In this installment of Inbound we chat to Robbie, Al and Brian from Dublin based psychedelic rock band Exploding Eyes about their involvement in the Irish music scene over the years, their biggest influences and why getting stranded in Switzerland is not an option again!
Hi lads, can you tell us about Exploding Eyes and where you got the name?
Robbie: We’re a new band from Dublin playing rock music. name? Well I was hoping to call the band Flaming Lips but that seems to be taken so I just went for the next horrible thing that could happen to a part of your face. Also there doesn’t seem to be any bands called Exploding Eyes, so that’s a plus!
You’ve all been in bands before, how does this project differ from them?
Al: Well it’s all new songs obviously but we’ve also a new approach and are experimenting more. We all get bored pretty easily and like to try new things. Plus your tastes naturally change over time. We’ve also been in various different bands and projects together over the years so are pretty intuitive in playing together which is cool.
Robbie: I guess like everyone our influences have changed over the years. I’ve always been a big fan of 60s and 70s psychedelic and progressive rock since my early teens. I was actually into all that sort of stuff years before I got into garage rock. So I guess for me the Things and Cheap Freaks were more straight up garage cause that’s what I was really diggin’ at the time. In the last few years I just sorta rediscover my love for psychedlic and experimental music so my writing has changed quite a lot. I’ve also started experimenting with effects on my bass and using a theremin live so that alone is different I guess.
What experiences have you brought from your previous bands into this one?
Robbie: Don’t break down and get stranded in Switzerland – it’s way too expensive!
Ha! Can you tell us what happened in Switzerland?
Robbie: I was on tour around Europe with Cheap Freaks a couple of years back. We got to Switzerland for a few shows and on our last day the 80s camper van we were travelling in decided its break pads had enough of the Swiss alps and one of them pretty much exploded on a busy high street and shot across the road, nearly hitting some afternoon shoppers. Ended up staying on the grounds of some squatters house for three days. We’d barely any money to eat so we survived on bread rolls for the time there. Still managed to drink every night though.
You describe yourselves as “A band of post-pubescent misfits.” Can you elaborate on this?
Well we’re all in our 30s so puberty is a thing of the past but we’re still acting like teenage misfits most of the time!
Robbie, can you tell us about the psychedelic scene in Dublin/Ireland at the moment? Do you feel it’s stronger/weaker now than say ten years ago when you were playing in The Things?
I think there are some great bands out there at the moment. As for a ‘psychedelic scene’ I’m not sure how big or vibrant that actually is but I definitely think the music scene as a whole in Dublin and Ireland is stronger than it was ten years ago. I think a lot of bands have seen how other bands in Europe and the US take a more DIY approach and just try to get records out on smaller indie labels and tour relentlessly to just build their own following and sell their own music. Due to that we’ve now got some great acts on some really cool labels. We definitely didn’t have that ten years ago.
Brian, you also have a few impressive names on your CV such as Humanzi, The Mighty Stef and your own solo project SOnance HOtel. How do you feel the local scene has changed since you started out?
I think the ‘scene’ if it has changed, then its been for the better, not that it wasn’t good when i started gigging but there seems to be more opportunities now, like more live venues, clubs and recording and rehearsal studios popping up. So it’s basically more options for bands to keep themselves busy, which is the main objective really. There also seems to more bands opening doors for themselves in Europe and U.S. now which is very positive. We’ve always had amazing Irish bands on the circuit and unfortunately some have come and gone but it’s great to see heads like The Mighty Stef and TWINKRANES still going strong.
Bands like Tame Impala, Deerhunter and Wooden Shijps seem to be leading the way in the psychedelic rock scene at the moment. Do you feel ‘Exploding Eyes’ belong to this new breed or would you feel more at home with the likes of Captain Beefheart and Can?
Robbie: Eh well I’d see all those as really great bands so would be an honor to be associated with any of those bands! Personally I’m more for the older stuff like Beefheart though.
Al: We’d be influenced more by older psychedelic music and older music in general really but also appreciate the likes of Tame Impala and newer bands.
Who are your biggest influences and why?
Robbie: The Who would be my biggest (Ed: Not a rhetorical question there!) They have always been my number one band, kinda on the obsessive, creepy, stalker fan side though! But I guess like everyone it changes to whatever new music you are digging at the time so I guess lately I’ve been influenced by stuff like Blues Creation, Eno, Pink Fairies and The Deviants.
Al: We draw influences from a lot of places. Lately I’ve been listening to a lot of 60’s and 70’s psych and prog like Andromeda, Arzachel, Quiet Sun, early Deep Purple and things like that.
Any plans for releases this year?
Al: We’ve a single pretty much ready to go and hope to be putting that out sometime in the summer. We’re also currently recording out first LP.
We look forward to hearing it. Finally, where can we find out more about you?