――Thank you for taking your time. Firstly, Could you tell us about the history and current lineup of The Heavy Eyes?
Heavy Eyes used to exist as a four piece under a different name. After the unfortunate death of the original drummer, and the resignation of a guitarist, they were left without a full lineup. Wally and Tripp were introduced to me (Eric) through a mutual friend. They had already written “Voytek”, along with a few other songs, but didn’t have drum parts written. We jammed. It worked. The rest is history. The current and original line-up under the name Heavy Eyes is: Wally Anderson, Tripp Shumake and Eric Garcia.
――What does the name The Heavy Eyes mean or refer to?
Tripp came up with Heavy Eyes after reading a couple different books that made allusions to a giant set of eyes in the sky watching over the actions of the different characters, most notably The Great Gatsby and Moon Palace. He thought it was an interesting literary concept and couldn’t get it out of his head. The band was also formed while all of us were working ourselves to the bone to pay bills, so it wasn’t uncommon to see any of us, or any of our friends at our shows, with tired baggy eyes from working night shifts and paying our way through school.
――Could you describe The Heavy Eyes sound to our readers who haven’t heard you yet?
We are catchy, hooky, heavy, fuzz, blues, stoner, and pop inspired music. We are influenced from a very wide ranging from 70’s rock, stoner rock, blues rock, to pop.
――Which bands and artists influenced you as musicians?
It’s really all over the board — We are all inspired by different genres and a lot of the same and share music with one another. Tripp has played us anything from Muddy Waters to James Blake to The Strokes, and in turn, I’ve played them Annihilation Time and Tobacco and Big Business. Wally usually just gravitates towards hard ass 70’s rock. However, we all share a love for Black Sabbath, Led Zeppelin, Cream, Rage Against The Machine, The White Stripes, Black Keys… the list goes on and on.
――How would you describe the local music scene of Memphis?
The music landscape is tough. There are so many good acts that get so little love in Memphis, but do well outside of it. Memphis is a rough city to play — if you’re a touring band and are reading this, you probably know first hand. Historically, Memphis is mentioned in songs more times than any other city. It has so much undiscovered musical talent. The Dirty Streets are our long time friends and are on the rise. Jack Oblivian, Lucero, The City Champs, Ex Cult, The Sheiks, and Amy Lavere are all acts representing a different spectrum of the Memphis sound. We’re all happy to be a part of the Memphis music scene and proud to be from here.
――The Heavy Eyes released split 7inch with All Them Witches in 2013, How did it come?
It came loud and live as f**k! Those dudes are great people. We linked up with All Them Witches in Nashville and I (Eric) was blown away by them live. They are truly one of the greater stoner / psyche bands I’ve seen in the underground scene. I hope they do big things.
――Let’s talk about your latest studio album “Maera” (※1), where did you record it? Was it a hard or easy to record for?
The only thing hard was having two days to get all the tracks down. Maera was recorded the same way we recorded the ST(※2). We recorded all tracks live, with the exception of the second guitar tracks, vocals, and extra drum work (tambourines, stick clicks, etc). Matthew Qualls has been our go-to guy in Memphis. He’s easy to work with, knows what we’re trying to accomplish and does a good job for our budget and time. We hope to capture what it sounds like to experience us live on our records.
――The album has brilliant artworks, whose work?
Emil Orth. Long time friend of ours and such a brilliant mind! Please contact him for anything; he loves fan mail and doing any wild illustration <firstname.lastname@example.org>
――Would you say the band focuses on rhythm, melody… or something else?
Yes, both. Tripp writes a majority of the material and is an incredible song writer. There’s always a swing to the riffs and melodies he writes. We all love groove, melody, and rhythm, and try our best to stay in that pocket. If we can get your head bobbing and write something hooky enough to where you’re repeating it, we’ve done our job.
――Do you do a lot of touring? Do you enjoy touring?
We do not tour enough. As romantic as the idea sound, we do not have a big enough audience where we can tour full-time and not be living paycheck to paycheck. Maybe one day, but at this point only small tours on vacation days are what we can swing. That being said, there are still a couple of things we’re excited about, playing SXSW this year and Germany in May. Hopefully we’ll get to see some new faces.
――Which bands and artists albums are you currently enjoying?
For me (Eric), I am enjoying Broken Bells new album a lot. The new Queens of The Stone Age is incredible and Daft Punk’s new release was great too. I also cannot stop listening to Elder. Those dudes are so bad ass.
――A stupid question, Have you ever be mistaken for The Flying Eyes?
We’re not sure who that is, should we know?
――Do you know any Japanese band?
I don’t know Boris personally, but shit, I’d like to. Heavy Rocks is on point!
――Do you have any plans like new albums or tours?
We’re dropping a 45’ with a NEW song and re-releasing our ST on vinyl in late February. We’re also doing a third album which should be finished by the end of the summer 2014.
Austin, TX – SXSW – March 2014
Germany – Freak Valley Fest – May 2014
――Finally, would you like to send a message to Japanese fans?
I’ve only mailed a limited amount of merch to Japan, but would love to mail more. I love seeing all the fans we have world-wide. This is truly a major accomplishment in our eyes. Keep listening and hopefully we can see you in the future.