Recently I had the chance to do an interview with a young Italian extreme metal band, Eye Sea Black! As the trio is based in Udine, we did the interview via email, and you can also read the Croatian version of it. The members represent themselves with pseudonyms, so Eye is the bass player and main vocals, Sea plays the guitars, and Black is the drummer. The band recently release their first EP, and you can read our review of it here. Find out what Eye Sea Black had to say on their EP, concerts in Udine and future plans by reading on!
MJM: What are the origins of the band? When and where was the band formed, what were the initial motivations, were there line up changes…?
EYE: ESB was first imagined in 2015. Learning how to scream was a long-time dream I had, so I tried to arrange something! We rehearsed a few times with some different line-ups and we’ve found a stable one as a five-piece, in which I sung only: at the time, we had a second guitarist and a bass player other than us. We started playing some covers and a couple original songs, but during 2016 only the three of us were left, without any tensions with the others anyway. After a brief “and now what?” moment, we decided to carry on as a trio, I picked up my beloved bass after some (too much) time and here we are.
SEA: I knew Eye since 2005. We found each other in order to form a metal band and it happened only ten years later!
BLACK: I’ve been friends with Eye for years and we always wanted to make music together. For various reasons we never decided to do so, until 2015 as she said, when we teamed up with Sea and the other guys. The rest is (brief) history!
MJM: You label yourself as extreme metal. How did you decide to play that genre? (Is it our of love for it or were there more reasons such as the current popularity of the genre or logistic reasons such as the instruments you have/don’t have?)
EYE: I think that extreme metal is the most suitable label, as our genre is very similar to death metal with hardcore, black and thrash hints. We found this genre very natural to play, given our personal influences, different for each of us: we’ve grown up following different paths! However, I don’t think this will help in terms of popularity, because we don’t fit in any of the trends that go on nowadays. We will continue playing what we love, without compromises!
SEA: As Eye said, we don’t have a single way of working with a specific aim. Maybe we’ll find it in the next future or maybe not, that’s not a problem for us as long as we are able to make music we all share and like.
BLACK: Yes, definitely out of love for it! We actually struggled a bit and still do, when someone asks us what genre we play, so we settled on that label in order to save us some hard times explaining. I come from Sicily and moved to Udine five years ago and that’s when I started listening to a lot of extreme music. Probably the colder weather catalysed this sharp change in my musical tastes, haha! (*EYE COUGHS*)
MJM: What can you tell the audience about your EP, “Stigma”? Where was it recorded, mixed, mastered; what was the main idea behind the music and/or the lyrics, if there is any, and if not, you can elaborate on why not.
EYE: “Stigma” was recorded, mixed and mastered at the Golden Room Studio, owned by the very talented Giacomo Barboni: we did a great work together, he’s a professional and we have learned so much from him! As for the artwork, we worked directly on it with our friend Andrea S., who helped us bring to life the ideas we had for the cover and all the graphics. There’s so much of us behind “Stigma”, there’s much of myself, so we went for this cover. All the themes are pretty personal, from the most basic outlet for negative emotions to deep thoughts about my past, from the hard critic to a recent, enlightening reading of mine. I can tell you my favourite ones, “Dura Mater” and “And I Felt My Life Blazing” (quite funny, because that was the one I liked the least in the beginning!).
SEA: We didn’t spend much time in producing and recording “Stigma”, it happened quickly and without much overthinking. We proceeded quite instinctively.
BLACK: Giacomo at Golden Room really succeeded in catching our ideas and putting them into sounds, we are very, very satisfied with the results. As for the themes, I confirm it’s pretty personal: so personal that almost only her knows the lyrics in detail! (laughs)
MJM: Even though bands detest this question, and with good reason, I am interested in your band name. How did it come about, and is the name of the band anyhow related to any of the songs, such as “I See Black”?
EYE: (laughs) I understand bands detest this question, but in this case it’s pleasant because it’s been a “landmark” in our path. We decided to go with this name while we were still five people in the band, after tons of more or less valid suggestions. After remaining the three of us, I said: “guys, did you notice that each of these words can represent us?”. And in fact they do! Now you have to figure out why (smiles)
SEA: Eye Sea Black – I See Black – Icy Black… You can read it however you like! (laughs) Anyway… Eye, Sea and Black are three beautiful elements in my mind!
BLACK: That’s another part I struggle with when someone asks this question! And actually there’s a connection with “I See Black”, since one of the things that made us settle on that name was the fact that you could write it in those two ways but with the same pronouncing.
MJM: How are you satisfied with the reception of the EP?
EYE: The response is often positive, with some enthusiastic comments and my sugary-black little heart gets all emotional! I hope we will be able to reach more and more people: it’s not easy, managing this by ourselves.
SEA: I’m satisfied even if just one person is touched by our music. So I’m already really satisfied.
BLACK: Yes, personally it’s me and Eye’s first effort of this kind, since Sea already published some material with another band before. I’m constantly looking at all the smallest reactions and everytime is a huge joy for me.
MJM: What is the current situation with live shows? How many have you had, how many are in plan and what were the main problems with booking gigs?
EYE: In our area, live music and especially extreme music is not well seen anymore. At this point, there are only a couple venues that let bands play. It wasn’t like this years ago and it’s a pity and a shame. As I said before, doing this by ourselves it’s not easy to find gigs, also because the best chances are far from where we live. As of today, we played two gigs: the first edition of the Fast Fist Fest in Bassano del Grappa and a contest in Sacile, in which we were a close second!
MJM: What were the best (and the worst) parts of the gigs you already played?
EYE: Remembering Fast Fist Fest, definitely the good company and the nice venue. My voice never sounded better, thanks to a great sound guy! Talking about the My-Stage contest, the audience was absolutely out of context (old people, children and families) but they appreciated our music! Incredible! During the first song, my bass strip decided to commit suicide, so I had to stay in balance like a flamingo for probably a third of the whole song (and trying not to laugh too much while I was screaming)… Good thing I go to the gym!
SEA: I remember the performance of “Dura Mater” during our first gig. Black started really, really, really slow and we looked awkwardly at each other…
BLACK: Fast Fist Fest was my first gig ever, I remember everything got to my nerves before starting, but then the adrenaline rush made it all easy. My-Stage was great as well, since we gained a lot more confidence in the meantime as a band. Actually during that second gig, one of my cymbals decided to commit suicide as well, and I had to wait for the end of the song to fix it!
MJM: What are your plans for the future? Any new material in store for your fans?
EYE: First of all, we would really like to bring “Stigma” live in some new places. Our next rehearsals will be devoted to keep our playing in shape and we’ll try to write something new, maybe! Something is moving!
MJM: Have you tried searching for a label, or are you happy with independent publishing/promotion etc.?
EYE: We received some offers, but none of them seemed suitable for us. We’d like to find a nice label for us and we will start looking for one in the next future: in the meantime, we carry on as best as we can!
BLACK: We don’t mind being independent, at least in this first period, but it’s no secret that things would be easier with a label. We will try and look for someone who doesn’t hate us completely and hopefully we will find something good for us!
MJM: Do you have any advice, or tips and tricks for those just starting?
EYE: Oh, I consider myself as a “just starting”! The ESB apocalypse has yet to be unleashed on the world! (smiles) This is quite obvious, but the only advice I can give is: be yourselves, play what you like and what makes you really feel good. Listen to the critiques, learn from them, but follow your own path with a smile (and with face painting, haha!).
SEA: People please play with other musicians, not only in your bedrooms! Sharing music with other people changed my life and that’s something I will never regret.
BLACK: the first thing that comes to my mind is if you want to do something, just do it. Don’t be afraid of the response you might get and of the new good and bad experiences you’re going to face. Maybe you will succeed or maybe not, but if you love what you do, that’s what really matters.
Written by Ines Suic