto Theatre in Joliet, Illinois, while out on tour with 3 Doors Down was just a special day, night and show. Everything about it was perfect. These moments jump out to me when asked this question, but like I said, each one is special.
Music Bugle – What do your future plans consist of?
Ben Carey – My immediate plans for Elvis Monroe is to start chipping away at our new album. We have almost enough new content for two new albums at this stage, so I’m beginning the process while we are locked away from the world.
Bryan Hopkins – Writing and recording the new music is the plan, but knowing there are more stories to share through music keeps me motivated.
Music Bugle – What’s something you feel people should know about the group?
Ben Carey – I feel new listeners should know this is an honest band. We shoot from the hip. We hang it out there. We wear our hearts on our sleeve and we give it all we got every single time you get to see us play, a show not to be missed.
Bryan Hopkins – We’re best mates sharing a childhood dream together and hoping it translates.
Music Bugle – Does social media make it easier or harder to stand out as musicians?
Ben Carey – Social media is both positive and negative in my eyes, always good and bad on both sides of the fence. It definitely does give every artist a platform to get their music out to people that may have otherwise had zero chance or hearing it. I could go on and on about the pros and cons, but I’ll leave it there at this one little positive.
Bryan Hopkins – Social media would be great if we could keep up with it and learn how to do it! (Laughs) We focus on writing music and being a better version of the last time your heard or had the chance to see us. Maybe one day, we’ll figure it out and make it work for us.
Music Bugle – What’s your favorite song or set of lyrics?
Ben Carey – I don’t have a favorite song or lyric. Music is a feeling. It’s something that affects you differently every single time you hit “play.” It’s emotion-driven, so depending on your mood and headspace, different songs will affect you uniquely differently each and every single time. I believe we have our favorite go-to tunes that we all love, but our heart ‘n’ soul beats differently each day and it will directly influence how you perceive and listen.
Bryan Hopkins – We have a song called “Comin’ Around” and the lyrics come to mind, “I dream and believe, it’s comin’ around, it’s comin’ around to me.” It’s what I love to do and I just want to continue doing what I love.
Music Bugle – What do you hope to accomplish that you felt you haven’t yet?
Ben Carey – I’d love an opportunity for Elvis Monroe to be given a real shot, a real push and a chance to get out in front of thousands of people on a nightly basis and tell our story. A chance to give this world-class band a moment in the sun. Every single night we step up in front of new faces, it’s a challenge, a challenge we love and welcome, a challenge for our hearts and stories and talents to win them over. A chance for us and the listeners or audience to become one in that moment. I want that. Now. Please. Right now. (Laughs)
Bryan Hopkins – I just want to be given a fair shot with my best friend with our music. He took a chance on me and I’m hoping it comes back to him because of it.