Interview: Reid Ewing Of ‘Modern Family’ Talks Music & More

Posted on March 4, 2011

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Reid EwingReid Ewing, known more prominently for his recurring role on ABC’s Modern Family, is a Jack of all trades, master at all. Appearing for the past two years on the Emmy winning comedy series Modern Family as Dylan, Hayley’s on-again off-again boyfriend, Ewing has been focusing on his music career as of late. In February he released his debut music video titled “Traffic Jam,” which at the time of this posting has garnered up over 14,000 views.

Speaking to me this past Tuesday at an outdoor Starbucks in Hollywood (with the company of his dog, Racky) Ewing came across as a very down-to-earth guy, with very intelligent and mature thoughts regarding his future career plans. While he thinks his ambitions are “petty,” I’d say he’s doing a remarkable job and on track for great success. Read the full interview after the jump!

Jammin’ Things Up

“Traffic Jam” was a project of Ewing’s in development for 6 months, and physical production on the tune didn’t start until last month.

“I was doing sketches for it and trying to figure out what I wanted to do with it,” he tells me. Ewing adds, “I didn’t want to make a short film. I don’t feel people want to go out and watch them.” Though the finished product is catchy and joyful, the original idea was something completely different. “At first it was going to be more jokey,” he explains, adding that the released song is still meant to “amuse people.”

One of characters in the final cut is “The Queen,” played by Allison Jayne. “I met a whole bunch of different girls to do the rapping, and that’s how I came across Allison. I was going to have to make a choice or [the project] was never going to happen. I made a choice and I couldn’t have been happier with Allison. She absolutely blew it out of the park.”

From the get go, Ewing knew he was going to have the location for the video set at a car lot. Shopping around for the right setting, he found junkyards that would have possibly worked, but he felt a junkyard would have been more cliche. Elaborating further: “A lot of the words in it are random association, as well as some of the images that are chosen… it’s not like they have any meaning, they just appeal to me. The idea of a car lot really appealed to me.”

Getting Some ‘Traffic’

In a day and age where musicians are having trouble making a monetary income from their music, I found it especially interesting that Ewing decided to publish “Traffic Jam” to YouTube, a site hosting millions of videos where musical artists don’t necessarily get a penny for their product.

“There’s this book The Tipping Point where it talks about if you do enough good work, eventually you’ll surpass a certain point where everything will pay off,” Ewing tells me in regards to not worrying about the money at this point in time. “I just want to continue doing good work so I can make a career for myself.”

Ewing promoted the video’s link via Twitter. With a majority of the site’s users inundating celebrities with tweets 24/7, I was curious to see his position on fan interaction.

“I like the idea that there’s a bunch of people into my work, I like the idea of fan interaction.”

Bringing Joy To His Music

Many of Ewing’s fans first got a glimpse of his musical talents on Modern Family. While his current song has a more electronic feel to it, his performances on Family leaned more on the acoustic side. Was this something he was planning to continue?

In a word: no.

“I’m really not into it,” he says in regards to acoustic music. “There is one song that I really, really like. I learned it in acoustic, so if I’m unable to make a transition and make it into an electronic song, I probably will produce it acoustic because I’m making my music to be made with music videos, not to stand on its own.”

So what the new song he has planned?

His new song is darker, which is a departure from his usual style. “Darkness is cool, mystique is fun, but I like things that are more joyful, and my new thing is not joyful,” he says. “I’m okay with that because I already did something joyful,” Ewing says referring to the final version of “Traffic Jam”, which has a pop sound as opposed to the industrial sound of an earlier version of the song.

Keeping Things ‘Modern’

Sarah Hyland (Hayley) and Reid Ewing (Dylan) in Modern Family

Appearing in over 14 episodes since the series’ inception, Ewing doesn’t believe he’ll be promoted to series regular status on the award winning Modern Family.

“I don’t think so. I don’t think it makes sense. They already have six leads that they have to fit into a half hour, I don’t think I will ever become a series regular, and I am okay with that.”

Going deeper into the matter, he says “It’s kind of like if you win the lotto; it’s the difference between winning three million or a hundred million. It doesn’t really matter, you still randomly got this cool thing. I’d rather have what I have than have zero dollars. I’m fine where I am, and it’s nice to be able to do my own thing and have time to do my own thing.”

Ewing shares that he recently shot another episode for the series, and is thankful to the show’s producers for inviting him back.

“I think they’re doing such a great job. They know what they’re doing; it’s not my thing, it’s their thing.”

In The Future…

Besides a recurring gig on Modern Family, the rising star has other projects that will soon be making the airwaves.

The Truth Below, a television movie airing on MTV, will feature Ewing as a “really freakish sociopath.”

“I think it will be entertaining,” he says.

Sure to be another entertaining part: playing a small role in the upcoming film Fright Night as a stoner.

“I’m flattered they chose me to be a part of it all because I’m not exactly mainstream material, the fact that I would be in something that mainstream, I’m flattered, but they were very kind to me, they even wrote in an extra scene for me.”

With more projects on the way, and doing the things he enjoys, Ewing closes the interview with a little self reflection.

“I’m happy where I am. Hopefully some more interesting shit will come my way. Maybe a good relationship will come across in my fingers. I do have my goals, but they’re like petty ambitions.”

Accomplishing so much within the past few years, it seems those ambitions are anything but petty…

You can follow Reid on Twitter at @reidoing.

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Posted in: journalism