A Chat With Eyes Set To Kill

For the first edition of UTGRAW from Boston [where James is living for the summer], we bring you a quick chat with Eyes Set To Kill.

[Recorded: June 2nd, 2009]

UTG: So today is a big day for ESTK. Your new album comes out today.

ESTK: It’s a relief. It’s been a long time [since we’ve had new songs]. I mean Reach had tracks we’d used before getting signed, so to be in a place where it’s all new feels quite good.

UTG: Now, to me, this album has a different sound than the last. It seems a lot has changed or at least evolved in the world of ESTK, what would you say is the source behind that?

ESTK: We wrote collectively as a band where in the past Alexia had written the majority of things. We’ve grown up a lot since then and seen the world, so our view changes. This is a job now, so the songs aren’t written by kids who just play in their basement for fun. This is our career and we spend our lives on the road without a home per say.

UTG: Now Alexia, you sang a lot on Reach, but it feels to me as if Brandon takes center stage on this release. Was that a direct approach, or more how the songs came out?

ESTK: We wanted to make it more heavy. I mean, there’s two songs where Alexia sings lead and there’s nearly no screaming. We put a lot of thought into the record and decided to kind of separate the two sides of the band a bit. We wanted the heavy to be heavy and the poppy to be poppy. We think it’ll set us apart from the whole screamo genre we’re often put in. The whole dueling vocals we’ve done before is being pushed back a bit so that we can show our true talent without conforming to a scene or anything.

UTG: Well, as you’ve grown, I’m sure the messages you hope to send to fans have changed. So what would you like fans to take away from the new record that maybe we didn’t hear on Reach?

ESTK: [Alexia Speaking] I think the most personal tracks to me are “Come Home” and “The World Outside.” I really hope people can take away what I wrote because I wrote about my step and real dad and how neither were really in my life and I want someone to take something from it or connect with it. I’m sure there are people out there who had a similar situation. [Rest of band] I want people to see that we’re not a Myspace phenomenon anymore and that this is a serious, mature band now.

UTG: As soon as you premiered the first new song, “Heights,” people instantly knew something changed. I think that was a great move on your part.

ESTK: [Brandon] Well, we wanted to keep our street cred a bit. I mean, there’s a lot on the album that isn’t super heavy, but you know, we’re still writing the same way. Eventually, there will be a lot of different sounds in the other singles, but we thought this was a good way to keep the old school fans interested.

UTG: I feel like the scope of songs on this record is more realized. The tracks on the first records had great ideas, but then didn’t really fill out their sound completely. However, on this record, it seems that you spent a lot more time on fine tuning everything.

ESTK: Well we spent a lot of time on song structure as opposed to just throwing chunks together. The flow was very important, not just in the songs, but throughout the record.

UTG: Now, you are a band who tours unendingly it seems. What do you have after your current run with Sky Eats Airplane ends?

ESTK: We are heading out with Drop Dead, Gorgeous and He Is Legend. We’ve been longtime admirers of He Is Legend and it’s crazy to think we’re in a place to go out with someone like that.

UTG: Any post summer plans?

ESTK: We’re submitting to basically every tour we possibly can, but no, nothing yet.

UTG: With a new record and your excitement about it, I’m sure you’re looking to use some of the songs in the live set. How much of Reach do you think you’ll continue to use for touring?

ESTK: Well, it appears we’ll be playing “Darling” at every show for the rest of our time as a band. “Liar In The Glass” as well. [laughter]. It seems like kids like those the most and so we always play them. Just like how Thrice always plays “Deadbolt.” It’s not what they’re doing anymore, but they know it’s what the fans want. We’d love to play all of the new record, but we haven’t really practiced it. We left the studio, practiced for a few days, shot two music videos, and then hit the road. We have 10 days after this run ends that we’ll be incorporating new music while practicing, so be on the look out for that in the future.

UTG: Would you say you’ve already gotten a bit tired of those tracks? [the ones they’ve played every night since they started touring]

ESTK: Well there are times any song gets old, but I mean, those two in particular are almost always fun to play, hell, even when we’re home we enjoy them. However, when you’re on stage, you just feed off the crowd’s energy and those tracks always make the kids go crazy, so you go crazy.

UTG: Well, you guys are going on soon, but we prefer to do final statements over a question to end things. So here is your platform.

-I want to go home and watch Lost really bad.

– I want a hot dog.

-I have allergies right now and I want out of the Northeast.

-That plane crash this past week has been on my mind a lot. We were just in Brazil, so it’s even freakier.

-I’m really pumped for the summer movie season.

UTG: Haha, alright, thank you guys so much for hanging out with us for a short while and I’ll see you next time you’re around.

James Shotwell

James Shotwell is the founder of Under The Gun Review. He loves writing about music and movies almost as much as he loves his two fat cats. He's also the co-founder of Antique Records and the Marketing Coordinator for Haulix. You should probably follow him on Twitter.

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