"woman on the verge : haylie ecker" | playboy, 2001

As one-fourth of the classically trained music group Bond, Haylie Ecker serves first violin duty. A native Australian, Ecker's an intense player who approaches her instrument with a passion usually found in musicians a bit older. While very serious about her craft, she also confesses a love for partying, high-speed driving and surfing the massive swells of her homeland.

Ecker's already enjoyed a career touring worldwide as a soloist, but it's her gig with Bond that has this green-eyed beauty excited. Although all four members have classical roots, the group incorporates everything from techno to salsa in their music (think Beethoven and Bach with the Dust Brothers producing). With a new album just released titled Born, these four hotties invaded the U.S. recently, and by the end of this year will have appeared everywhere from Good Morning America to the New York Stock Exchange.

Aside from posing nude on a beach for a photo that appeared in The London Sun, Ecker and the girls have no plans to take their tops off for the cameras anytime soon. But that doesn't mean these gorgeous gals aren't amazing to view even fully clothed. In addition to being natural beauties, Bond's music makes the stuffy classical genre sound a whole lot more fun.

Playboy.com: Is Bond like the classical version of the Spice Girls?

Haylie Ecker: Not really. People misunderstand...it's written on our website that our manager Mel Bush put us together, but Tania [Davis, viola] and I have known each other since we were 15, and Gay-Yee [Westerhoff, cello] and Eos [second violin] did session work together. So it was two sets of friends. Gay-Yee knew Mel because she's worked with Vanassae Mae who Mel also managed. So, he basically had the money, which makes things a lot easier when you have someone supporting you.

PB: What's the biggest misconception about classical musicians?

HE: That everyone wears black and that we're all uptight and that it's the kind of music reserved for an elite group of people. But it's amazing music that should be accessible to everyone. Most of the classical musicians I hang out with are outrageous.

PB: Do today's teens care about classical music, and will they help sustain it?

HE: Well, it's been around for so long -- I think people just need to be aware it's out there. For young kids it's viewed as not cool, plus your friends are listening to something else. I think the classical world needs to embrace a different way of marketing. People like Nigel Kennedy are doing that -- he did a concert for BBC, a Beethoven violin concerto, and he comes out in dreadlocks! So it's kind of loosening up a bit.

PB: Are there any rock musicians that are successfully using classical music?

HE: Björk. I just saw her movie Dancer in the Dark, and she wrote all the music, and it was so powerful.

PB: Bond uses sex appeal to sell its music. Have you received much heat because of it?

HE: People bring up the image thing, and it's true, but we don't have a stylist. We just dress ourselves in what feels comfortable, so it's a reflection of who we are as people. We don't go out to be sexy, it's just what we'd normally wear going out to a club.

PB: Well, we definitely like your look, but there must be some folks out there who have a problem with it.

HE: We were kicked off of the classical charts in England, which is strange when Pavarotti with U2 and certain film soundtracks like Titanic remain on them. We're a classical string quartet setup, we're influenced by classical music and a lot of our original tracks take small motifs from really well-known classical works, so when we got kicked out we thought maybe it was an image thing. What's ironic is that if you go into any CD shop in England, you'll find our album in both the classical and the pop section.

PB: Have you set a precedent for other female classical musicians to look hot and sexy?

HE: I think when someone is a performer it's a package. If you go to a concert there's a visual element too, which only gets you so far. But if you look at young women violinists today that are strictly classical, I'd say a majority of them, just because they're young, actually look quite cool. And they're incredible musicians who are not riding on image. It's fun to dress up and look cool and sexy, depending on what you're playing. Even if you're doing Brahms you'd dress differently than if you were playing some Bach. The music lends itself to that.

PB: And music can be very sexual in nature.

HE: It so is -- it takes you to a different world sometimes.

PB: What did you think of Linda Brava posing nude for Playboy?

HE: I was in Israel for a violin program, stuck for a month on a kibbutz in an intensive program, practicing four to five hours a day. Linda was there the year before me and the people who ran it, a very highbrow bunch, were so proud that she was in Playboy. One of my friends, a guy, was pulled over by the organizer and he was like, "Hey, look at what Linda's done!" She's getting a different audience than, say, if she posed for Vogue. Personally, I wouldn't do it unless I had complete approval of what went on.

PB: What's up with the nude picture of Bond in the Page 3 section of The London Sun?

HE: It wasn't Page 3...it was actually the centerfold! It was provocative, but nothing was showing. We were all sitting in a row with our legs crossed and holding our arms so you couldn't see anything. We didn't want that picture to go out in the first place because it was a bit wet.

PB: Wet!?

HE: Oops. That's the wrong word. It didn't have any edge. There was no personality or charisma behind it. We looked a bit lost and scared. But the Sun got hold of it in their usual way.

PB: No lawsuit?

HE: People were a bit upset, but no.

PB: What's the most sensual instrument to play?

HE: I play the violin and it's kind of sexy because it's an extension of your arm. I guess any instrument is sexy then.

PB: What about the tuba?

HE: No, the tuba's not sexy -- except that you have to blow really hard! The cello's incredibly suggestive because you're holding it between your legs. Gay-Yee gets that question quite often, and I think she likes it.

PB: How do you girls get along? Any catfights?

HE: No. We all get along really well. They're like my best friends, really, and I've never spent so much time with any other group of people. When we get tired people can get crabby, but we share the same sense of humor, so stuff ends up being funny. We chose the band's name because it's a friendship bond and a musical bond.

PB: Plus, people will associate the name with those sexy 007 girls.

HE: Yeah, we actually were watching a James Bond film and we were talking about it and the whole Spice Girls thing, and we were making fun of the names, Posh and Scary, and we were like, "You can be Honey Ryder and I'll be Pussy Galore!" Then it all just clicked.

PB: Do you like to party?

HE: Yeah, when you're working really hard it's nice to also meet new people and have some fun. We can't do it every night. But this is a fun lifestyle and something you probably couldn't enjoy when you turn 40.

PB: Who's the wildest girl in the group?

HE: Gay-Yee. I end up going out with her a lot because the other two will go to bed, and she's a huge flirt. She's also the oldest one in the group and has the most experience. She's very sexy. Then it's probably Eos, who is the youngest, but she's married, which I think makes it more attractive for guys. They wonder if she'll stray.

PB: What do you look for in a guy?

HE: I love inner confidence, and you can see that immediately sometimes in the way they walk or talk around people. If I'm going to go for anything superficial, it's their hands. I like sexy hands.

PB: So a guy with warts on his hands doesn't stand a chance.

HE: Not unless he's an incredibly nice person with a great sense of humor.

PB: We understand you like to drive. What's your dream car?

HE: I'd have to say a Jaguar. I like something that picks speed up quickly, is fun to drive and is low to the ground.

PB: What's the fastest you've ever driven?

HE: I went 150 kilometers [93 mph] an hour once. I have this auntie whose husband collects Porsches, and we borrowed one so she could drive me to a show in Switzerland from Austria. We were on the autobahns and she got to about 220 kilometers [137 mph] an hour -- that was really cool.

PB: Were you scared at any point?

HE: Yeah, but I love fear. That's half the fun of it.

- from playboy.com

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