Des and John of Early Eyes performing at Wam-O-Rama 2017 (Maia Jacobson)
At the beginning of this year I sat down with Early Eyes, a hot new college band who were taking the local scene by storm. Tonight Jake Berglove (guitar/vocals), Des Lawrence (bass), Wyatt Fuller (drums), Joe Villano (guitar), and John O’Brein (guitar) will be celebrating one year of Early Eyes at the Ferguson Amphitheater as a part of the University of Minnesota’s West Bank Arts Quarter Festival. I recently met up with the guys again to talk updates, future plans, and their parent approval rating.
Probably the most notable change that fans will catch, if they haven’t already, is the lineup change. After their EP release show in support of Minutes back in May, they bid farewell to guitarist and vocalist Henry Patterson (who has since launched his solo endeavor as Henry James Patterson). Taking his place are two new guitarists, Joe Villano and John O’Brien.
“So we [Villano and O’Brein] were actually in a band called Early Eyes Twoo, and then we all talked to each other and were like, let’s just make this one thing,” joked Villano. They met Villano through another band he is a member of, Very Much Yes, and O’Brien through school last year.
“Fun fact! Joe and John were both at our first show, so technically it’s still like a reunion show,” explained Fuller.
Early Eyes cite several new bands as having become more influential in their writing, playing, and performance over the summer, specifically Tatsuro Yamashita and Casiopea. “Lately I’ve been listening to a lot of jazz jazz, like Latin jazz and 60’s club jazz. It’s totally changed the way that I sing, because jazz is all about picking out notes rather than just singing,” said Berglove. The whole band expressed a lot of love for Pinegrove’s music. “They have a Tiny Desk, I feel like that should be enough to put anyone in the Mainroom!” yelled Berglove, disappointed Pinegrove’s 7th St Entry show (Oct. 19) sold out so quickly.
They’ve been working on a lot of new music, and are starting to “work on working on a new EP,” as Lawrence put it. The band are just starting to finalize arrangements and figure out which songs will be recorded, and have been talking with Chris Koza about the possibility of him producing.
Early Eyes have a dedicated fan group who they say are dedicated to telling their friends about music. “It’s honestly all the little hipster kids, who cuff their pants and wear vans,” said O’Brien about their fans. When I pointed out that everyone in the room had cuffed pants, Berglove replied, “It’s a rule, you can’t be in the band if you don’t cuff your pants.”
When I asked about how parents respond to the band, considering a lot of their fans are teenagers, they said that they’re pretty much mom- and dad-approved. “Our friend Andy’s dad loves our stuff,” said Lawrence, adding, “I’ve been hearing from multiple sources that we sound like Steely Dan, and that is such a dad band…but I don’t think we sound anything like Steely Dan.”
Tonight’s show starts at 8:15 p.m. at Ferguson Amphitheater on the West Bank; admission is free. Early Eyes will be playing their fan favorites along with a handful of new tracks, including one special surprise song that you’ll just have to come out to hear because I was sworn to secrecy. Help them celebrate their one-year anniversary, and kick off the start of many more.