Eyeball is a collective of beings from Raleigh, NC who use guitars, drums, synthesizers, effects, noise, and feedback to conjure up their own brand of psychedelic neo-space rock.
They have released two videos directed by Josh Sokal, “Acid War” and the music-film “Inside The Moon” as well the 4-song EP produced by Jeff Eacho titled Paradox of Eternal Limits.
In this interview spotlight, we chat with the band about influences, staying the course, challenges, the latest release and more.
Full Q&A along with links and streams below.
Where are you from and what style of music do you create?
EYEBALL formed around a coffee shop table in Raleigh NC initially as a sound-art project with the only direction being anything goes without adopting a prefabricated “blueprint” music genre and focus on creating music that attempts to transcend genre and become its own thing. I’m sure a lot of bands make that same sort of claim, and we’re not completely free of our influences either, but we all have a collaborative vision of trying to steer clear of easily categorized music that we notice a lot of bands adopting with both style and image, we also try to outdo ourselves with every song we write and make each one a complete 360 from the one before it so as to not paint ourselves in a corner and repeat ourselves. But, because we are kind of underground and like freaking out with effects we get labeled as playing “experimental psychedelic” music, which is fine by us because the parameters are so broad, people seem to have a need to categorize things to explain and comprehend them and we’re ok with that comparison, it’s an apt description. Only problem with this approach we’ve run into is that one song isn’t enough to encapsulate what we’re about because our music has to be heard spread out across several pieces to even begin the scope of what we’re attempting, our live set and EP sounds more like a compilation than a work from just one group.
What led you down this path of music and what motivates you to stay the course?
Up until EYEBALL, I had been joining bands that were already established and had lost their drummer for whatever reason, which was usually the same scenario – learn their material, get the band back on its feet, and then after some time actually begin to write new material with them. Because I wasn’t in the band at its inception I was basically playing parts written by my predecessor and adapting myself to their style until I got to create new music with the band and write my own parts, but for the most part I was fine with it because that’s how that job goes. Over the years I noticed a lot of bands (not all) were pretty much just mimicking styles that were already established, that does make music easier to classify and has its advantages, but what happens is that it creates a lot of bands in a particular music scene all more or less doing the same things stylistically, so I found myself getting bored with all that. How many times have you seen a band play for the first time and by the third song felt like you’ve already heard them before? Time and time again I would look around and wonder how these bands enjoy imitating something that has already been done many times over. So after playing in countless blues, rock, metal, cover and tribute bands I suddenly found myself bandless and sitting at home on a Saturday night plotting my next move. Should I join another band? Do I want to join another established act that is already up and running? Join a cover band and make a little spending money? Then I thought about how I am lucky to have a totally clean slate and pondered what it is I’ve always wanted to do, if I could put a startup band together what would be like? So I did, I just really thought about it and realized I always wanted to play music that was a bit weird and not concerned with the norm and stay away from trends because they come and go. I’ve always liked effects-driven music, there are so many really cool effects out these days to use and I hear a lot of players only use them sparingly whereas I wanted to really max them out and hear what they could do. So with that as a starting point I contacted a guitarist and bass player who I knew would understand what I had in mind, it couldn’t be more perfect. The keyboardist was a little harder to find so we were a three-piece for a time, its not as common of an instrument but we did eventually find one from running a local ad. We all sing to some degree too, depending on the song and we have an equal amount of instrumental stuff going on to balance out the set.
How is your new release different than previous ones? Did you set out to accomplish anything specific?
We just released our first EP, “Paradox of Eternal Limits”. In the studio we worked with producer Jeff Eacho and wanted to bring him more “song” oriented material and leave the arty-freakout stuff for the stage, but Eacho Sound Lab has so many cool bells and whistles to play with we couldn’t help ourselves and gave each of these songs some wonderful psychedelic sounds of their own. Our live show is a different animal than our recordings, we don’t try to replicate every nuance, and that’s a conscious decision. We go into the studio with no preconceived notion of having to pull anything off live and let the recordings take on a life of their own and be intentional “studio productions”, then once they’re down we create live interpretations of those recordings, we just try to make the best recording we can and use the studio itself as an instrument. I do like bands that can sound exactly like their albums, but I also like ones that extend parts, change things around, and give the live show it’s own experience. We released the EP after only having played our first show, we were told that we should wait until we play out more so we’ll have an actual audience to sell them to when it hits the street, but we felt we didn’t want to tour around empty handed and aren’t really concerned with profit at this point, obscurity is more of an obstacle in the beginning so we created this EP to spread around as we go.
Do you face challenges as an indie musician in a digital age? How has technology helped you (assuming it helps)?
The main thing is trying to be heard above all the noise and the other billions of bands crawling over each other for attention, the internet has leveled the playing field but also created an audience with an extremely short attention span. Seems like anyone can release an album now regardless of quality, and those that do have something worthwhile to offer find it very crowded. Those challenges surely have always existed, but the entire music biz was turned upside down with the internet and now the DIY bands have been let loose, I do feel sorry for the industry people that get bombarded, but I’ve done my share of knocking on inboxes too. I just keep sending out these digital messages in a bottle and see which ones come back, most don’t, but some do. The digital age is a great thing in some ways and not in others like anything else, but what is a band to do? Networking is part of the game, every great band started at ground zero and had to get their hands dirty to make themselves known, so we’re out there doing the same thing hoping we can at least do our best at it, it has helped us reach people we never would have otherwise and will probably never meet face to face, it’s a continuous process, the hustle never ends.
Where can we connect with you online and discover more music?
Everything is on our website [www.eyeball-band.com], we also have all the relevant social media sites as well, the links can be found on the website’s homepage. I resisted having more than one social media site in the beginning so I won’t get bogged down but realized some are vital and if used for their strengths they all serve slightly different purposes, so we make sure each site has its own identity and don’t duplicate content to keep them individually interesting unless something needs to be spread across them all.
Anything else before we sign off?
We’ve already released one EP and two music videos, but this is just the beginning for EYEBALL, we spent our first year in the rehearsal space fine-tuning our live show before performing it for the public, we construct our live show to be one long continuous piece of music which has gone over very well from the reaction we’ve received. We’re now working on our next live piece, it’s only half-completed at this point and shows how much we’ve evolved since the first one. We have another video concept in mind as well and are currently working with our producer and director to begin work on that soon which will be something quite different from our first two. This band is a constant art project work in progress that strives to not repeat itself and to always explore the boundaries of our collective creativity using whatever is available to us at the time, something we will continue to anatomize and unearth as we go. Being free of genre restrictions is the beauty of this band and having freedom to flourish is the driving force behind our collective goal, stay tuned for the next emergence of EYEBALL, we will always keep growing and exploring new ground.