Brooklyn-based indie band Lazyeyes guitarist and singer Jason Abrishami has never been to Milwaukee – let alone any part of the Midwest really. He’s "real excited," though he also admits he hasn’t even heard that much about the Cream City.
"I need to do my homework before I go these places," he recalled, "because the other band we’re bringing on tour with us, I talked with one of the guys last night, and he was like, ‘Yeah, I already know every single, like, best place to eat in every single city we’re going to.’I was like, ‘What,’ and he’s like, ‘Yeah, we’re gonna go here, and we’re gonna go there.’ I’m like, oh my god."
Luckily, he and his bandmates will be able to check out the city firsthand when the Brooklyn-based band arrives in town for a show at The Mad Planet on Wednesday, July 22 at 9 p.m. (the show is a 21-plus event; $6 in advance or $8 at the door). The show will give Milwaukee a chance to get to know the up-and-coming band as well, snagging attention from the likes of Stereogum and NME with its hypnotic, riff-happy shoegaze-laced dream-rock.
Before his maiden journey into Central Standard Time, OnMilwaukee.com caught up with Abrishami to talk about life on the road, the band’s future plans – including its first LP – and why he wishes he was born 30 years earlier.
OnMilwaukee.com: How has the touring experience been for you guys so far?
Jason Abrishami: It’s been good. We’ve been on two tours before, but they’ve never been longer than about five or six days up more so up in the Northeast. It always me and the drummer Jeremy and the bassist Paul, and we always had a different guitarist come out with us. Now, on this third tour, it’s going to be me and Jeremy and a different bassist and a different guitarist. You can imagine it’s very fun retraining people. (laughs)
OMC: How is that process getting people up to speed on a performance level?
JA: I mean, luckily enough, this is a two-week run, so I’m sure the people we’re playing with, they’re good musicians. I’ve played with one of them before, and the other one is just a veteran of bands in Brooklyn, and he’s been touring a little bit too. He’s a road warrior. So it’s really not bad; it’s just getting people up to speed, and the first show is like jumping into cold water. They shake off all the cobwebs and get into it.
OMC: Do you have any fun traditions or pranks on the road, or is it pretty chill?
JA: We try not to prank each other by locking the keys in the van, which happened last time. That was not a prank; that was a mistake. (laughs) Beyond that, no. Our rituals are just trying to relax before the set, getting to know the locals and hanging out with other bands. We just take it easy; we’re not a bunch of crazy dudes or something.
OMC: What were your motivations or inspirations for Lazyeyes?
JA: I was listening to a lot of different music prior to what I was playing before with The Twees, because that was more, like, indie pop. I wasn’t trying to do that anymore; I was trying to go more into a dream pop, shoegaze kind of feel. I was listening to bands like Ride, My Bloody Valentine, Stone Roses … I was becoming a huge fan of The Smiths and Joy Division. So it spiraled from that and really inspired me, and I kept thinking to myself how much more could I expand on this?
OMC: You have released two EPs so far. Is there any plan for a full-length soon, or are you staying off of that for now?
JA: Oh no, that definitely is the plan. I’ve been demoing for the past few months, and hopefully we’ll have everything on the demo spectrum wrapped up by September. Then we’re gonna figure out where we’re going to record it; there’s already been labels approaching us to release the full-length on vinyl. We’re still weighing options, but at least it’s definitely coming out on vinyl, I can tell you that.
OMC: Do you have a kind of direction you want the LP to take?
JA: I want it to go in a little bit more of a darker direction. I’m thinking of like … I’ve been messing around with the idea of something reminiscent of like ’80s post-punk but with a mix-in of shoegaze with it too. I’m exploring different ideas and different avenues on how it’s going to come out. But it’s definitely a little bit darker, more personal and more emotion into it.
OMC: Was there any reason for this darker direction?
JA: It’s just, you know, things that have been going on in my life, but also trying to figure out how to connect to other people with similar experiences. We’ve all been through some hard times, and within those hard times, you have to see the light that shines through the dark clouds and have some sort of hope, some way to push forward to a better realm.
OMC: How do you feel about the state of the music industry in general today?
JA: I really wish I was born, like, 30 years ago. (laughs) You have no idea. Because then you’d play a show and some guy would come up to you – I assume this is how it was because they kind of make it seem like it – and say he’s from yadda-yadda records, and I really believe in you and you sound great. We want to invest this much money in you, so you don’t have to worry about anything. Your records will come out, and you can just concentrate on your artistic development.
It’s not like that anymore. With streaming, you barely get a fraction of a penny – if you’re lucky. There was one musician from Brooklyn that went and created a website Eternify. Some guy figured out a way to how to hack Spotify – he didn’t publicize it right away; I guess he did it for himself for a little bit – and he took 30-second segments of your song, and he would just play it on a constant loop, as long as he’d let it, and it’d show you how much money you were making. You could barely make even 25 cents in an hour with Eternify, but if you left in on for a really long time, you’re going to start making some money.
It’s kind of sad just to see that that’s what we’re having to come to in order to make some return, because there really isn’t – right now at this very time – any future in the digital market for music. People don’t buy music unless you’re a very high-end artist that labels are just pumping in a lot of money for marketing and you’re constantly being played on the radio every other song. Sure, then you might be able to make some sort of return – but even then I assume those people have a lot of costs to pay back clearly. It’s never really in the favor of the artists at this day in age.
As much as it is a gigantic cliché to say that one has always had a passion for film, Matt Mueller has always had a passion for film. Whether it was bringing in the latest movie reviews for his first grade show-and-tell or writing film reviews for the St. Norbert College Times as a high school student, Matt is way too obsessed with movies for his own good.
When he's not writing about the latest blockbuster or talking much too glowingly about "Piranha 3D," Matt can probably be found watching literally any sport (minus cricket) or working at - get this - a local movie theater. Or watching a movie. Yeah, he's probably watching a movie.