Touring Vegan | Erik Hunter Czaja

    Every vegan person has their own story of how they started- For some, the lifestyle is easy, uncomplicated, and fun, but it’s not always that way. Transitioning into veganism can come with a bit of a learning curve when you have never paid much care to reading ingredients lists or menus for most of your life. It’s sure to be true that someone who is traveling in a van, sleeping in parking lots and stranger’s homes would have a unique relationship with veganism. “Touring Vegan” is a series of interviews with touring musicians and artists about their distinct experiences with veganism on the road and in life.

    Erik Hunter Czaja is a Chicago-based guitarist and vocalist from bands Dowsing, Mush, and Pet Symmetry. Before I knew Erik I was a big fan of Dowsing, and one of the most exciting moments of my musical career was playing a show at the house venue that they used to live at and run. Now, Erik has graciously accepted my invitation to be interviewed for Little Ghoul, and which is greatly appreciated and super cool.

chicago band dowsing playing a live concert show

Erik Hunter Czaja

Mush | Dowsing | Pet Symmetry

6 years vegan

guitars & vocals

Little Ghoul:  What motivated you to go vegan originally? Were you vegetarian before hand?

Erik Czaja:  I was vegetarian before I was vegan. I’ve been meat free since I was 16. I am 29 now. So I was (math in head writing writing …getting too old to remember) veggie for 7.5?  I went on my first tour when I was 23 and came home to no food. I thought it was a good opportunity to go vegan and most of my roommates were vegan. I made too many dumb excuses to not be vegan. “I can’t live without cheese or eggs”. Nah that is dumb.

LG:  What is the best vegan food you’ve ever had on tour?

Erik:  That’s a hard question. Honestly, some of the food they make you in Germany still haunts me to this day.

LG:  What is the best fast food/takeout place for vegan food on tour and what do you order?

Erik:  I have to say Taco Bell, because it is.  You can make almost anything vegan by asking for it fresco (take away the cheese and sour cream), subbing beans for beef. I usually get 7 layer burritos (technically not 7 after you alter it). I just explored the Gordita again. I missed it.

LG:  What snacks/grocery staples do you keep in your van?

Erik:  Cliff bars.  

LG:  What is the best gas station vegan creation you’ve ever had?”

Erik:  The chip sandwich – any kind of bread, any kind of peanut butter, any kind of pickle, any kind of chip, sriracha. You’re welcome.

LG:  If you could give a piece of advice to new vegans touring, what would it be?

Erik:  When people tell you it’s impossible ignore them. They are stupid. Don’t give up. Vegan food is everywhere. EVERYWHERE.

LG: Do you find that it is challenging or expensive to be vegan?

Erik: Being vegan is fun and easy.  I don’t find it expensive.

-Dowsing Tour Dates 2017-

12/2 – Ann Arbor, MI at Metal Frat
12/3 – Philadelphia, PA at Darren
12/4 – New Paltz, NY at SUNY New Paltz
12/5 – Mahwah, NJ at Ramapo College
12/6 – Akron, OH at Kling Thing House
12/8 – Chicago, IL at Township

I’d like to thank Erik for taking the time out for this interview, and would like to take this time to plug Dowsing’s upcoming tour dates starting in December. Try to check out a show if you can catch it, and most definitely follow the links above to listen to Erik’s band. They are ALL really good, so you can’t go wrong.

Stay tuned for more “Touring Vegan” Interviews to be released on Little Ghoul regularly.

chicago band dowsing live show tour flyer with list of tour dates