A few weeks ago, I posted a laid-back track by a Philadelphia garage band named The Eeries. The song was submitted to Noise Narcs’ “Minute Music” (our sans context, sans comment category) because, frankly, there just wasn’t much to find out about them online. I could have said more about the music, of course, like that The Eeries write early-60s inspired garage pop with infectious melodies and pitch-perfect yet seemingly effortless harmonies. The tempo is usually lazy, the lyrics are occasionally morbid. But beyond that I could only direct you to their blog, which is about as lo-fi as their sound and exists purely to give away free music. I was like a narc without any beans to spill or a dime to drop.
Thankfully though, The Eeries agreed to sit down and remedy the situation by answering a few questions for us.
From what I’ve been able to gather: 1) there are three of you, 2) you’re from Philadelphia, and 3) based on your myspace page, you appear to be a popular 1940’s contortionist sister act. But apart from that, you’ve kept a pretty low online profile. So what’s your back story? Who are you guys, and how’d the band get its start?
We’re all from a town in central Jersey called West Windsor. Andy and Scott were in bands together all throughout high school and I (Mike) was in a hardcore punk band out of New Brunswick, NJ at the same time. So we all knew each other from growing up in the same town and became close friends because of the very small music scene in town which revolved around Tom Murphy’s house. Tom’s dad was into home recording when he was a younger man, so Tom’s room was a makeshift studio. All of our earliest projects were cut by Tom. He’s currently in an awesome 2 man grind/death band called Dethroned Emperor.
We were all guitarists when we started living together last september so we borrowed gear and learned other instruments out of necessity. Andy plays drums and sings, Scott plays guitar and sings and I play bass and sing.
From the sound of it, you aren’t really big into high production values. In his post about you at Passion of the Weiss, Douglas Martin writes that the lo-fi aesthetic is often a deliberate and “defiant rejection” of modern recording technology, but he also wonders whether that is the case with you. Your songs are good, but why do they also sound shitty?
We like recording ourselves. Being able to control every part of production is more important to us than the quality of the recording.
What kind of equipment do you use? Do you do any mixing on the computer? I’ve noticed that your file formats have been all over the place (m4a, mp3, aif).
We’ve recorded every release differently. We usually use the on-board mic on Scott’s laptop for every instrument (vocals included). We did instruments live on EP(A) and those were recorded by the built in mic on a tape deck. We try different (inexpensive) techniques until we get the sound we want. Our formats are crazy due to laziness and inexperience.
Why do you call yourselves “The Eeries,” and what do you think is the eeriest song you’ve ever heard?
We wanted to call ourselves “The Spooks”. Then we found out it was a racial slur and, a month or two after moving to Philadelphia, found out a garage band had recently started up in the area called The Spooks. We went with The Eeries because it’s a ghost in super mario world (we figured that was close enough). We all listen exclusively to “Spooky Sounds” volumes 4 through 7 available on Party City records.
Isn’t the ghost from super mario world named Boo?
There are a lot of ghosts in super mario world:
Eeries are ghosts that dwell in the Ghost Houses. They fly in groups or solo, but always in fixed formations, ignoring where Mario is or isn’t. (strategywiki.org)
One thing I really like about your music is how, on songs like “Ain’t it a Shame,” you manage to sound so morose and yet so catchy and fun at the same time. Those great harmonies definitely contribute to the effect. Would you say, on the whole, that you are “glass half full” or “glass half empty” kind of people?
So far you’ve given a lot of music away for free at your blog. I’m not complaining, but is there an LP in the works? Like one that you might sell to people?
We’re currently working on a full length. We’d like to put a 12″ out ourselves but we don’t have any money so we’re looking for someone to put it out. We just finished a press of 100 of our newest TAPE and a repress of 100 of our previous tape EP(A). If anyone wants a hard copy they can email us. Our music will always be available for download on our blog regardless of what format it’s on.