If you can Collaborate with any magician dead or alive, who would it be?
I’d have to say Fred Kaps. He is probably my all time favorite magician. He inspired countless generations. As a matter of fact, his unique style was so intriguing to a lawyer from Spain that he wrote a book on his thoughts about magic after seeing Kaps. The book is called the Structural Conception of Magic by a guy named Ascanio, yeah like THE Ascanio.
Did not know that, interesting!
Ascanio was so moved by Fred Kaps and his magic it forced him to go back and look at magic as a whole. He recorded his thoughts and that became the The Structural Conception of Magic, which is one of the BEST, if not the best book on magic theory available today. AS we all know, Ascanio inspired Tamariz and Tamariz inspired the world. None of it would be possible without Fred Kaps.
Wow! Just to say Eric I respect your coin work and card work, what made you start with coins?
You know the first trick I saw when I walked into a magic shop in Virginia was a guy who had a brilliant version of Dime and Penny. I was baffled and curious all that the same time. But I was a broke kid. I couldn’t afford any of the magic in the shop, so i went home with a jar, some pennies and dimes and tried to reconstruct the effect the best i could. with no knowledge of sleight of hand or anything. I created a method, and went back to the magic shop weeks later with the method i just created.
What did the Magic Shop Owner Think of your method?
The magic shop owner, who’s name is hun woo laughed at my method saying it was ridiculous and shared how the trick worked. He sold me the dime and penny, a copy of bobos, 5 sponges, Michael Ammars Introduction to Coin Magic video (no DVDS back then) and a spongeball vhs as well.
I studied Bobo’s for 6 years meticulously noting points of interest. I performed as much as i could for whoever would watch. It was the start of a wonderful love affair with coins that’s still strong today.
Tell us a little bit about your process of creating.
The creative process. I’ve said in many interviews that I’m not a creative magician. Everything that I’ve ever published was derived from something that has come before. There’s an old saying, “We stand on the shoulders of giants..” or something like that. My thing is performing published works that seem to be a good fit for my character and style of performance and perform as is. My spectators, usually give me clues on how to change the routine to be a bit better by a) comments they say b) their reaction to certain points of the routine or c) their ability to be fooled by the magic/method/misdirection.
I examine my performances and try to find ways to make the magic moments more potent. Sometimes i’ll find something that fits from another performer. At rare times, I”ll find something by chance that hasn’t been in print before through careful examination and performance trial and error.
Have you ever gotten to see Bobo perform?
I have to be honest. I never got to see Bobo perform. From what I understand, he passed on well before I got into magic. I’ve studied his Kids Magic video from Stevens Emporium and I’ve read articles about him, but never had the pleasure. How are you by the way? Guys if you don’t know Lonnie Chevrie, make it a point to pick up all of his magic. He’s one of the best close up guys working today!
If you were asked to perform one trick and one trick only, what effect would you do?
IF you asked me to perform on trick and one trick only, I would have to say it would be the version of Alan Rorrison’s Smoke that I do along with the pen production that I do. It has all the elements of good drama, and has a great build up for lay audiences.
My second favorite is Oxy Clean Coin Routine. If you want to establish yourself as a magician for a group, I do believe Oxy Clean will do it for you. I’ve gotten more gigs with that one effect than spongeballs!
Do you ever trick shop keepers with coins when you are paying for stuff?
I got advice from Jeff McBride years ago who told me he would keep a trick he was working on by his door to perform for delivery men. I took this to heart and always have something i’m toying with ready for the pizza man or Chinese delivery. Hardly ever with coins because I don’t want anyone thinking I’ll cheat them out of money.
At what age did you turn full time? What made you decide to turn pro?
Great question! I was working for an insurance company and had been doing shows, lectures and such for a few years. I hated my job, and noticed that i was making more money doing what I loved on the side than I was working for a Fortune 20 company. So I asked my girlfriend at the time if she would give me 6 months to give it a shot, she was reluctant but agreed. I said YOLO and left the company.That was in 2009. Best decision I’ve ever made… well second best decision, saying yes to hanging with you guys at Full Circle Magic tonight was the first! wink wink
Thank you so much, you’re too kind.
With 7 billion people on the planet, it’s impossible to be completely original. I was wondering, what are your favorite types of venues? And do you prefer close-up over the stage?
I agree. Being completely original is next to impossible. but then again, originality is all about perspective. you may have seen something before, but there’s a crap ton of people who haven’t. To them you’re the best thing they’ve ever seen before, even though you’re just doing hot rod and a thumb tip. My favorite venues are those where people aren’t expecting magic. Cocktail parties, pubs, clubs, and other social functions. You can create true moments of astonishment on the offbeat where they can be the most potent.
What advice can you give to those who create effects, who are looking to get noticed for the first time?
I do have a little advice for those who create hoping to get attention. My advice is going to be BRUTALLY honest. IF you are creating magic hoping to get famous, you’re doing it for the wrong reasons and should quit while you’re ahead. You will be doing a disservice to yourself and the magic community to continue. Allow me to qualify my statement…
Magic is a performance art/craft. It’s meant to be shared with people. Magic doesn’t happen in your hands, it happens in the minds of the onlooker or participant/s. Without them you’re just practicing. Your goal should always (and this is just my opinion) be to create the strongest moment for your AUDIENCE you can. IF you happen to be blessed enough that your work stands out, you will get noticed without having to seek it out. Others will seek YOU out. It takes time, patience and determination. Don’t strive to be a master, strive to be the best STUDENT of magic you can be!
Well said Eric! Which is more difficult to learn? Coin or card magic?
I’ve always felt there is a NATURAL progression to learning sleight of hand. In my honest opinion, coin magic should always be first. WHY? In coin magic you learn how to palm, how to be natural, how to pantomime and how to lie when you’re guilty. Think about it. In coin magic, you have no where to run. Its just you and a couple of coins vs. your audience. You can’t retreat behind 52 little objects. Its either in your hand or it ain’t. So mastering a natural palm, vanish, establishing natural body language etc make the difference between sinking and swimming
The next step, to me would be to move to card magic where you learn how to tell a story with magic, how to really present an effect and things like that. Yet to answer which is harder to learn? I’d have to say coin magic. The evidence is in the number of people who practice coins vs. cards.
Thank you, do you have any plans to return to perform at the Magic Castle?
Yes, I’ll be back to the Castle. Jack just emailed me last night. I’ll be early close up Dec. 9-15th
Awesome! Any thoughts on the silver dollar size vs. half dollar size coins school of thought? Other than depends on the size of your hand?
Another great question. Aside from the size of your hands there are tons of ways to decide if you should use half dollars vs. silver dollars. I think its important to examine the routine to see if it requires a certain size coins. No one is going to do the Drobina routine from Bobo’s with Dollar pieces. The most important idea though check your comfort level with both by examining each. Play with the coins in the context of some of the routines you’re working on to see which fits the best.
It’s also important to consider your working conditions. IF you’re working close up, you may feel more comfortable with halves. IF you’re working Parlor or stage, you’ll most likely want to use dollars. I personally carry both halves and dollars, so I can be prepared for any situation.
Who has truly fooled you recently?
I still get fooled so often its hard to say whose done it the most recently. I’d have to say I got fooled by my buddy Woody Aragon who showed the coolest effect with torn pieces of a card.
Which is the hardest routine you feel you had to learn?
The hardest routine I’ve learned, do you mean as far as technique is concerned, or the most difficult to seem magical? I don’t think i’m the kind of magician who can perform a sequence of difficult moves back to back without motivation and still make it seem natural. I don’t mind hard technique. I will work it until the hard becomes easy, and the easy becomes magical, but motivating is usually the hardest for me.
I’ve been working on a routine where a sandwich with two face down sandwich cards and a face up selection visually change to a royal flush in spades. Its a difficult sequence to perform, but even harder to motivate. Still working on it, but i think its coming along…..
Could you divulge what sort of effects will be made possible with the ‘gaff deck you’ve collaborated on with Calen Morelli and Daniel Madison?
I won’t talk about the gaff system other than to say that it’s a unique gaffed deck that really took me out of my comfort zone and forced me to create effects i’d only dreamed of before. collaborating with DM and CM was amazing. Both are very nice guys who have a strong passion for what they do. They are as goofy as I am behind the scenes but work hard to stay true to their unique branding. I consider them both excellent magicians, am lucky to call both friends and colleagues.
I’ll just start saving for it now then… What is coming next Eric?
You mean in life or in magic? In life my sons birthday is coming up. His 1st birthday party is this Saturday. I’m really looking forward to that. In magic I’m working with Murphys on dozens of seriously amazing magic from a combination of well established performers and some virtually unheard of talents. All of whom will blow your socks off with their upcoming releases.
Did you hire a magician for your sons party?
I’ll be honest. I don’t want a magician performing at his party. I’ll give you a bit more honesty. I don’t think i’ll be doing any magic for him until he’s much older. Maybe 11 or 12.
He’s at an age where everything he sees is magic. I’ll save my stupid tricks until the world isn’t so magical to him.
Wow, where do you see yourself in 10 years with your magic?
I hope to be ALIVE in 10 years, god willing. But my plans are to have an event planning company thriving by that time. Possibly having had a bit of success on TV here in America. I hope to be healthy and happy, holding my future wife’s hand on one side and a deck of cards in the other
I’d like to take a moment to give you guys a way to spark creativity, if that’s your bag…
By all means!
I’ve talked about this before, but here it is again. Take a book on magic you’ve NEVER read before. Open the book and look at the first trick. Read ONLY the description. You know, the part that tells you what the spectator would see if you were doing this live. Close your eyes and imagine it again. Then close the book. Think of how you would accomplish this with your current skill-set. Create a method that works. Only once you have a viable method will you re-open the book and read the method published in the book. Compare notes. How close did you get to the original method. what are the advantages to your method? disadvantages? You might find you like the published effect better. Then again, You may find that you’ve created something worth exploring.
Thank you for that Eric!
Next, wondering what you feel is the most important aspect of you close up work as far as the spectator is concerned.
The most important aspect is connection with your audience. You know the two old adages, if they like you, they will like your magic, and people want to feel they’ve been fooled by a gentleman. Both are correct in the sense that developing a rapport with your audience allows them to let you into their bubble so you are on their level. I have being talked to or lectured. But if someone in my circle says the same thing it is more likely to resonate with me.
So likability is the number one trait a magician should posses?
I would have to say yes. When you think about magicians, which do you think of first? The magic the guys performed, or how he made you feel in his presence? For me, the FIRST thing is the performer himself. Dani Da Ortiz with the finger licking thing, Henry Evans and his infectious smile. Jon Armstrong and his sharp wit. The magic always falling secondary.
Well that’s all over our time, Thank you to Eric Jones and thank you to Laura Eisele and to all the members for attending and let’s all keep the magic alive!
I just want to say thank you all for hanging out with me tonight. Lets give a big virtual hand to Laura who tirelessly puts these things together and works so hard to insure their success!
Eric Jones on the web: