There was one album among all the releases I've received during the last twelve months, that immediately caught my attention. It was the self-titled debut (actually a compilation) from Maryland's THE FLYING EYES. These four guys are not really old, but they sound as if they are together since thirty years. Their music is deeply rooted in the heavy blues of the late 1960's and enriched with traces of psychedelic rock. It is therefore no wonder that THE FLYING EYES sound as if they have travelled with a time-machine into our current decade. Well, ok, today there are hundred of bands around who are trying to revive the spirit and sound of the 1960's and 1970's. Some of them are really good, but there are also a lot of groups who just annoy me with their soulless retro-spirit. But THE FLYING EYES can be counted among the more challenging ones, because they write excellent songs full of feelings and soul. Vocalist Will Kelly has an extremely powerful voice and I'm surprised that he doesn't spent his childhood in the Mississippi delta. Based on my enthusiasm for this young band, I sent a couple of questions to drummer Elias Schutzman who was so kind to answer them, because we had to talk about some things including the upcoming European summer tour, a new album and more.
Before we talk about the current activities of your band, I would like to start with the typical question regarding the foundation of THE FLYING EYES. When did you start and what was the reason for it? What have you done before?
The earliest life forms of the band began about 6 years ago for no other reason then friends wanting to stir up their creative juices. It started with me, Adam and Mac. We knew nothing, barely even how to play our instruments, except the love we had for music. Three years later the "highschool" band fell apart, but the core three stuck together and decided to rebuild and give it another shot. I don't know if I believe in fate but Will Kelly did seem to embody it when he walked into the audition and immediatly gelled. So we stole him from his "highschool" band and began the new Flying Eyes. Three years after that, here we are about to tour Europe.
Was it planned from the very beginning to re-awaken the psychedelic blues rock spirit from the late sixties/early seventies?
Yes and no. In the early years we were all late 60s heads, Pink Floyd, Hendrix, Cream, so of course we tried to emulate the music we loved to a certain extent. But there was no set goal of re-awakening just a genuine love for this time period in rock music history. I don't think you can "plan" create a sound without coming off forced. Over the years it has now evolved into something more original and honest. Our foundation 60s/70s rock is still there, but it's not what drives us to create anymore. We just make the music we feel.
What do you think about the rise in popularity in vintage rock? Why do people yearn for this kind of music?
Possibly it's reactionary to the plasticization of mainstream music, just like punk was to arena rock. In the midst of Top 40 hip hop, contemporary country and dull indie pop, the raw power, revolutionary spirit and mind expanding psychedelia of "vintage" rock seems to be renewing. However I don't think people want throw back bands or imitations of the classics. They want the potent energy of that time infused with new, original music. That is what we are trying to do. I think The Black Keys have done this quite successfully as well as even lesser known bands like Darker My Love.
Well, actually, you self-titled debut album is a compilation of your two EP's named 'Bad Blood' and 'Winter'. To be honest, I had never heard before of your band so that I think it was a great idea to start with this reissue. But who had the idea for this compilation?
I have to give credit for Michel Bergner of Trip in Time for that one. He had heard our first EP and after I sent him the second one he popped the question. We had no further plans for the EPs really, but we were like sure why not. And we've been really blown away with their work. Even though the material on it is fairly dated, they made us proud of it again.