Laughing City
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wilsmith
Vintage Newbie


Marina, who created the wonderful graphics for our contributors which I will post later in a PDF/ Printable magazine format of the Plenty Of Paper contributions was kind enough to do an interview with us:



When Eisley declared they were making “A Special Kind of Music For You.” over a decade ago, it was hard to argue with that claim. Their creativity was unbridled and the music they came up with was evolving and full of ideas. The inspiration at work led to an inspired fanbase. It led to an international following. Because of this Memories has the honor of welcoming our first international contributor, hailing from Brazil, Marina. She also happens to be the creative force behind what I understand to be the only Brazilian Eilsey fansite http://eisleybr.blogspot.com/ which serves as a sister site to Strange Yellow Patterns, but this sister speaks Portuguese! Marina’s enthusiasm a talent for expressing herself, even though she is not very fluent in english, comes through whenever she contributes. Because of these she was given the chance to take on our most ambitious Memories interview to date:

A Very Special Eisley's Ep B-Sides 2005-2007* Interview

*Away We Go dates back to 2009 and is the only song on the Fire Kites EP to not be rerecorded and re-released, so I am including it among the songs because it was an older demo, though I don't know how old, and the only song of theirs that wouldn't have a home in our EP coverage.


Wil: Eisley was once a very prolific band when it came to releasing B-sides, it's always a fun subject to discuss. So, not counting songs previously recorded for the early EPs or Room Noises, what was your favorite Eisley B-Side from this period? How'd you come to hear it?


Marina: Like The Actors, no doubt. I’m not sure how I discovered it, but surely Combinations had been already released at the time. I think this occurred during a period of “hunting songs” (even though I liked Eisley so much, I only had a few songs). It was very difficult to find their songs, and my source was whatever eMule could offer me. I found one or two random songs sifting through Google. I simply discovered that song inside my Eisley’s mp3 collection, probably.


Wil: How long did it take before you found out about the other B-sides from similar EPs? How would you compare your reactions to each?


Marina: I started my Eisley music library in 2006 and only completed it in 2009 (after that, I followed the releases as they came out). EPs and singles are not very popular among Brazilian artists, so it never crossed my mind to type "Eisley EP download" on Google at that time. I only knew the term “EP” later. So the songs that I had were all loose, randomly gathered. When I finally organized my discography, the songs became "sortable" to me. Only then could I understand which song belonged to which era. Since I didn’t discover the EPs in chronological order – but all more or less at the same time – to me all the b-sides were great songs that had not been included their CDs. Simple as that. But comparing through a overall– and later these releases – view, there were a lot of good findings:

Telescope Eyes EP was a pleasant surprise, a small happy outbreak of the band compared to their other releases; Head Against The Sky brings some of the marches of the earliest EPs, and their B-sides brought me at the first time the feeling of listening to material that followed a new side that had not shown Room Noises.

Final Noise resumes that circus joy and seemed to indicate that this was the new direction that the sound of the band would take, which was to me a great suspicion. But in Like The Actors EP, the next, there was a mixture: a transition between Room Noises and Combinations while lightly preserving the identity that was displayed in their previous B-sides, but in a much more mature way. Probably that is what makes it my favorite EP. The Like The Actors track is like a bucket of cold water that makes us awake to the new reality of the band's sound, a gorgeous, heavier and at the same time exotic music. I heard the full EP for the first time and it was enough to make me fall in love.


Wil: Do you think there's any unifying aspect of the Eisley B-sides during this period? Would you group songs into particular styles or time periods for the band in terms of what they reflect other than the time period when they were released?


Marina: They seem to follow their own evolutionary sequence apart from the albums – though not completely off them. It is as if Eisley were a band with two career paths. That said, it is difficult to separate these songs into different music groups rather than the chronological. I can only think of marchings (Tree Tops, Escaping Song, Marsh King’s Daughter, They Surrounded Me), post-marches (Sun Feet, Like The Actors), "girlies" (Vintage People, Away We Go, Tree Tops), alternatives (Mr. Pine, Head Against The Sky) but I think the chronological grouping works better since this classification is very relative.


Wil: How would you sequence an EP of just these 7 tracks: Vintage People, The Escaping Song, They All Surrounded Me, Sun Feet, Marsh King's Daughter, Like the Actors, & Away We Go*? Why that order, what does it evoke?

Marina:
1 – Escaping Song
2 – They All Surrounded Me
3 – Vintage People,
4 – Away We Go
5 – Sun Feet
6 – Like The Actors
7 – Marsh King’s Daughter

I tried to do a conceptual EP. The first five tracks tell a little fantasy history. So then comes Like The Actors, that would be a kind of “WAKE UP!” about everything that has happened so far, as the previous songs were just a dream and you were waking up in a very different reality. It is a song that offers two possibilities: the disillusionment and the nostalgia about that dream. So Marsh King’s Daughter closes and restarts the fantasy again, forming a cycle, as if even after the disappointment you would be free to continues to stray regardless of the reality being so different. This is a choice, escapism or even irony, it depends on your viewpoint.


Wil: If you expanded it to include the studio versions of Head Against the Sky, Mr. Pine, Tree Tops, & Away We Go* How would you sequence it as an album


Marina: This is similar to the previous attempt. The new beginning of the “fantastic dream” would be Mr. Pine, and Tree Tops would work as a preface, which contrasts intentionally with Like The Actors in the end. Escaping Song would be a bonus track since its place was taken by Tree Tops in this new re-telling. And the elusive climax happens to be upfront and intensified with Head Against The Sky and extends through Like the Actors.

1 – Tree Tops
2 – Mr. Pine
3 – Vintage People
4 – They All Surrounded Me
5 – Head Against The Sky
6 – Away We Go
7 - Sun Feet
8 – Like The Actors
9 – Marsh King’s Daughter
10 – Escaping Song (Bonus Track)

Wil: Where would your B-Sides & Rarities EP & LP rank against the other EPs?


Marina: As I said, Like The Actors is my favourite EP, it is a perfect set for me, without adding or remove any song, no matter how good. My B-sides EP would come on second place, since it got all Like The Actors’ B-sides plus other really cool songs. The same would happens with the LP, probably.


Wil: What's your favorite of these songs? What about it makes you like it that much? Where does it rank in the Eisley catalog of tunes?


Marina: Like The Actors has the Combinations essence, my favourite full length also. Like the album, this song is sweet and exotic. I am on “Stacy’s team”, and particularly I think between 2006 and 2007 her voice was more fantastic than at any other era. It was changing and yet still had Room Noises remnants, and it had not been consolidated in her mature Combinations voice on and on. This song probably is in my “TOP 5 Eisley’s Songs”.

Wil: What's an "unstolen" Eisley song that lacks a studio version that you'd love to show up on an EP or LP someday?


Marina: Well, despite all this love for Like The Actors, I would choose Mr. Pine or Laughing City. They are very awesome songs. It’s amazing to think these songs were written when the band was so new, still so inexperienced. I believe these song are ahead of their time. But the demos between 2005 and 2007, I would choose They All Surrounded Me, for the same reasons as the songs already mentioned, but also because I think this music should go out in a just exclusive Eisley EP, as well as having a more attention drawn to it and have it included in live performances.

Wil: Anything else you want to share about Eisley's B-Sides (which was also a nickname they gave their younger siblings before they became touring and recording musicians themselves)?

Marina: Nothing special. But since we are talking about B-sides/non-album tracks, it reminds me the demo track that Stacy recorded with Christie (forming the Trail Van Hide) called A Kiss From Mars. I’m not sure about the date of this song... It is a side project that I believe many fans agreed would be very interesting if it was taken forward. The song is a good fusion between Eisley and Merriment, still considering what both bands are today, and resulted in very curious stuff. Probably we will never see when this track hits the light of dayt, but who knows? Once upon a time Lost Enemies was a discarded Combinations demo (2005 ~ 2007).... (And Lost and Found, which is the same age, got an acoustic version released in a vinyl Split 7”)....

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wilsmith
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Marsh King's Daughter was kind enough to answer my interview request for my personal favorite, Deep Space:

The Deep Space-EP is a bit of a turning point for Eisley. It was their first release after leaving Warner Brothers Records and also their first release recorded in their own home studio. It turns out the combination of liberating factors along with some personal difficulties they were going through in their family, fueled what could be considered one of their most signature recordings in their entire catalog. For some fans this could be seen as a very divisive point. Deep Space was also an opportunity for Eisley to embrace a unique production quality throughout the length of the EP. It also has the distinction of being the only EP in the catalog constituted of material exclusive to that release alone, with the exception of one song [cite the song].

Giving us some insight on Deep Space is someone who is an independent publisher in their own right and a working writer as well. On Laughing City she is known as the marsh king's daughter, but to others she is Taylor. We're very fortunate to have her with us as a fellow contributor.

Do you recall your expectations when you heard that Eisley was working on an EP be in August of 2011?


I was just ecstatic to hear that my favorite band was going to be releasing new music again. However difficult the tangle with Warner Brothers was for the band, it was difficult for fans as well. The Valley was a satisfying album release, but Deep Space felt like the first real, independent step for the band since their early EPs.

What was your initial reaction to the videos of “Lights Out” and “One Last Song” from the fall tour?

I remember being blown away by the tempo change in “One Last Song,” and especially by the arrangement of the live version. It reminded me of “Over the Mountains” or “Lullaby,” two of my favorite early-Eisley songs, which build similarly. “Lights Out” is a bit more upbeat, harder Eisley, reminiscent of “Smarter” or “Sun Feet,” and it’s not my favorite sound, personally. But that was an exciting song to hear as well.


I can't recall when the song “Laugh it Off” was released, whether that be prior to the EP coming out, or after, but what impact did that have on you when you heard it?

You know, “Laugh it Off” was a slow burn for me. And now it is very much burning - it’s actually my favorite Eisley song since Room Noises, and I think it encapsulates Stacy’s Sucre motto (brutal, booty, beauty). It’s got a mesmerizing beat, perfect harmonies, and just the most soul-aching melody. And the lyrics, too, are some of Eisley’s best. Themes of sisterly bonds, the sense that you can get through anything if you just stick together. Powerful stuff coming from a band that consists largely of sisters.

Since I have mentioned all the other tracks in some fashion, with the exception of “192 Days,” I have to ask what is your take on the title track itself? I don't particularly feel it's like anything Eisley had ever done, but I also hear certain aspects of how it was arranged at work and things they've done since. What's your take on that?

“Deep Space” is what I like to call Classic Eisley. Whimsical lyrics telling a fantastical story (in this case, two lovers floating in space), a great driving beat, back-and-forth lead vocals from Sherri and Stacy, killer instrumentation. You’re right that this is a new sound for Eisley, but it is very much like patchwork. While I prefer the ethereal sound of songs like “Laugh it Off” to the harder edge of “Deep Space,” this is a fitting title track for a new era of Eisley.

If you had to create a flow chart that showed previous Eisley songs that fed into the tracks on Deep Space and how those tracks on Deep Space then fed into tracks on the subsequent releases by Eisley, Sucre or Perma's albums, which tracks would you choose?

Some of my answers above show feed-ins from previous Eisley songs. “Sun Feet,” “Smarter,” “Over the Mountains,” “Lullaby,” and I would add that “Trolly Wood” is a fitting ancestor for “192 Days.” As far as post-Deep Space, I definitely see the connections between these songs and tracks from Currents, particularly “Wonder English,” “Drink the Water,” and “Blue Fish” as compliments to “Laugh it Off” and “Deep Space.”

As far as Sucre and Perma releases go, Stacy’s sound is so much more orchestral and dance-y on the Loner - EP that I don’t really see much of a connection, and Perma’s Two of a Crime has such a distinct Max Bemis grit to it. Eisley really does have a unique sound, even among all the side projects that the various band-members have undertaken.

If you were given the opportunity to expound on what kind of atmosphere Deep Space creates sonically, how would you describe the elements of the music, the impression it creates- the vibe of it?

Each major Eisley release does have a distinct vibe. Room Noises was childlike, playful. Combinations was the sonic equivalent of a Ben Sherman sweater collection. Currents is aquatic - drifting, undertow, crashing waves of sound. Deep Space then is, well, space-y. There’s a lot of depth to the instrumentation, giving the sound the feeling of three dimensions. When I hear the EP, I think of shooting stars and extraterrestrials. The build ups in the songs do feel very much like rocket ships taking off, while the more softly arranged songs have the feeling of floating, free from gravity.

If someone were immersing themselves in the listening the listening experience that is Deep Space repeatedly and were looking for the next logical Eisley release or material to listen to, what would you choose for them, be it full-length album or an EP or even a custom playlist of your own selection ( which you can feel free to include)?

I actually really love the progression from Deep Space to Currents, just because Eisley sounds so much better when they’re in control of the production, and those are the only two releases that come from their home studio so far. That said, I could see fans of Deep Space going in two other directions: to Sucre’s A Minor Bird (“Chemical Reaction” would be a great compliment to the EP) or to The Laughing City EP, which is almost like the kid sister of Deep Space -- five songs showcasing the diversity and complexity of Eisley’s sound.

Anything else about Deep Space that you'd like to share?

Yes. “Laugh it Off” is the best, listen to it two hundred times in a row and you’ll see what I mean.

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FOR YOUR RATING PLEASURE:
4 LIKE Buttons, 1 NEUTRAL, 1 VEXED, 5 DISLIKE buttons. LC > FB

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Wink = personal fave Mr. Green = Eisley fans should dig it
Joined: 09 Apr 2008 | Posts: 9564 | Location: Greater St. Louis Area
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Marina, who created the wonderful graphics for our contributors which I will post later in a PDF/ Printable magazine format of the Plenty Of Paper contributions was kind enough to do an interview with us:
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