I had the privilege to meet with Andrew and James of Eidola before their tour kickoff with Oranges and Vis in Seattle last week. We talked about all sorts of topics ranging from their growth and the public reception to “Degeneraterra”, the impact online music groups has had on them, conceptual questions, and when they were hoping to have vinyl ready for the masses. They are incredibly nice and well spoken dudes and put on one of the best shows I’ve seen in a long time. Check out the interview below and as an added bonus I’ve included some footage from their set as well!
Brandon: Last time you guys were here you were you were opening for the Allomaternal Tour. How does it feel to go from supporting your friends and label mates Stolas to playing the same venue, so far away from home, as a headliner?
Andrew: “It feels great, yeah, it’s awesome. Especially last time we played this venue in particular we played the small stage, the one on the other side. So we’re excited to play the big room and it’s cool, it’s cool to see cause this is the second time we’ve ever played Seattle. So It’s cool to be able to make that transition in a relatively short amount of time. Which is cool, what about you James?”
James: “I’m just excited that we’re able to come out and do this with bands that we really like as well. We have Vis and Oranges on this tour. So it’s cool to have some people that we can take out like Stolas did for us.”
B: Awesome, so I know you guys asked for recommendations awhile ago as far as stuff to listen to on the road. Did you guys find anything awesome that you’ve been jamming?
A: “Yeah, The Contortionist was recommended a couple of times and just some random heavy ass bands, which is cool we listen to a lot of different stuff.
J: “On the way up here we’ve listened to everything from Kanye, Adele, Circa Survive like a huge variety of things.”
A: “The standards and yeah it’s been cool to see so many people give their opinions on it. It’s exactly what I wanted, was to see exactly what’s out there. So I know we’ll dig into it. It’s day one so I’m planning on referencing that list quite a bit for the rest of the tour. Just finding new bands. The Contortionist was cool, Erra‘s new record was pretty good. I was definitely a fan of that. We’ve been burning through new Saosin a lot. We were bumping Oranges on the way over here too.”
B: What were your favorite albums of 2015?
A: “So many good records, The Ongoing Concept was one for me. That was for sure a top album of the year.”
J: “That record was really good. Was the last DGD release last year?”
A: Yeah “Instant Gratification” was last year.
J: “Instant Gratification” was great.
A: “Yeah it was a solid album, I think that one would have to be in my top 5 just because I’ve had to play it so much this year with Dance Gavin Dance. Just learning it inside out, cause I like listening to music for a lot of different elements but listening to DGD for the second guitar is not something I do on the regular. Just learning the parts and getting a better understanding of how that album works.
J: “Wake” came out last year didn’t it?”
A: “No it came out 2014, same with “Allomaternal”.”
J: “Oh ,I’ve got my timelines off.”
A: “Yeah, there were great records last year, “Pilot Waves” came out last year. Which was a great record, definitely one of my tops as well.”
B: Since you mentioned playing with Dance Gavin Dance, this is for you specifically Andrew. How has it been filling in on second guitar and have there been any fan interactions with people who know you from Eidola and then were surprised to see you with DGD?
A: “It’s super bizarre. It’s actually really surreal to play with those guys cause I’ve known Will for awhile now because of the label and all that shit. Like playing with them for such large audiences and getting in that groove with them is really cool. I did all the meet and greets with them, just to get some fan exposure and meet some of the people that are fans of them. Which was cool cause at almost every one I would have someone that would come up and be like “Oh you’re in that Eidola band I’m a big fan of you guys!” and it’d be like 1 out of every 40 people. It was cool to interact with them outside of shows and get their perspective on things too. Ways we can push the band in different directions. Yeah, It’s been really fun. I’ve really enjoyed working with DGD because they have a great work ethic and they’re good dudes. They’re fun guys to hang out with too.”
B: And then a total 180 from that, you guys and the rest of the Blue Swan fam are fairly active in Hemisphere (an online music group), just either personally or as a band. Do you think that has had an impact on the growth of Eidola after that huge pushing of “Degeneraterra” happened?
A: “I would say so for sure.”
J: “Yes, I would say that most of the things that I see that are in reference to us happened in Hemisphere. So I definitely think a lot of people picked up our music through people in there who are already with us. So yeah, that’s been a really great group for us I feel like it definitely helped a lot of Blue Swan bands immensely for sure.”
A: “Yeah I stay active in those groups too cause I like the idea of Hemisphere being a community of people within this vein of music. It’s getting harder and harder to get the word out about good bands and get people to listen to them. So to have a semi undiluted environment to just have people to voice their opinions about music and have us be prevalent in that as well as some of the other Blue Swan people is awesome. I love being able to post in there and just read and comment about what people are doing, cause most of the time it’s pretty positive. Sometimes it’s a commenting shit show. But most of the time it’s good.”
J: “That’s the internet.”
B: As more of a personal note, have you guys drawn any inspiration from bands or just fan interactions thanks to hemisphere?
A: I mean for me, talking to people that like our music is a big, big part of it. I like getting insight especially from people who’ve seen us a couple of times. I’m always looking for ways we can improve our methods. As far as new bands, I think again playing with DGD has definitely influenced some of my writing in particular. Just being able to do some things differently that I never thought of. Through learning songs off of so many records and Will’s writing, and Zack’s writing, and Martin’s writing you get all these different guitar players with all these different styles. So it’s been cool for me to kinda pick some good habits up out of those styles and incorporate them into Eidola’s writing. But everyone’s been listening to different shit to bring to the table on the next record.
J: “Well, you always hope!”
B: Well yeah, haha.
A: “Yeah you always hope.”
J: “You always hope, but with the internet being what it is you always have to kind of steel yourself. Be prepared for what’s going to happen. So it was amazing to see all the positive feedback that we’ve gotten on “Degeneraterra”. It’s been a really great experience to see people from all over the place, people you’ve never even met, talking about your music. It’s a really humbling experience and we were very, very happy to see how it was received.”
A: “Yeah, I would agree with that. I was especially surprised by the critic reviews of it, in terms of actual criticism from established people that critique music. It got overwhelmingly positive reviews from a critic standpoint in multiple countries. Which is so cool to see cause we spent all this time on it. As any musician knows, as you would know, you spend all this time, and this money, and this effort. We just bought this van, this brand new van for fucking $20,000!”
J: “Too much.”
A: “Yeah, way too much money. But It’s because we love playing music, we love being able to express ourselves, and we love being able to do that with people that are on the same page as us. That is what I feel is the most overwhelmingly positive thing: that people care about it as much as we care about it out there. Regardless of how many, you can always compare bands across the board. You can be U2 status or this guy playing this basement show. But the fact that there’s anyone out there that likes what we do is really helpful.”
B: So I know you guys have been writing the new album. Is there anything you can say about it being a full concept album, like “Degeneraterra”, or if there’s going to be smaller concepts within it?
J: “With “Degeneraterra” Andrew and myself specifically really discussed a lot about the concept and what we wanted with it and fleshed it out a lot. This time around we didn’t want to be so specifically within one overarching design. We wanted to have a little more freedom to be where we needed to be. So I kinda took a step back on that. I let Andrew kinda go with what he was feeling lyrically. So he is really shaping most of the motifs on the record, the concepts. So I’ll let him talk about what he’s been specifically doing with that.”
A: “I’m super excited for this record. I’m just beyond proud of the writing. We’ve been writing it for awhile. Just because the process for “Degeneraterra” took a little longer than we anticipated we had some buffer time to just get started right away. What I can say about the new record is we have some studio time in the works right now in the fall with Drew Owens in Sacramento. So I’m not gonna say any months cause it’s not paid for yet. But yes, It’s booked for the fall. Basically we’re gonna go out, we have quite a few songs written for a full length, we’re gonna try to narrow it down while in the studio. Which we’ve never done before. Both of our records have been concept records where we’ve had a set number of tracks and a set overarching concept to stick to like James kind of touched on. This record definitely still maintains conceptual relevance for sure. It’s still technically a concept record in terms of the lyrical content. I’m giving Matt a little bit more leeway to write as well, so there’s a little bit more screaming in the record paired with a lot melodic content for sure. “Degeneraterra” definitely had this big overarching concept. We put a lot of time into these minuscule details of making sure that there were so many hidden gems in it. Like you could come back to it 50 times or like in 10 years and you could find something new. Either a new motif, a new concept, or a new religion that you didn’t even know existed hidden in the text of those songs. We wanted to do the same thing with this record but make it a more practical application. So, how are these things being modernized, how is this applicable to where we’re at now, and you as a person, you as a self, or a soul however you wanna look at it. How do we give people a tool that isn’t like a condensed version of “Degeneraterra”? We’re not re-doing it and just making it like the liner notes. This is still a very broad spectrum in terms of lyrical content. There’s still a lot of great territory both historically and spiritually. Just a lot of content that’s very practical and that personally for me came from a change in my life after “Degeneraterra” came out in the past year. Just going through a lot with that record and it kinda being our first bigger release. Writing this one and wanting to take a little more care with it and seeing, well, we’ve got shoes to fill now, we have people that listen to us now. We have people that want something. So we’re doing our best to make the best material that we can. Make the best song we can in every way. I’m excited, we’ve pre-produced 11 songs.”
J: “And we’re going to keep writing until we get into the studio and then from there we’ll kinda trip it down a little bit.”
B: Make some Frankenstein songs maybe. So, going off of the whole concept for “Degeneraterra”, for “To Know What’s Real” you touched upon the completion of a real world perennial philosophy that you mentioned in the conceptual breakdown with Nick (found HERE). You also said that you’d build upon that concept more with further songs, are you going to be building upon that on the next album at all?
A: “Definitely. There is a song that we have called “Primitive Economics” that has a lot of nods still to Aldous Huxley and the perennial philosophy as well as Alan Watts, a lot of nods to him as well. I’m really excited about the lyrical content on this album specifically. Musically, I think the songs we’ve been writing are very good. We went about the writing process a little differently too. Lyrically I’m stoked. I think It’s going to be really good. We have a lot of ground that we’re covering with this record. Should I tell him about “Transcendenium”?”
A: “So, the way that “Omega” was the closer on our last record, we’ve got a song (or songs) on the new record called “Transcendenium”. Basically it’s two songs as one that pairs as a 9 minute long closer for the record. I pride myself in good closers and I think this is the best closer I’ve ever written for a record. I’m stoked.”
B: Well I can safely say I’m stoked as well! So to slow down a lot from conceptual questions I know this is something that will be on everyone’s minds…. are there still plans for “Degeneraterra” vinyl soon?
A: “Yes, I’m glad we’re covering this, too. It’s hard to talk about vinyl from a practical standpoint just because it’s difficult. It’s costly to print.”
J: “There’s a huge back order everywhere.”
A: “The main problem that we’re having now is that now we have the budget and ability to do vinyl for “Degeneraterra” but the wait time is up to like 6 months to get any new vinyl printed. We’ve been working with Blue Swan specifically to try to get vinyl printed out as quickly as possible. It’s been bad news after bad news in that regard. We still have plans to do “Degeneraterra” on vinyl as soon as possible. Our goal is to get it into the printing process after we get back from this tour so that we’ll have them in the fall before we go into the studio. My ideal situation would be to have it out before the new record’s out. But then with the new record we’re looking to do kind of what Icarus did. Doing a vinyl preorder with the album itself so vinyl is available right away. We honestly did not know there would be a demand for vinyl at all. We were the uncool kids. I don’t think any of us really own vinyl currently.”
J: “I have a couple of vinyls, I have a shitty record player and a few records.”
A: “When I started looking into it I found that there’s a lot of cool stuff that we could do with the artwork that Taylor Harpster did for us. A lot of cool design elements that we’re looking at too. As with anything, if we do it we wanna do it right. It takes some time but I’m really hoping to get it out by the fall.”
B: Well thank you guys for taking the time to talk to me and providing some random conceptual questions!
A: Of course! It was great, those were some good questions.
J: Those were good questions, yeah.
Thanks for checking out this interview! Be sure to keep an eye out for the eventual “Degeneraterra” vinyl as well as more announcements from Eidola regarding more tours and their new album!