Interview with Dead Eyes Opened

Dead Eyes Opened are a Scottish band from Edinburgh, formed in 2009. With their unique adaptation of various musical styles, they will act together with The House of Usher and The Phantoms next November in Valencia. We contact with Spooks, singer of the group, to know a little more about them.

Foto de Spooks (Dead Eyes Opened) cantando en directo//Pic of Spooks (Dead Eyes Opened) singing live

Hello Spooks, pleased to interview you… my first question arises from the name of your band. The industrial electronics group Severed Heads composed in 1985 a theme entitled “Dead Eyes Opened“. Is it a coincidence, or the origin of your name? Why Dead Eyes Opened?

Hi Daniel. Thank you. Yeah, well spotted. The name of the band does indeed come from the Severed Heads track. Dunsy and I were working on the Submission EP at the time and looking for a name. This track started to play on my ipod. It seemed a good fit.

How was the group formed? Which were your previous musical projects?

The three of us have been in various bands from Edinburgh for a long time with varying degrees of success. Everything from Indie Pop through Grunge to Metal. Dunsy and I were in a band called BYLXI that called it a day late 2007. We continued to write songs and brought Gash in on bass to allow us to play them live.

You define yourself as a group that combines the Goth sensitivity with the Metal claw, and which seeks the limelight of the song itself, something present in Pop. Is there a predominant theme in your songs? What do you pretend to transmit together with both the music and the lyrics?

Dunsy learned to play guitar along with bands like Rush, Van Halen and Black Sabbath and my influences are very definitely in the old school Goth/New Romantic genre. So with a very different range of influences there is always likely to be something a little interesting in there.

The lyrics tend to be dark and brooding (obviously) and can be influenced by a range of themes from hope, love and the demands and expectations put on us by society to the exploitation of the vulnerable and the frustration at immortality. I think we do a good job in marrying the music with the theme of the song.

Foto promocional de Dead Eyes Opened (2012)/Promotional pic of Dead Eyes Opened (2012)

3 guys (Spooks on vocals, Dunsy guitar, Gash on bass) and a drum machine. According to your opinion, has Dr. Avalanche and their children (The Mothership, in your case) already been assimilated in the world of Rock? Is it somewhat outdated, more like the 80s/90s, or else it is too innovative for ordinary rockers?

If a simple drum machine works for a song then why change it? We do use drum machines and samples but as a drummer myself I will record drums along to the sequencer as the song develops. It means there is a human element to the drums/rhythms on both record and in the backing tracks we use live.

With 3 EPs produced (Submission, Believe, Expectations Part 1) and an album (Tyrants), you expect to publish the 2nd part of Expectations shortly. What can you tell us about the new EP? Are you going to continue with self-publishing, or will you seek a music label in the future?

For the time being our releases will be self-published. We plan on releasing 3 EPs as part of the Expectations series. We plan to release the second Expectations EP in November. The final EP in the series will be a collection of cover songs. The new EPs are showcasing a more “rocky, grittier” sound. Playing a lot of shows in support of the Tyrants album allowed us to bring out our “live” sound more in the studio mix.

In your Bandcamp profile you have posted 2 of your songs (Tyrants and My Sanity) in acoustic format, and in them can be seen that the quality is still there. What is the writing process for your songs? Do you start with acoustic guitars?

Thank you. Really happy with how they turned out. Typically the writing process is Dunsy and I will exchange ideas remotely. A song will form and once completed we give it to Gash to learn so we can play it live. We don’t get into a room together as a band unless we have a completed song to rehearse. And we never start with acoustic guitars. Hehe.

Stephen Carey (member of The Eden House, NFD and Adoration) has produced Believe and the Tyrants album. To what extent has he influenced the process of its creation? What was his contribution?

Steve has been a big supporter from almost the beginning when we supported the Eden House in early 2010. He got what we were trying to do and brought an independent viewpoint to song structure, sounds and dynamics that we hadn’t even thought about. His influence opened up a lot of doors for Dead Eyes Opened. Top chap!

November will be the first time that you are acting in Spain. What can you tell us about your live gigs, how they are? Do you tend to focus on specific themes of your discography?

I think the live gigs will be a lot of fun. That’s what it’s about, right? I expect I will do a lot of finger pointing and Dunsy might play his guitar with his teeth. Gash will do his pelican impression, guaranteed.

No specific theme re song selection. We try to mix the live set up a bit to keep it fresh. I think every song has been dropped from the live set at least once. If you want us to play something specific from our back catalogue, let us know!

This year you have already performed once with The House Of Usher and other groups in the Dark Skies Over Witten Festival (Germany). Jörg, singer of THOU, has cited you as one of his favorite current bands. Knowing that affinity, how is the combination of both groups on stage? Do you have elements in common, or on the contrary both of you distinguish very much?

That’s very nice of Jörg! We’ve played with THOU a couple of times in Germany and England. I think we complement each other very well. THOU have a more classic goth sound and we bring rock n roll to the table.

Will you bring discs and T-shirts to the concert in Valencia? Can we expect Expectations Part 2 to be present?

Yes, we plan to have the 5 track Expectations Part 2 available in Valencia along with t-shirts, Tyrants and Expectations Part 1 CDs.

Thank you very much for the interview, Spooks. We look forward to seeing you at the concert, greetings!

Thank you! Looking forward to it very much. See you down the front! Thanks. Spooks.

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