NOTE – I just got an email from Eric of the Heavy Eyes – he says he’s been reading this blog before I contacted him begging for an interview. Just thought I’d throw that out there. Get in touch y’all readers ‘cause I don’t have enough friends and I love all of you.
NOTE #2 – Today I’ve spoken to both the marryable Heavy Company and the astral Heavy Eyes, and seeing as they are playing together in Indiana at the end of April and their names look good together on a poster I’d go right ahead and talk up ‘em both. Quotes in BLUE are from Ian Gerber, axe and vox of the Heavy Company, and quotes in fabulous RED are from the Heavy Eyes.
... so these lyrically and electronically wired blues heads just go and bring on this chick, a chick into this already speaker-melding quality record and just go on like they ain’t done nothing! Serious quality. Before I even heard this motherfucker I was beginning to sense that the Heavy Company were something special. I’ve been doing that a bunch lately, beginning to think it isn’t my innate taste (Allah knows I listen to enough vomit-puddle to bullshit that claim) but that high-quality usefulness and perpetually inspiring sonic wah and assorted mung just smells like home. Maybe the sonic waves of the great magnet, or the universal overmind that so many other heads are hipped to this trip that they’re broadcasting to me dude, this trip totally rules! Maybe, just maybe if the world really is as good as we could rightfully hope for it to be, all of you guided me to the Heavy Company. Is there anybody out there? Yes there is, and they’re all simultaneously digging the Heavy Co.
Heads, I come to you with hyperspatially good news. Sleep lives! That is quite an alarmist headline so let me explain, the righteous overpowerful spirit of Sleep lives on in the blues rock of the Heavy Eyes. I’ve always liked the Heavy Company, that Indiana rock band who have a great knack of writing classic rock songs that sound classic but are credited to them. Caged Bird and Blind Dog Blues both ring like songs from a better time and yet Heavy Company are wholly responsible for them. Another southern rock band is Tennessee’s the Heavy Eyes (heavy times) whose first full-length album I bought yonks ago and shamefully never got round to listening to. Well I have now, and hooboy, they must be putting something mighty strange in the water down in the south because the Heavy Eyes are every bit as superb as the Heavy Company and their names look great together on a poster. I spoke to both bands to get the low down on the Heavy Company’s upcoming album and their prestigious Hillary Tribbett connections, and from the Heavy Eyes I got some cool shit too; apparently, people of Europe, the Heavy Eyes want to come over here so they can break all our stuff.
Both bands have, unlike the Cosmic Dead, happily embraced the digital future. For the Heavy Co. the internet is a way of extending their very indie attitudes, you know they’re pressing their new vinyl themselves? That is some cool shit! “a few labels that are interested in selling our record, but not wanting to pay for recording or pressing. I figure that if I have to put the money up front, then I'll take the profits”. And for the Heavy Eyes, “We were surprised with what we’ve been able to accomplish with sites like Bandcamp and YouTube, considering we started with virtually no fan base, releasing an album on the Internet, we didn’t know what to expect.”
But I was interested in asking both bands, where do you get these songs? How do you write such classic songs? Because a question that often comes to mind when listening to the Heavy Co. and the Heavy Eyes is, is this a cover? I coulda sworn I was listening to Grand Funk and ZZ Top pump this chronic out in the dustbowl. Company’s answer? “Maybe the best way to explain it is to say that THC's sound is a direct product of growing up in the Midwest, I just focus on trying as hard as I can to make the best record I can and hope that local fans and the underground digs it. I do my best and I’m lucky to have Scott and Jeff help me do that.” The Eyes, by contrast, have a sound akin to all the members of Fu Manchu being kidnapped and replaced by ghosts of Grand Funk’s soundcrew, as I haven’t encountered a louder blues rock album in all my many odysseys.
And live? After all the unstoppable sound of Eyes is about to meet the immovable stacks of Company, how heavy is that night going to get for those lucky enough to attend? The Heavy Eyes look set to pummel you, “We feel more at home live than we do when we record. Sometimes we listen to our recordings and we’re like, what the fuck? We’re more in our element live. The energy’s different when people are in the room. You enjoy yourself more, you cut loose, and it ends up serving the sound. We’re playing so many weird fucking shows, it’s hilarious. We’re fairly new, so we’re never sure what to expect. Sometimes people get it, sometimes people don’t. We try to remember the good ones and pretend the weird ones never happened.” And it looks like the Company will be following suit, “Our set morphs to the venue, crowd, and bands we share the bill with. We always jam. Live improvisation is the centerpiece of our band, there is still room for long guitar solos and our grooved out psychedelic sound. We usually incorporate lights and projections into the visual presentation, but we are still working it out. We really just need a giant lava lamp on stage.”
And what’s next? How ought the world to brace itself for the next piece of blissful filling-loosening sonic wah abuse from both of these tribes of heavy heads? Keep it dialled to the Heavy Company’s bandcamp as their new record, Midwest Electric, will be dropping there sometime this year, I’ll hand over to Ian Gerber of the Heavy Company to give you the hip, “This one means a lot to me. We are calling it 'Midwest Electric'. It's pretty personal when it comes to expressing my feelings for my home in Indiana and the way we deal with getting the blues and shaking them off. The concept has been floating around my head for a while now and it feels really good to finally lay it out. We were going to record it analogue, but my tape machine conveniently broke right in time for recording. The record has a raw feel and we are leaving a lot of things on that would normally be edited out. On my end of the writing process, I have been drawing heavily from Neil Young. It's more of a Crazy Horse album than a CSN&Y record...in comparison to the studio EP we released. There are moments of heavy psychedelic production, but at the heart of it all, it’s just a rock record with loud guitars and a country/Americana feel pushing the songwriting. There will be some really incredible guest spots on the record. I’m not saying who, but most of them are recognizable to the fans of the underground stoner rock scene. Not all of them are from Indiana too. One is from NYC and another is from Sweden. I'm rather excited to reveal the line-up once everything is recorded. Just tune in. We have some multimedia internet events/marketing planned for those people who can't see us live including a YouTube concert/ live stream from our studio. The internet community has been awesome when it comes to supporting what we do and I want to try and give back what we can, when we can. There isn't an exact date for our record release yet, but it should be out but this summer if all goes well. After we finish Midwest Electric, we will probably start writing new material. Scott has a lot of fuzz to offer. Bilateral Heliotropic Algorithm is a good gauge of what the new material is shaping up to be. Its heavier and more fuzzier than our previous material. It's tentatively titled Speakers on the Moon. I think it will live up to the expectations that people have from a band called The Heavy Co. Before they actually listen to us.” Do try to contain yourself now, because I almost can’t. And for the Eyes, what will 2012 bring? “We have a bunch of new material that we plan to release somehow. Right now we’re just having fun writing and coming up with new ideas. We’ve talked about a live EP and hopefully a new album by the end of the summer. Touring’s tricky and we want to play so many places, but it’s hard doing it on your own. We like fucking shit up and Europe has lots of old shit that needs to get thrashed.”
The Heavy Company and the Heavy Eyes, two damn heavy blues guys who are really getting things done in a spiritual sense. Check ‘em both out on Bandcamp and go to their Facebook and tell them both how superb they are. There is free stuff on both Bandcamp pages, and you’ll want to give them some money for more of a hit once you’ve had your first jolt. Both these bands are like the one unlucky drink that sends a wavering alcoholic off the wack. You won’t be able to get enough. The Eyes are currently on tour, so go see them throughout the South if you’re lucky enough to live there, both bands will be playing in Indiana on the 27th of April (Ian’s birthday! So remember and shout happy birthday to that cat) so enjoy getting rocked out by that.
Thanks a whole happy bunch to both bands for their time, patience with my stupid interview methods and for their general awesomeness. Thanks to Ian Gerber for giving us the lowdown on the new album exclusively and thanks to the Heavy Eyes for all those drunken nights. Love on y’all.
Written under duress by Steven.