A good pop song makes you want to listen to it all the time. The same goes with a good pop band, but the Blind Eyes, perhaps St. Louis' best, know that a brief musical rest only makes the audience crave the hook more. So after a short break -- spent recording their first EP as a foursome and, ya know, having a baby -- they're back this Saturday with Via Dove (also featuring a new member), Yankee Racers and The Educated Guess at The Firebird for The Blind Eyes' first show since August, with new material to try out and to give away a free download recording of "Armor," the first single off their forthcoming, as-of-yet untitled EP, to all attendees.
The Blind Eyes -- "Armor"
We talked with guitarist and vocalist Seth Porter about the recording and writing dynamic as a foursome now, the upcoming EP and why the band hasn't been playing every weekend, all the time, everywhere in St. Louis lately.
Brian Heffernan: About this time last year, you added a second guitarist, Andy White, to the band line up, and this is the first recording you've made since then. So, how did Andy fit into the songwriting process and the general dynamic in the studio?
Seth Porter: You know, most of the stuff we recorded was written after he was in the band. He didn't want to join the band just to be a hired gun. He wanted to be involved in the process. And honestly, when he first joined, the first few months was more getting him up to speed on everything up to that point. And then we went straight into our New Year's gig we do every year, which involved learning a bunch of cover songs. So it wasn't until the first of this year that we really got around to doing more writing. Every song happens a little differently, but just having a second guitar player affects the finished product.
In the past you've written both the lead and rhythm parts for the guitar, how did that work out with Andy?
I would say that before there were some songs that had two parts, but also, a lot of that happened in the studio. Certainly our live show didn't feature a lot of lead guitar. I think the songs were written in a way that three people, for the most part, could make sense out of them on stage. And the ones that couldn't be made sense of on stage showed up on the record but never got played because they didn't really work. I think that having Andy kind of opened up the full back catalogue of stuff -- stuff that had pretty much been left out of the live performances. As far as the new stuff, some of them he straight up co-wrote and will be accredited accordingly.
No, but musically. And then, some of them, I have a sort of a musical skeleton, and the other guys fill it in. And some of them, I have a very particular kind of idea, but it's not a dictatorship, you know? I'm not there to tell everyone what to do. Everyone has their own creative vote for sure. Andy's definitely a creative and opinionated guy.
...I think that having the other guitar lets the rest of us take kind of a deep breath as far as what we need the song to do. With the three-piece, it was always like we had to find creative ways to fill up the sonic space. Especially because it's one thing if you're a trio with Jimi Hendrix playing the guitar, but with me, you sort of have to make these choices about what to include.
I really think that there's a lot of different ways to make a song interesting, but a lot of those were not played with just the three of us. They're not written to death the way the other ones kind of had to be by necessity.
This new song, "Armor," where does it fit in in a larger sense? An EP?
Yeah, an EP that is almost finished being recorded, and hopefully, finances willing, we can get out within the next few months. We've got a few shows, starting with the one on Saturday, and if we can earn some dollars from that, those dollars will go toward getting an EP. There'll be five or six songs. We recorded six; we may hold one of them back for a future project, based on how they're put together.
The name of the EP is "Armor" too?
The name of the EP is TBD. [laughs] It might be Armor, but titles are always the last thing with this band.
You've been quiet for a bit. A mini hiatus?
Honestly, in September we were in the studio a bunch, and Matt, our drummer, and his wife had a baby in October. So the way that show booking goes, when you have to do it months ahead of time, we blacked out all these possible dates that a baby could be born, just because I don't think anyone would be happy or able to live down him loading in drums somewhere while his daughter was being born.