Sunday, May 7, 2017
A Ripple Conversation With Elias of The Flying Eyes
When I was a kid, growing up in a house with Cat Stevens, Neil Diamond, and Simon and Garfunkel, the first time I ever heard Kiss's "Detroit Rock City," it was a moment of musical epiphany. It was just so vicious, aggressive and mean. It changed the way I listened to music. I've had a few minor epiphany's since then, when you come across a band that just brings something new and revolutionary to your ears.
What have been your musical epiphany moments?
Conversely, it was the first time I heard Simon and Garfunkel. As and adolescent I was listening to a lot of shitty music of the time, nu-metal, rap-metal, top 40 hip-hop. I stumbled across my Dad's Simon and Garfunkel "Greatest Hits" and it just froze me in my tracks. Especially "The Sounds of Silence"...I'd never heard music that struck such a deep emotional chord, through the beauty of melody and the intensity of the lyrics. Yes it was mostly acoustic but it was the heaviest thing I had ever heard...But I will agree with you, that the first time I heard Neil Diamond I almost vomited.
Talk to us about the song-writing process for you. What comes first, the idea? A riff? The lyrics? How does it all fall into place?
Well purely from a drummers perspective, when the song is coming together I hear a rhythm in my head. It's very distant at first, just a pulse but as the song becomes more and more finished, I sculpt my drum parts to the shape of the song in a way that I hope best compliments it. Sometimes I have ideas for riffs and melodic changes that I hum to the other guys. The lyrics almost always come last because for us the instrumental music informs the feeling and meaning of the song.
In this age of political absurdity and social upheaval, I find anger to be very motivating.
You have one chance, what movie are you going to write the soundtrack for?
I would love to write the soundtrack/score for a classic horror movie i.e. The Shining, Rosemary's Baby, The Texas Chainsaw Massacre. Or even Get Out the best film I've seen all year, which had an awesome score...
You now write for a music publication (The Ripple Effect?). You're going to write a 1,000 word essay on one song. Which would it be and why?
Jimi Hendrix's "1983 (A Merman I should Be)". To me it's one of the most fascinating, psychedelic masterpieces of all time. It's one of a few songs that truly takes you to another dimension, through very deliberate studio fuckery and of course master musicianship.
Come on, share with us a couple of your great, Spinal Tap, rock and roll moments?
Well there was that time where we were booked for a one off festival in India and arrived at the airport exactly 24 hours late...And then later that trip we were legitimately stranded in India for over 24 hours with no way to get home. It would have been funny if it wasn't such a financial hit...
Tell us about playing live and the live experience for you and for your fans?
Playing live makes all the bullshit of being in a band worth it. On a good night it can become a sort of healing musical therapy for the performers and the audience. On a bad night, well you gotta try and fake it at least.
What makes a great song?
Well of course I could write an essay about this, but nobody wants to read that, so I'll say this: Any collection of sounds that captures truth and beauty, that's surprising yet inevitable, that grabs you by the soul and refuses to let go.
One of the first songs The Flying Eyes ever wrote, and the first we ever release was "Lay With Me", which also turned out to be our most popular. I think we were listening to a lot of Dead Meadow at the time and I know my drum groove is feeding off that. I wrote those lyrics from the perspective of a character who can only experience love through sexual desire and possession. I didn't want to become that person, but it was definitely something I was battling at the time. We had a great time making that recording and I think it really shows. We brought in our friend Robert Karpay, who recorded a brilliant cello part during the bridge that takes the song to a whole new level. And Adam's guitar solo in the end, we stole it from a live take we had done before, slowed parts of it down, put parts in reverse, pretty much fucked it up six ways from Sunday until it sounded how we wanted it.
What piece of your music are particularly proud of?
It's a pretty strange song for us but I'm really proud of "Alive In Time" off Lowlands. It's a definite departure from most of our music, but I think it's pretty haunting. It also features our producer at the time, Rob Girardi playing a midi mellotron app on his phone...because we were all stoned and it seemed like a good idea at the time...and no one could ever tell the difference. Also some really cool bowed saw playing form Adam on that track.
Who today, writes great songs? Who just kicks your ass? Why?
On our last European tour we shared the stage with a really awesome Israeli band from our agency called Ouzo Bazooka. And there last album Simoom really blew me away. So catchy, psychedelic and heavy at the same time, with a Middle Eastern edge that I'm a sucker for: https://youtu.be/Scw5NY6qFz8
Vinyl, CD, or digital? What's your format of choice?
Not to be a cliche audiophile, but definitely vinyl sounds if the record is in good condition. But I'm also perfectly happy listening to CDs or high quality audio files...Fuck mp3s.
Whiskey or beer? And defend your choice..
Overall I tend to enjoy beer more often, especially when it's ice cold on a hot day and you've been walking under the sun. But coming in from a cold winter night, a fine scotch is a liquid to be reckoned with.
We, at the Ripple Effect, are constantly looking for new music. What's your home town, and when we get there, what's the best record store to lose ourselves in?
Sound Garden, Fells Point, Baltimore, Maryland, USA, Earth is the address.
What's next for the band?
After about 4 years, we finally have a new electric album coming out this fall...Details coming soon.
Any final comments or thoughts you'd like to share with our readers, the waveriders?
This band kills fascists.