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Five of The Eyes Interview
Band – Five of the Eyes
Country of Origin – USA
Genre – Progressive Rock
Author – Mannerheim
Thank you for taking the time to answer these questions. I know you all must be busy with the gearing up for the release of the upcoming LP.
1. Up until now you have only released two EPs, and those were independently released. What made you feel that the time was right to not only record a full album, but to also spend the money for professional producing and mastering?
None of us had ever made a pro LP before, so it was just something we wanted really badly to do. Also we made the decision in the middle of a pretty prolific writing period, so for the first time we felt like we had enough good material to put out a full-length.
2. Musically these songs sound like a cohesive statement, that they belong together. Is there a lyrical theme as well that places these songs together in a collection?
Not so much lyrically. Each song stands on its own and has its own lyrical theme, but there is an overarching theme to the album, which is the idea of searching for one thing and finding another. When you apply that idea to music, it’s about being open to ideas that might not align with your own vision. Since all five of us contribute to the songwriting, we’ve all had to come to terms with that at one point or another, and it’s helped us grow and learn as songwriters.
3. There are many varied and successful ways that bands have written music; from putting music to finished lyrics to writing as a group section by section. What is the main process that you use to write songs?
We start with instrumentals first. Darrell (lead vocals) is sometimes there for that process, but not always. A lot of days that shit is really boring for him because the rest of us are playing the same section over and over to iron out all of our parts. We have a basic recording setup at our rehearsal studio, and we just record snapshots of songs as they develop and send them over to Darrell at the end of each session. He gives us notes – usually on which parts inspire him the most, which should be longer/shorter, etc. – and we adjust accordingly. Meanwhile he’s recording vocal ideas in parallel at his place and sending us demos for our feedback. Rinse and repeat until everyone is happy with the arrangement.
4. Some of these songs give off a King Crimson-y vibe, like the song Passenger. How much have classic prog bands influenced your music, and what bands are your major influences?
We definitely get into King Crimson, Yes, Rush, Zappa, and others to some extent, but the classic prog influence isn’t as big as you might think. Diehard fans of classic prog rock might be a little disappointed by our lack of knowledge of the genre, to be honest.
5. In my research I have found many reviewers equating your sound with The Mars Volta and Jeff Buckley. Does it frustrate you when critics pigeon hole your sound to a specific band or genre, like I just did in the previous question? Does being labeled a Prog band have as negative an effect as many people suggest?
The Volta thing is mostly because of our first EP which had a lot of Omar-esque guitar playing, but we think you’d be hard pressed to make that comparison with our new record. Having said all that, we do love that band and Jeff Buckley, so we take it as a compliment. We’re probably labeled prog because we play a lot of odd meter stuff, but that’s not something that’s exclusive to prog music. We just see it as another compositional element that’s underutilized in most music, and it makes things interesting and fun to play. At the end of the day we see ourselves as a rock band.
6. Many older musicians, such as Steven Van Zandt, say that the moment they saw the Beatles perform on the Ed Sullivan Show, they knew they wanted to be professional musicians. Have any of you had “that moment”, and if so, what was it?
Pretty much any show we go to has that effect on us. Every time we see a band we love doing what they love, it’s a kick in the pants and a reminder of what our goal is.
7. Returning to the album, you created an Indiegogo campaign to help recoup some of the expenses of recording and manufacturing this album. Where did this idea come from?
Lots of our peers are doing it nowadays – our touring mates In The Presence of Wolves, our buddies in the Boston-based band GEPH, to name a couple. Making a record is not cheap, and if you don’t have the support of a label you need to pony up for the recording, mixing, mastering, and physical copies yourself. Allowing people to order the record before its release puts some cash in your pocket ahead of time and softens the blow of those expenses.
8. Would you recommend this method to other independent bands to help with the expenses of recording and producing?
Definitely. The most important thing is to be really proactive about spreading the word throughout the campaign via social media, email, etc. You really need to pester people.
9. I know you must answer this question a lot, but here goes anyway. Where did the name Five Of The Eyes come from and who came up with it?
Pete (drums) came up with it. It refers to the mind’s eye, which is one’s imagination. We are a 100% democratic band – meaning there is no one person doing all the songwriting – so our process is a collaboration between five imaginations, or Five of the Eyes.
10. You hail from the great state of Maine. Now, great Prog Rock is not exactly synonymous with Maine, but I have never been. So tell me, what is the music scene really like in Portland?
It’s a small city and the scene is very eclectic. That combination makes it hard for a scene of any one genre to really take root, but it’s pretty cool that you can find people making great music of all styles in such a small city. There are a lot of great venues and people love live music here.
11. How did you guys come together? Were you all part of the scene already and decided to join forces…?
Pete and Ned have played in bands together since high school. We started playing together with Tom in college and moved to Portland after graduation. Then Tim moved to town and the four of us started jamming and writing music. We had seen Darrell’s band play and thought he was a great singer and a pretty bitchin’ dancer so we sent him a shitty demo we had recorded. Within two hours he had written and recorded his whole vocal part for the song and sent it back. That’s how we wrote our first song, “Isabella”.
12. I know that Tim and Thomas are brothers. It seems that with every successful brother duo in a band, like the DeLeos (Stone Temple Pilots), there are two that fail, like the Robinsons (Black Crowes) and the Gallaghers (Oasis). What are some of the challenges of sharing a creative space, let alone van space, with a sibling?
Honestly they probably get along best out of any two dudes in the band.
13. You currently have a month long Midwest tour scheduled in support of this album for the month of October. Do you have any other tour plans that are still in the formative stages? And what are your thoughts of joining a tour as an opener?
We’re currently in the strategic planning stages for a 2018 tour. Possibly West Coast, possibly Europe. We’re very open to the idea of jumping on a tour as an opener. If anyone knows someone in the Queens of the Stone Age camp, hit us on the DMs!
14. Aside from the aforementioned tour and album release, is there anything else that you would like to share with all your fans out there?
A huge thank you to everyone who contributed to the pre-sale campaign or came out to our release show! Also we just launched a new online store on our website with brand new merch designs and physical copies of The Venus Transit so check it out!
15. Again, thanks for your time on this. I really enjoy your album and it has been on the daily playlist for the last few weeks. If you ever come to Michigan give us a heads up. I would love to attend and review one of your shows.
Thanks so much for the opportunity! We will definitely keep you in mind when we get up that way.