- Posted on Mar 15th 2010 5:09PM by James Meyers
How would describe your sound to someone who's never heard the band?
Well, if it were someone who is familiar with underground music, I would describe our sound as heavy, psychedelic, high-energy punk with gross, fuzzy guitars, weird noises and Keith Moon-style percussion. We just really try to sound different; we won't settle for the ordinary, boring music. We try to take old sounds and influences and make them sound new and unique. For just like a stranger or someone not into the underground scene I guess I would call it acid freak rock music for weirdoes.
What are your influences?
We have a really wide range of influences and things we're into. I'm completely into '70s punk, especially stuff out of the Cleveland scene like the Dead Boys, Rocket From the Tombs, Pere Ubu. I dig stuff from the '60s that I discovered from the 'Back From the Grave' and 'Nuggets' compilations. When I was really young, I was so into glam rock and that still has a big influence on me, especially visually as performer. I got into psychedelic music because I figured out that it sounds just like punk but is not as stripped down, Kraut-rock stuff like Faust and Can, the Deviants from England and the first two Soft Machine records. Our bass player is really into Northern Soul and that brings a cool dimension to the band, like a secret melody or rhythm. Johnny is into early-'90s bands like My Bloody Valentine and Sonic Youth, stuff I really love also, and they've been a big influence on us.
How did the band begin?
I was in a band before called the Clone Defects that broke up around July of 2003. I can't believe how much time has passed so fast. Any way, I was really bummed because I desperately wanted to keep on making music. I kept running into Johnny at live shows and we got to talking. He told me he was experimenting with a bunch of pedals and synths, I was always into experimental music even back in the Clone Defects, so we just started jamming. We wanted to create crazy, different noises and they started to become songs. Johnny had a friend who played bass, barely at best and then all of a sudden we realized we were a band and we needed a drummer. Unfortunately, our bass player had a bit of a burglary problem and ended up in jail. Then we met Brad and we were off.
What's the story behind the band name?
I walked into our rehearsal space and Johnny was working on a model of a human eye. I've always been fascinated by eyes for some reason. I was always drawing them when I was growing up. Skulls are, like, everywhere, but eyes are so much cooler. I thought it would be a great name for a band. A lot of bands were "the" whatever, we decided no "the" -- we'd just be Human Eye. I even have a huge collection of toy eyeballs.
Human Eye has a reputation for outrageous live performances. What are some of the crazy things you do for shows?
I make my own masks and do a lot of stuff with electrical tubing. I've been known to include raw seafood as part of our performance, kind of something you have to experience to understand. I think it's really important to provide an insane visual and musical experience to really make it memorable. You should get you money's worth when you see a band live. When I was like 18, I used to smash the mic into my forehead until I bled; it was a real nihilistic, Iggy Pop kind of thing. I was always way into Alice Cooper and try to have a show, full of weird, wild, insane, sci-fi movie madness -- just not so nihilistic any more.
Have you played Austin before? What are you looking forward to most about SXSW?
This is the third time I'll be playing at Southwest. I've played in Austin like 10 times, going back to my old band. I love it there; it's really cool. I love being down south. I lived in Arizona as a kid and I really love the desert. I can't wait for the good Mexican food and barbecue, and to see friends from all over the world I don't get to see often enough. It's gonna be like a punk-rock rally. I can't wait to hang out with Wes Coleman of the Golden Boys, getting really drunk and petting his Chihuahua. He has a Chihuahua -- seriously.
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