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Eric Locke’s big musical contribution to the We Are Family documentary

By Jason Dorsey

The We are Family documentary that tells the story of an inner city basketball team that won the Indiana basketball championship against all odds took a big step forward musically thanks to the generous contribution of my friend, Eric Locke. Here’s that story.

A couple of weeks ago I realized that our feature documentary, which is about 2.5 hours long having been cut down from over five hours, still has a lot of musical holes. Through the funds raised by the Kickstarter campaign, I had been able to pay a lot of gifted musicians for their original compositions.

But I was out of money and we we had musical holes to fill. So I reached out to some of my musician friends, including Eric. Months before, I had connected Eric to David to see if any of his music might be a fit. But I hadn’t heard back from David so I figured I would ask again. Eric sent David a link to his music on YouTube and David wrote back.

“…The thing is, his stuff is GREAT.  He’s got a positive vibe running through, and generally the right kind of high energy levels we would need for game footage, but also in some cases under the talking heads, to give those some energy.”

Here’s an example of one of Eric’s songs.

Eric graciously gave David and I permission to use his music for free, as a gift! This generous gift will allow us to fill musical holes, and it is another great example of how this has been a community project. I could not do it without friends like Eric who have stood with me.

Here’s a short interview I did with Eric.

Jason: Eric when did you first hear about the We are Family project?

Eric: Hmm…I probably first heard you talking about the project here and
there while getting to know you in the past couple of years before
getting a fuller appreciation of it when the Go Fund Me campaign went
live.

Jason: Months ago you agreed to let us use your music for the film (thanks so much!). But then you didn’t hear back from us. What were you thinking in those “silent” months?

Eric: I enjoyed and appreciated the interest but didn’t dwell on it much after doing my part as advice from wiser people (and personal experience) has taught me that it’s best to approach opportunities often but lightly.

Jason: Tell me about yourself as a musician.

Eric: I got my first guitar at 14, was in a few bands here and there while
growing up. In the late 90’s when digital recording for the masses was opening up the Mrs, (Stephanie) let us get some recording gear and I was able to start learning how to record to try and get these melodies and ideas out of my head. While I work primarily in fits and starts I’m grateful to realize at least some of the ideas and concepts that get stuck in my mind. I feel fortunate to live in a time where technology can allow an individual to
do that.

Jason: What were early musical influences in your life? Inspirations?

Eric: The earliest were probably movie soundtracks. My dad would have music from soundtracks and artists of the day playing through the house while he was cooking or some such. My sister and I would go skating at the
local skating rink almost every weekend so we were exposed heavily to
pop music of the day there. Rock, soul, etc. When I got into electric guitar it was an unexpected trip into heavier music due to a friend I had. One moment I’m trying to learn a Michael Jackson song and the next my friend is tossing it across the room and “forcing” me to learn Heavy Metal. I don’t think I’d be into composing music now if it wasn’t for that but I was a little chapped at the time as I had a pretty low appreciation of Metal.

Jason: Did you have training as a musician or are you self-trained?

Eric: Self taught though the thought of taking time out for training is very
inviting nowadays.

Jason: Have you been a part of bands?

Eric: Yes I have and I’ve met some truly wonderful people as well as having
some good formative experiences. I don’t know that I’m a good “band”
member in that I don’t do well improvising and I really lean towards a
singular vision but everybody I’ve ever worked with has been good sports
in letting me participate and maybe one day I’ll hit a tipping point and
“get it”.

Jason: Talk to me about your compositions. What is your style? What are you trying to do with your sound?

Eric: I really enjoy a wall of ethereal sound. The Mrs, (who has a beautiful
voice) has been kind enough to work with me and I’m really content with
what has come from the collaboration so far. I’m enjoying her soft voice
over heavier ethereal music. We worked up a version of The Mighty Power of God, music by Phil Peterson, (Grammy Nominated) who is an old Chief Musician of Grace Church Seattle and I couldn’t be happier with the sound and style achieved there and other compositions since then performed by The Undone Orchestra. We’ve hit a stride that I’m really content with and I look forward to exploring more of that style in the future.

Jason: What was it like after the months of silence to hear back from
David Lichty that your music would be a perfect fit for the documentary?

Eric: It was a true highlight for myself. I felt like I got a small taste of
the glory that these young men, their families, coaches and community
had all worked for.

Jason: Any last thoughts?

Eric: I’m looking forward to seeing the entirety of the We Are Family story,
how my music folds in and a big “Thank You!” to all for letting me
participate. All the Best!

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