UTG INTERVIEW: Eytan And The Embassy

Eytan

UTG is pleased to bring you this exclusive interview with record setting pop rock outfit, Eytan and the Embassy!

The group recently made waves with their video for the song “Everything Changes” by setting the world record for most costume changes in an unedited music video with an impressive 18 changes in a single take to vocalist Eytan Oren’s wardrobe within the video’s four minute and eight second run-time.

Eytan himself took some time to talk with us about the aforementioned video, how the group came together and some future plans for himself and The Embassy. Read through and see what he had to say.

Did you set out to make the video for “Everything Changes” with the intentions of breaking a world record?
Shortly after making the video I became friendly with Dan Rollman who is a co-founder of RecordSetter.com. I loved the site and it occurred to me that our music video probably sets a world record so I submitted it for review. Dan believes that everyone in the world should be the world record holder of something – it’s an unusual way of looking at things but I think it’s pretty great. 

How did you come up with the idea for the video and how did you decide to portray the specific people you did?
The video concept is really an extension of the chorus lyric – “Well if you’re tired of being yourself, go on and be somebody else.” I thought it would be fun if my appearance completely morphed throughout the video in real time without any edits, just through the use of costumes. My girlfriend and Joe Pickard, the director, developed that idea and created a chronological narrative of the history of rock n’ roll.

Is this going to be a Guinness World Record book type thing?
Guinness is welcome to sanction it but we love Record Setter. They take a very inclusive approach to world records that’s built around community interaction in a way that I find very appealing. It’s also a great place for musicians to have fun and connect with their audience. Jack White’s gotten some press lately for his feud with Guinness and I was happy to see him publicly endorse Record Setter as a brilliant alternative. Jimmy Fallon’s a big supporter as well and has had them on the show a few times, so I’m hopeful that it’s catching on.

Did you get a cool plaque or anything?
I have a digital badge. The next time I see Dan I’ll have to ask for my physical badge. What I really want though is one of their sweet yellow Record Setter blazers.

You’re quite the multi-instrumentalist from what I’ve read. What is your personal favorite to play?
I play piano in the band. I used to shy away from keys because I thought guitar was more frontman friendly but with some practice I figured out how to turn the piano into something I could treat like a guitar.

How did The Embassy and yourself come to be as a group?
I used to play in a band with Caitlin, our bass player, and we’ve been friends the longest (she plays drunk Courtney Love and a Beastie Boy in the video). I first saw Attis, our drummer, when he played with Eli Reed. I didn’t talk to him at that point but I was really impressed with his playing and stage presence and we connected through a Craigslist ad a year later. Geoff and Grant, our baritone sax and guitar player, were both initially friends of friends. The lineup shifted a bit right before the video and the day of the shoot was actually the first time we hung out as a group.

Are you currently involved with any other projects?
Not at the moment. I have played piano for some talented artists in the past like Nicole Atkins and Jaymay. I also will occasionally write music for documentaries or commercials, but for the moment I’m focused on the band.

You’ve allowed fans to download “Everything Changes” for free. Do you think it’s important to provide listeners with free content?
I think it’s the best decision we’ve made in marketing this video. People can download the single free in exchange for a tweet about the video, and we’ve gotten hundreds of tweets from that which lead to new video views. We’ve also got many e-mails from people that downloaded the free track saying they just went to buy more of our songs. 

You and Andy Ross of OK GO are involved with an app called InBloom; for those who aren’t familiar with it, what can you tell us about that?
inBloom is a location-based iPhone app similar to Yelp but specifically it finds the nearest sustainable and eco friendly businesses. It includes restaurants, groceries, farmers markets, green hotels, bio-diesel station, CSAs and more. It can also be customized to your dietary preferences if you’re a vegetarian, vegan, locavore, or prefer to eat organic, gluten-free, or paleo. So far we’ve launched listings in New York City, Austin, and Los Angeles. We started the project initially to help musicians find affordable alternatives to fast food on the road, but then opened it up to non-musicians as well. 

What are you touring plans looking like this year?
We have a September east coast tour in the works with our friends Pyyramids, which is a great side project from Tim Nordwind, the bass player from OK Go.

How do you think your imprint on the music industry would differ had you not made the “Everything Changes” video and set a record?
The video and record are ultimately a fun way to get people to hear the song, but I’m just as proud of the video as I am the song. Ultimately they enhance each other and it’s extremely gratifying to see people connect with what we’re doing and share it with friends and family. The message of the song and the video are one and the same – that you should have the courage to reinvent yourself, and I think that’s largely what’s resonating with people. In terms of the industry, I’d say that musically this band doesn’t fit into to an exact scene so it’s helpful to have the right video to reach a wide spectrum of people that appreciate what we do.

What’s your next ambitious goal? Any more record breaking?
My biggest goal right now is to respond to all the tweets and comments we’re getting from people about the video and song. Luckily that goal is getting more ambitious by the day but that connection with people is what matters most. As excited as we are to see the view counter on YouTube keep climbing, it’s really the people who stick by you for the long haul that matter, so we’re having fun talking to all these great new people in our lives. If we can set a record for the most tweets and YouTube comments responded to in a day, I think we’ll be heading in the right direction.

Written and conducted by: Brian Lion

Brian Leak

Editor-In-Chief. King of forgetting drinks in the freezer. Pop culture pack rat. X-Phile. LOST apologist.
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