Artist Interview: 1-on-1 with Eyes On Fire

Artist Interview: 1-on-1 with Eyes On FireWhere did these guys come from? I honestly have no idea how I was first introduced to this band. But that’s okay, because these guys are incredible. They have the look… they have the tunes… and produce a very polished sound that demands to be on the radio and on stage right next to some of the biggest and best rock bands out there. Rock is a pretty wide spread genre… but I would describe these guys as “hard rock”. I might even throw in a dash of metal, too. Just take a listen, and you will hear what I’s talking about. Regardless, they are very nice individuals (I hope that doesn’t tarnish their image) and I was stoked that they showed interest in the next presents six bands for six bucks. I am excited to have them a part of the bill. After confirming them to play, I started listening to them on a regular basis. Then I started hearing them on the radio. It made me realize that these guys have a VERY bright future ahead of them, and I wish them the best. It is my pleasure to introduce you to Eyes On Fire.

Your eyes aren’t really on fire, are they? Where did you guys come up with that name? 

Well, the story behind the band’s name goes back to a time when the band wasn’t any more than an idea. Choosing a cool band name that has any meaning to it is a challenge when you haven’t yet experienced anything together. Someone threw out Eyes On Fire and someone else thought it sounded cool and we kept it. As much as I wish there were, there’s no great meaning or story behind the band’s name, but we weren’t really about being deep before Sahar had an active role. We were about writing cool riffs and head banging.

Where did you all meet?

We all met in the music scene. I left a band and moved here from Ohio chasing some broad and when I got settled I needed music again… pronto.  Eric had an ad hanging in the back of Guitar Center for a project he was trying to start; he was looking for a singer. I called him up and we wrote a few songs together, which pretty well sucked because I’m no singer so it didn’t last long. We stayed in touch though, and he was the first dude I called when it was time for me to start a band for real.

The first time I went out in this town was to Birdy’s Bar & Grill. I was looking for a place to see heavy bands and was directed to a Dystalis show. Sahar was the singer and I was really into his style right away.  I remember telling myself that when I finally started another band that dude was going to be my singer. That was in 2002.  We got to know each other through mutual friends in the scene and nearly five years later he was writing vocals for the first Eyes On Fire song, Behind The Walls Of Sleep.

How long have you been performing together?

It took a while to get things moving. We realized right away that we’d have a challenge finding the perfect fit for the other roles in the band. Our drummer and bassist positions were like a revolving door for the first year or so. Eric and I got to work writing the material for Anger To Ashes and eventually we found our sound and the right guys to cover the spots and were able to perform for the first time in late 2008. So, we’re on our third year as performing artists.

I love the Anger to Ashes album cover. But it sort of scares me a little bit! Who designed that?

I met Dan Mecca at the same show I met Sahar. He was at all the shows; he’s still a pretty big supporter of music. I remember him telling me it was his goal to find a band, but in the meantime he’d just follow these guys and rock out.  “If you can’t live, you might as well live vicariously,” he’d say.  He later went on to start a design company called Bleeding Media and we have to credit him with pretty much all Eyes On Fire related artwork. He’s been a loyal supporter of our efforts from the start.

Who writes all of your lyrics?

Sahar. Isn’t that how it is in most bands… the singer writes the lyrics? This guy is a great writer. Everything he writes has a specific meaning, but I’ve found that an EOF song can easily match almost any moment or mood you might be thinking of while you’re listening to it as if it were written about that particular time. That might just be me, but it’s awesome nonetheless. I love it when I can feel the vocals in a song.

I notice that you guys go by EOF quite a bit. Do you prefer one to the other?

Well, if there were a preference I’d say of course we prefer to be addressed by our name. The EOF thing was really just an easy way to abbreviate the name to cut down on typing characters initially. We do that a lot because our primary communication method has to be text messaging. Plus, abbreviating a bands name is kind of the thing to do these days. Ours is no different.

Do you all have jobs outside of music?

Of course. Being in an unsigned band is expensive if you’re doing it professionally, not to mention we all have fairly expensive life styles.  You can’t not have a job.

Really excited to have you guys on the next presents six bands for six bucks. You guys getting excited for that show?

Oh yeah. We get excited for every show like it’s the most important show ever, but this one in particular is exciting because of the promotional efforts and opportunities provided. Most local shows don’t get much more attention than a quick flyer and what promotion bands are capable of on their own. It’s always cool to be part of an event that a promoter obviously works hard on has outlets available that we might not usually be able to take advantage of, like radio advertising for instance. The filming and recordings you’re offering are the icing on the cake.

There are a ton of great rock bands out there. Who are some of your favorites?

Oh man, that’s always a tough question to answer, mostly because when you get five people of five different backgrounds there’s a huge list of styles and influences to draw from. We draw inspiration largely from the bands out there doing what we’re trying to do that fit our style. Heavy metal bands that are able to break free from genre stereotypes and become popular on the public scene, like All That Remains, Bullet For My Valentine and Avenged Sevenfold. Really though, the list of our favorite bands as a group would take a whole day to compose.

X103 has been a big supporter of your work. What’s it like hearing your tunes on the radio?

Incredible. It took a while to get that kind of attention. I’m not sure they were too impressed with our first releases or that our music was radio material. We never set out to make radio music in the first place; rather it was annoying to hear simple and thoughtless music over and over. It doesn’t take much skill to create a radio hit, the right repetition of a few power chords and a catchy chorus seem to be all bands have to put out to get it played, especially if they’ve already got a deal. The X played a couple songs from Anger To Ashes here and there on the local hour, but it wasn’t until we released When I Die that they took a real interest or took us seriously.

Our writing process, musical ability and the production quality matured a lot on this new album; I think that helped a lot. But being part of radio showcases and hearing our interviews and the song played is quite a feeling of accomplishment. We’re receiving an awesome amount of positive feedback and making new fans from it, so we’re pumped to say the least.

Tell me a little bit more about your affiliation with FMB Records.

(Laughs) That’s funny. There’s no such thing as FMB Records. When you’re an unsigned band setting up an online profile and the record label field is available, sometimes you just fill it with something funny. FMB is an inside joke among the band and it represents the idea that any production released or distributed is all done in house with our own personal efforts.

You guys recently had the opportunity to open for Hawthorne Heights. What was that like? (I really like that band, by the way.)

Honestly, it was like any other the Rock House Cafe show that we’ve done. The thing that was special about that show for us was the debut of a new line up after a short hiatus and regrouping. We had a somewhat controversial (among die hard EOF fans) change of drummer so a lot of people turned out just to see what it was going to be like. As for opening for Hawthorne Heights, we’ve had much more exciting opportunities opening for bands that have more drawing power and in other cities that our sound is better suited to open for, like Bullet For My Valentine and Sevendust.

Looks like you guys have all of the social media sites covered. Who handles all of those efforts?

I do, for the most part. We all have an online presence and each of us promote our band and ourselves as often as we can. Typically I maintain those sites, something that needs more attention, more often honestly.  The Internet is an amazing tool for bands and we’ve barely scratched the surface of taking advantage of it.

What’s the best concert you have ever been to?

Jeez, how can you narrow it down when there are so many to choose from?  I saw 311 in 1999 outdoors in Columbus, Ohio (huge fan, but don’t tell my metal friends that) and the vibe at one of their shows, at least ten years ago, was amazing.  There was this sense of unity among total strangers that is hard to describe… you had to be there. More recently though my girlfriend and I got the royal treatment and Mayhem 2009 and the lineup that year was awesome. Killswitch Engage, All That Remains, Bullet, Lamb of God… all favorites and we had full access. It was pretty sweet.

It’s nice to see a band treating their sound as a brand. Speaking of that, who designed your logo?

Again, credit for any digital design has to go to Bleeding Media Design.

Where can I get some Eyes on Fire merchandise?

Well, the shows of course. We always have the table set up everywhere we go. It’s not set up at this moment, but there’s an online store at where people can pick up a shirt. Your best bet is to come get rocked at a show and grab a shirt from one of us. It’s way more personal and that’s how we like it.

That photo on your website… where was that shot? That’s just such a sick (sick in a good way, of course) photograph. I love it!)

I found a set of abandoned passenger train cars near where I live from like the 50’s or something and I had to explore them. They were disgusting actually, but the setting was perfect for a photo shoot I thought so we tried it. They turned out pretty killer. I’m actually hoping we film a video in one of them.

Where do you guys practice?

Where haven’t we practiced… our drummer has converted his garage into a sweet studio and that’s where we practice now. Before that we spent a lot of time at the Music Garage. Chris, the guy who runs the place, is super cool and the space is perfect for the band living in suburbia with neighbors.

Wait a minute… you have played with Sevendust too. How do you get put on all these killer bills?

There’s a couple different ways. Some of them we pursue and some of them we’ve been asked to be part of based on our sound and image. We go after every opportunity there is to play with a signed band and really it’s up to the promoter. If you present yourself as big and professional as you can, it’ll get noticed and could make the difference of who gets asked.

I have not been there yet, but you guys seem to play a lot of shows at the Rock House. Makes sense… you guys are a rock band. What’s that venue like?

The Rock House is awesome. It’s my favorite place to play because it’s become comfortable. The stage is a good size and so is the room.  The sound system slams, a must for and Eyes On Fire performance. Matt takes good care of us, he’s responsible for some of the cooler gigs we’ve gotten. Definitely a great place to play or watch a show.

What’s a typical Friday night look like for you?

There’s no such thing as a typical Friday night when you’re always on the move.

What’s the biggest crowd you have ever played for? The smallest?

One time we drove to Madison, Indiana… something like two hours away, and set up inside of what turned out to be a coffee shop. The only people in attendance were a couple dudes who came with us. Not even the other bands playing that night would hang out for it. It was a total waste, but we made the best of it and had a good time.  That has be the smallest crowd ever.

Our biggest crowd would have to be the Battle of Birdy’s finals. I think it was one of the biggest crowds that event has ever seen… it was a packed house.

You have a very polished, professional sound. It’s something that sets you apart from a lot of other bands. You guys haven’t been together all that long. How did you manage to get such a polished sound? Just hard work and lots of practice?

That’s exactly it. I knew from the word go that I wanted to deliver a show. I’ve seen too many bands that just go play and wing it and go with what happens. It doesn’t look like they put any thought into the performance side of things. I think we have a ways to go yet, but we rehearse our show down to the second so there isn’t a single moment of “nothing” happening, you know? Trying to keep your attention…

What can someone expect from seeing you perform live? What’s an Eyes On Fire show look like to the audience?

You can expect high energy and an engaging performance. We only stop moving to check on something or catch a quick breath. It can be a challenge to perfect a live show, especially when the stage/crowd is always different. The goal is to let the crowd see how much fun we’re having in the hope that they’re having fun too.

I know it’s a long time from now. But where do you see yourselves in five years?

In five years we will have recorded a couple of more albums, played countless more shows and tried like hell to get the show into the hands of someone who cares to take it to the next level. In the meantime, we plan to keep writing the music we love and performing it as long as people will come and see it. No one can know what the future holds, but this crew is definitely in it for the right reasons, which is to explore the love of making music and performing with the intent to take it seriously enough to make a move when the time comes, but keeping a realistic view of things so we don’t allow our personal lives to suffer too much and can keep enjoying all of what Eyes On Fire is.

When this is all said and done, what do you want to be remembered for? The band… what’s the Eyes On Fire legacy?

Most of all we want to be remembered for being cool, down to earth dudes who make rocking music. There’s definitely a message in the lyrics, a statement of how we feel about the states of things or personal moments. If you listen you can’t help but relate, even if what the song means to you is off base from its intended meaning.  There’s no legacy per se, just a strong desire to leave a good and lasting impression of cool people who write sweet music and put on a killer show.

We’re a heavy metal band… we’re not trying to change the world, but we will make a statement about it and try like hell to rock your face in the process.

In all of the interviews that I have done, I always let the artist get the last word. Go.

We’re super pumped for the entire music scene in Indianapolis to be experiencing the growth and movement that its seen lately compared to years passed and honored to be a part of it and a part of events like this. Huge thanks goes to the music fans out there that keep giving guys like me a reason to rock out on a Saturday night. Hopefully each and every band out there realizes how valuable you are and that there would be no show without you…

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