Of the four members of Toronto modern-rock band Crash Karma, bassist Amir Epstein is, with all due respect him, perhaps the least well-known. But when the other members of your band come from groups including Our Lady Peace, I Mother Earth and The Tea Party, being lesser known than your peers is a little easier to accept.
Far from being nobody though, Epstein played with Toronto band Zygote and kept himself busy writing songs with others. One day while listening to former IME vocalist Edwin’s solo material, Epstein instinctively knew that the two had to meet.
“I knew that I wanted to write with Edwin,” Epstein says from his Toronto home. “I thought that we could be a great match in that respect.”
When the two of them did finally get together, Epstein didn’t just propose a couple of writing sessions, he wanted to start a band with him. Edwin, on the other hand, wasn’t so sure. But after a little convincing on Epstein’s part, Edwin was on board.
Amir then had his sights set on guitarist Mike Turner who left multi-platinum band Our Lady Peace in 2001. Turner had produced Amir’s band Zygote so there was already a familiarity between the two.
“So I went ahead and asked Mike ‘You interested in becoming a part of a new band?’ and the answer was an instant ‘No!’” Epstein laughs.
“But it turned out that Mike was just reserved about committing to something that wouldn’t maintain his interest in the long run.”
So after putting Turner’s fears to rest, Epstein set out to find his drummer and there was one guy that instantly came to his mind: ex-Tea Party member Jeff Burrows. After gaining Burrows commitment to giving this new band a try, Epstein gathered everyone for their initial jam session.
While Edwin, Burrows and Turner had all crossed paths numerous times over the course of their respective careers, Epstein admits there was still an air of hesitation hanging over the quartet’s initial session:
“I think everyone was guarded because they wanted to gauge everyone else’s interest in moving forward but we ended up starting to record almost immediately. And as things progressed and we got deeper into the process of recording, everyone got behind the band and got excited about the prospects of what we were creating. I think that everyone realized that this could be something special.”
The band hasn’t been without their critics so far, however. Some reviewers have gone so far to say that the group is simply trying too hard to recapture some of the members’ glory days of the past.
“Some have said that we sound too much like I Mother Earth or like Our Lady Peace. And in a way, it’s like ‘Of course we do! Look who is in the band!’”
“So I think it is going to be tough to escape those comparisons. I don’t necessarily want to escape it though because let’s face it, if the other three guys in the band didn’t have their history, we probably wouldn’t have received the attention we have right off the bat.”
Indeed, Crash Karma has not been short of attention since the release of their record. The group managed to chart a single at radio before their self-titled record was even released.
As far as Epstein is concerned, building the band’s name and future success is going to be an ongoing story. Finding the easy road to success isn’t on their agenda. And in speaking with Epstein, it’s clear that none of Crash Karma’s members have a feeling of entitlement to success. They are willing to work for it and given the history of those involved, that shouldn’t come as a surprise to anyone.