Jon Cannon and his Ezekiel’s Wheels band mates were recently named Best Klezmer Band at the International Jewish Music Festival in Amsterdam where they also took home the Audience Choice Award. Then he came back to Boston and did some math, because that’s what he’s getting a Ph.D. in. I chatted with Cannon about funding the band’s trip with Kickstarter, the relationship between math and music, and what’s next.
Congratulations on your triumphant trip to Amsterdam. How far into the competition were you when you realized you might have a chance at the big prize?
So, there was the first round. We thought our chances were decent that we might make it to the second round, the semi-finals. Once we did that, we knew we might be in the running for some kind of recognition in the awards ceremony. But we were completely shocked to be in the final six.
I’m curious about you guys using Kickstarter to get to the festival. How have tools like that changed the music business, and did you have a back-up plan if it didn’t work out?
Technically, when we filled out the application for the festival, we’d committed to going. I was nervous about us getting the funding we needed, and we didn’t really have a back-up plan. We had a good feeling about Kickstarter and thought that it would come through for us, but we were really surprised at how quickly it happened. It took us maybe four days to almost make it to our goal of $5,500.
By day you’re a math whiz. Do you find that there is a relationship between math and music?
Um, I don’t know if I’m a “whiz.” People always say, “Music is just math, right?” But I find music with too much math in it is usually bad music. I think the real relationship is that people who like to use their heads to juggle abstractions instead of focusing on tangible and visible things are often drawn to both math and music.
What’s next for your band, other than charging double for the next wedding or bar mitzvah you book?
Ha! We actually are charging more now. We also hired our bass player as our manager. Now she will be the one maintaining our website and booking our gigs. It was kind of chaotic before, but now we know we need a system. We’re looking for better gigs, like music festivals, but I hope we don’t have to cut back on our farmers market appearances.
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