Exclusive Interview with Degrassi’s Eric Osborne


unnamed-1Talk Nerdy With Us had the pleasure of speaking with Canadian actor and musician Eric Osborne. Eric is most well-known for portraying Miles Hollingsworth III on the critically acclaimed drama Degrassi.

Read our interview below.

Follow Eric on Twitter.

How did you come up with the band name Eleanor Shore?

“It’s kind of a secret between us, but I’ll tell you a bit! It’s from a dream that I had one time. I know it’s a vague answer, but it’s sort of supposed to be up to your own interpretation.”

Did you have a lot of different suggestions before you decided on it?

“Oh yeah, we had a bunch of ideas and different things to consider. It took us a while and the names before we liked some of them, but nothing really clicked until we thought of this one.”

How did the four of you meet?

“Well, I know Connor who’s the trumpet player and he also plays some percussion. He sings. I met him back in grade one. We’ve been best friends ever since. Ehren, he’s like the lead singer. He plays guitar and piano as well. I met him in grade ten at my high school. We actually started the band because we would just play things together. Little duets and stuff like that in front of the school. We’d play guitar and sing in harmony and stuff like that. 

Then we added Connor to the band after that, and then recently we added Sean and he’s been a really big help because he’s really talented. He can play pretty much every instrument and he’s just super. He just knows so much about music.”

How many instruments do you personally play?

“I play guitar and piano. I play a bit of tenor saxophone and I’m learning to play this instrument called the theremin. It’s a pretty old instrument actually. It’s from the 1920s. It uses electromagnetic waves to create different sound frequencies. You don’t touch it when you play it, but it’s two different antennas and the proximity of your hand towards the antennas creates different pitches and different volumes.”

Oh wow.

“Yeah, it’s an interesting instrument.”

What triggered wanting to learn the theremin?

“I found out about it recently through different songs I listen to. I found out about this lady named Clara Rockmore, who is one of the best, if not, the best, thereminist in the world. She’s at least the most well-known one. I watched her perform it and listened to it and I really liked the sound of it. I thought that I might as well give it a shot.”

Did you take lessons for any of the instruments or are you all self-taught?

“I took guitar and piano lessons for a long time. Up until a couple of years ago.”

You guys are recording new demos, are those new songs or are you re-releasing the three that you had released earlier?

“I think there’s talk now of re-releasing some of the old demos as instrumental tracks. That’s just to release something before we do release a couple new demos. We are going to be recording new ones soon. We have three … or a couple more than three new songs that we’re going to be recording and releasing relatively soon, hopefully.”

Do you have any plans for an EP release?

“Yea, that’s eventually the goal. We just want to have some more material. We want to take our strongest songs and make sure that we’re getting on the right train as far as picking the right record company to record with. We want to make sure we have the right choices made and the financial support there in order to make a good EP.”

How involved in the writing process are you?

“Right now the two main writers of the songs are Ehren and I. What happens usually is that we come to the band with lyrics and a melody or basic musical parts. Then together we will play through it and just experiment with different sounds and instruments. We see what we come up with together. I’ve written a couple of songs for the band and a couple just solo songs. Ehren’s written the majority of the songs for the band so far.”

Do you have a favorite live performance that you guys have done so far?

“The first time we played at The Mod Club in Toronto, was the most satisfying and the most fun show. There’s so much crowd involvement and the stage and sound was awesome. We put on a good show. There was some stuff that went wrong actually though, my strings broke on my guitar. [Laughs]. During the first song one of my strings broke so that kind of threw things off, but we ended up just coming through it. It was a lot of fun at the end of it.

It was certainly interesting. We also played at a place in Peterborough called The Spill. It’s a really small, sort of cozy bar type thing. It was just very laid back. It was fun to play there and not worry too much about being to judged, or anything. It’s just very open and fun and everyone’s there to just listen to music and relax. It’s fun to play there as well.”

Do you enjoy going to concerts?

“I do. I haven’t actually been to too many concerts believe it or not. When I was younger I went to a Rush concert with my dad, it was the first concert I’d ever been to. That was fun. I’m trying to remember. I think I went to a 30 Seconds to Mars concert with Ehren actually. I went to one recently but I forget what who it was. [Laughs].

I guess I don’t go to concerts that much for whatever reason. There hasn’t been too many that I’ve been extremely interested in going to see. I think that Ehren and I were supposed to go to a Death Cab for Cutie’s concert at some point. That will be good.”

Who would you like for Eleanor Shores to open for?

“Well, my favorite band is Bright Eyes. I mean they’re kind of over now, but the lead singer, Conor Oberst, still does a lot of solo stuff. He does stuff with other bands he has, so if I could ever open for one of his projects that would probably be the dream.

Bright Eyes was pretty much just Conor and one of his friends, Mike Mogis. They were sort of like the main concert members. He still does stuff with Mike Mogis and some of the old people in Bright Eyes. It’s still kind of the same sort of feeling, it’s just a different label I guess. It has a bit of a different feel as well.”

We’re switching gears to Degrassi, obviously it was you’re first big role. Do you remember where you were when you got the part?

“Wow, I think I was in the car actually with my dad or something. I think my mum called or something. She’d seen the email and I found out in the car! I was completely flipped out. It was weird because the last audition I did, I thought I’d blew it. I thought I did a really bad job, but I guess that they liked it. [Laughs]. That was some pretty exciting news.”

What was your audition process like?

“It was pretty extensive actually. I started auditioning for a different role. They ended up scraping the role for whatever reason. It just didn’t get materialized. They wanted me to read for another character at the last-minute. I think it was at the last audition I did that they just had me switch characters after doing four auditions for this other character. 

During my last audition, this is the one that I thought I did bad on, I read for Miles. I think what happened was originally I read for two characters at the beginning. One was this one character, his name was Benji, who they didn’t use and then Miles. Then from there they liked my Benji audition so I did a bunch of those, and then they scrapped the character. Then I auditioned for Miles that last time.  I think it was six auditions in total.”

Degrassi shot around forty episodes a season. What was that like to be your first role and have to do like that many episodes a year?

“I didn’t really know any different at that point, so I just sort of jumped into it. I got on the train I guess and just went with what was going on. It didn’t really strike me as too odd. I was just sort of going along with it.We did twenty-six episodes last season, I think, and this season (on Netflix) it’s down to twenty. 

Looking back at doing forty it seems pretty crazy, but at the time I was just doing what everyone else was.

We shot in blocks of four episodes. Four episodes took eleven days to shoot, and they’d shoot out of sequence. You wouldn’t be in every day though. The shooting season was longer than as well. We still shoot in blocks of four episodes. It’s just less time to shoot the season over all.”

Did you do screen tests with Sara and Spencer?

“No. I didn’t actually. I did a screen test this year for a new character that’s coming on the show. I didn’t do screen tests with them. When I was auditioning I did a screen test with Olivia.”

What was it like having Ehren join this season?

“It was really cool. It was sort of surreal just to have my best friend come on the show and then we’re also in the band and everything. It was pretty amazing.”

When you guys found out that Degrassi was being moved from Teen Nick to Netflix did you know that you would be continuing your storyline? Did you know Miles would be apart of the Netflix version?

“We were told very little as it was going on. We were told not panic or worry too much. I think that we all kind of knew that we weren’t going to be out of a job. We felt like they’d probably give us a bit more warning if we all were. [Laughs]. It was a weird transition. They told us about as much as they told everyone else at the time. To some of us it was just sort of shocking and we weren’t’ really sure exactly what was going on with the show, but it all worked out.”

Has there been a difference filming for Teen Nick versus Netflix?

“Yeah, we have a bit more freedom now with time. The content has been changed a bit. It’s a bit more edgy I guess is the word. We’re talking about topics that are a bit more realistic or pertinent to modern-day teenage life. I mean, Degrassi’s always focused on important topics, but we’re doing it in a sort of edgier, a bit more realistic way I think. It’s just exciting. It’s just edgier. They’ve gone farther with the content and we’re allowed to explore it a bit more.”

How different is Miles going to be in Degrassi: Next Class?

“Well, Next Class, like I said it’s going to be an edgier look to everything. A lot of issues are still there from season fourteen. It’s just sort of taking a further look at some of them and developing different personality traits in certain ways. It’s taking a further look at the tendency that Miles has and the vices that he has and sort of unraveling that a bit. You get to see some of the same issues come back harder. Then there’s also new issues as well that are brought up. It’s all very exciting.”

Who do you think Miles should be with? Tristan or Maya? 

“I think that they both have their ups and downs. I think I’ve had more conflict with Maya. I’ve also been with her longer. The thing about Tristan is that he’s always been a good friend and it keeps going back to that. Tristan has been just a supportive friend through everything and that’s important. I think that’s an important thing to have in any relationship. Miles had chemistry with Maya and they’ve had good times. So I think it’s just a hard decision. I think there will be less conflict in the end, maybe, with Tristan just because they seem to have an understanding. They respect each other and they’re comfortable around each other.”

Do you have a favorite story line that Miles had throughout his two seasons?

“I think that dealing with the father and his father’s abuse has been the most heaviest thing I’ve had to deal with and the most significant. That was really a good experience to be able to sort of attack that and do my best to realistically portray that story line. To make it believable to the audience. For any anyone out there that’s dealing with something like that you don’t want to do a poor job in representing it. That was probably that biggest challenge and probably my favorite story line.”

Do you have a least favorite?

“I don’t think so. Everything has been, for me at least, its all been very good. I’m pretty lucky to have the story lines that I have. I’m never disappointed going into a read-through.”

Did you watch Degrassi growing up?

“I didn’t for a while. I watched it in my grade eight. When I was going into high school. I didn’t really know about it until then to be honest. I guess I was somewhat sheltered up until then. [Laughs]. Now yeah, it’s hard to find somebody who doesn’t know what Degrassi is.”

What’s your best fan moment?

“There definitely are fans that have said that they really enjoyed the work. I know that with other characters in particular some of them have heard stories about people who’ve thanked them. Clare is one that a lot of people can connect with. The show in general a lot of people have this understanding with it and this connection to it. It’s really important. 

There hasn’t been too many cases with myself and people who’ve said they really connected with the issues that I’ve had, but there has been some. It’s really special to hear that and to know that you’ve done it justice.”

What do you nerd out over?

“I’m a really big Batman fan. I really like anything to do with Batman, especially the Joker. He’s my favorite character. He’s definitely my favorite villain of all time. I like instruments and guitars, obviously. I just bought a synthesizer actually for the band and I’ve been working a lot on that. Hopefully, it’s going to bring some new sounds to the band and I get really excited over stuff like that. I get excited learning to do different things with music or camera work or anything like that.”

Are you excited for the Suicide Squad movie?

“I am. It looks good. I’m excited to see Jared Leto especially. It’s interesting because it’s a completely different take on the Joker. There’s so many different interpretations of him, so I’m looking forward to it.”

They filmed in Toronto.

“I know, yeah it’s crazy. I didn’t actually see any of the filming, but I’ve seen pictures and stuff online of it being filmed.”

Tell me two truths and one lie about yourself. 

“My favorite animal is a bat. I love watching baseball. I own a Mini Cooper.”

Fans now it’s your turn to vote for which answer you thinks is the lie! Follow @TalkNerdyWithUs to find out the correct answer!

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*Update Eric’s lie is: “I love watching baseball.”

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