THE FLYING EYES

11 Nov

THE FLYING EYES

“These Eyes Are Flying”

The Flying Eyes? The Flying Eyes? It’s the kind of name that just feels right, familiar, expressive – who doesn’t want to go see a band called The Flying Eyes?

Not having seen The Flying Eyes live, we hesitate to comment on the reputation as a knockout live act the Baltimore-based band has developed for themselves, both in the U.S. and Europe, the old-fashioned way: by employing the stern resolve necessary to drive countless miles in a musty van with a group of dudes from Baltimore.

If they’re even half as incendiary live as they are on record, seeing the band live promises an electric jolt, a raw, “Vincebus Eruption”-style explosion of thick-riffs and pounding rhythms, all eyes reaching full cruising altitude. This is the big-time, girly – this is rock and roll. Drummer Elias Schutzman prepares gets us airborne.

The name “flying eyes” – coupled with the psych-heavy nature of your music – may cause some listeners to think of an out-of-body experience, or perhaps lucid dreaming. Do you have any experience with either? Did either things have any influence on choosing the band name?

Playing/watching live music can lead to out-of-body experiences. Sometimes playing a really intense set feels like waking up from a dream, where I had some control of my body but was still at the mercy of vibrations. As far as lucid dreaming, it’s been something I’ve wanted to accomplish ever since reading Casteneda’s “Teachings of Don Juan,” but I never got farther than looking down at my hand and realizing I was in the dream world. Now that I don’t smoke weed very much, maybe I should try it again. Our band name, however, was derived from a 1962 pulp-science-fiction novel about disembodied eyes from space that hypnotize the human race.

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Does this mean we shouldn’t expect a cover of Queensyrche’s “Silent Lucidity” from The Flying Eyes anytime soon? 

Just YouTube’d it – not a chance, man. Sounds like a B-side off “The Wall.”

How did you meet the other members of The Flying Eyes? Where there specific conversations about what you wanted the band to sound like, or did it just evolve over time? How do you hear the band’s musical evolution from the earliest days to today? 

I met Mac (bassist) at about age three. He was always into touching chick music. Like, I distinctly remember a huge argument at five years old when I wanted to watch “The Dark Crystal” and he wanted to listen to Tracy Chapman. But he also intoduced me to awesome heavy music like Tool and Pink Floyd when we were older. Adam (guitarist) and I met when we were about six. He had just moved here from Sweden – he didn’t speak much English, but we made up for it by running around outdoors, building forts and setting booby traps for bad people. Will (singer/guitarist) I met only four years ago, because we were both involved in the “high-school music scene.” He was shy and soft spoken, but the first time me and Adam saw him perform, we both looked at each other, “Why isn’t he their frontman?” So we stole him to be ours. We didn’t talk too much about how we wanted to sound, because that leads to “trying” to be something. That’s not to say we haven’t tried to emulate the music we love, because every band does until they establish their own identity. I think we were all getting into the heavier, darker side of psychedelia around the same time, and were spurred forward by seeing the success of modern bands like The Black Angels, Dead Meadow and The Black Keys. I think our evolution can be briefly summed up that we just keep getting better, louder and older.

The Flying Eyes have been described elsewhere as being too rock and roll for the indie kids, and too weird for the squares. That’s pretty much what I look for in bands, but in your experience, what are the challenges of being in this “limbo” stage? What are the benefits? 

The challenge is we don’t fit neatly into any scene that would grant us instant gratification. We offer no happy synth lines, tribal art punk or electronic freak outs that characterize the Baltimore scene. Our music has too many tempo changes and sonic variations to fit neatly into the garage rock scene. And we certainly scare off anyone who wants to hear lukewarm, white-boy blues with smooth organ and impeccable guitar tone (talking about you John Mayer). And our out-of-control live energy sets us apart from the stoicism of the neo-psych bands we admire. I think the advantage of not fitting in is that people will hopefully listen to us not because our sound is “in” but because they truly like the music we make and will follow us for the long haul.

How often do you get contacted about hosting a fishing trip? (See: www.flyingeyescharter.com) 

Never, but we have been contacted by a nudist colony who wanted to offer us the chance to promote Farm Fest at a nude pool party.

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Can you tell us a little bit more about the “Farm Fest”? How did the idea begin? How has it evolved? What is your vision for the festival in the future?

It began as just a big summer party for us and our friends, and in four years it’s up to about 600 attendees. Now I don’t even know half the people who show up. We are struggling with the idea of trying to keep Farm Fest underground vs. making it even larger with bigger name bands. In the future I’d like to make the festival longer than one day, maybe even a whole weekend. There are too many great bands that want to play and deserve to play, and I hate turning them away because we run out of space.

What music have you been listening to lately? 

Neil Young “Zuma” and “After The Goldrush” (always), The Velvet Underground “Self-Titled”, The Black Angels “Phosphene Dream” and The Pack A.D. “We Kill Computers.”

The concept of multiple eyes – often representing the all-seeing nature of the universe – is one expressed over and over again in mystic and religious literature and art. What do you see when you see the words “flying eyes”? Historian Timothy Brook says the following regarding the concept of the “all-seeing”:

“Buddhism uses a similar image to describe the interconnectedness of all phenomena. It is called Indra’s Net. When Indra fashioned the world, he made it as a web, and at every knot in the web is tied a pearl. Everything that exists, or has ever existed, every idea that can be thought about, every datum that is true—every dharma, in the language of Indian philosophy—is a pearl in Indra’s net. Not only is every pearl tied to every other pearly by virtue of the web on which they hang, but on the surface of every pearl is reflected every other jewel on the net. Everything that exists in Indra’s web implies all else that exists.”

When I see the words “flying eyes” I’m drawn back to a science fiction plot about eyeball invaders from outer space. On tour, I always feel like an invader from the deep space planet that is Baltimore. The crowd is either beguiled by our psychedelic charms or flees in terror. I’ve never really looked that deeply into our name, but I’m glad you are.

How tired are the people in Baltimore from hearing about “The Wire”? 

Pretty fucking tired, I’m sure. As great as the show might be (I actually haven’t watched very much), it would be nice to hear something besides, “Is Baltimore really like ‘The Wire’?”, when we tell people our hometown.

What’s next for The Flying Eyes?

We are working hard on our first real album titled “Done So Wrong.” We did all the basic tracking live in W. Germany and all vocals and overdubs in Baltimore. Trip in Time/World in Sound Records will release it in Europe and we will be searching for a U.S. label to release it here. After that, I suppose touring Europe and the U.S. again with the record. Can’t see too far past that.

The Flying Eyes

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One Response to “THE FLYING EYES”

  1. rob November 13, 2010 at 3:20 am #

    Ryan has his way with any word that dare look in his direction.

    Cheers to you and The Flying Eyes

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