Hand Habits

“Bloom” by Hand Habits:

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Q&A with Eisley

Sherri DuPree-Bemis of Eisley talked to After The Show about the band’s new album I’m Only Dreaming, her favorite lyrics, and touring with Coldplay.

Catch Eisley play at the Troubadour in Los Angeles (with Civilian and Backwards Dancer) on 3/27.

Photo Credit: Katherine Bliss

After The Show: I love “When You Fall” and “A Song For The Birds.” What songs from the new album are you most connecting with right now?

Sherri: ‘When you fall’ is a big one for me because it’s a love song to my daughters. It’s the first song I’ve ever written about them both, and referenced things about them specifically, so it’s pretty personal and close to my heart!

Did you call the album I’m Only Dreaming to poke fun at your long-term sleep troubles, or did you choose the title for a different reason?

Haha, no but that is actually funny and I should just tell people that! It’s actually a nod to the Beatles song ‘I’m only sleeping’. We’ve always been massive Beatles fans and when that idea was thrown out we just loved it and felt it was the perfect fit!

It’s interesting to listen to the progression from early Eisley songs like “Becoming You” and “Laughing City” (when you were a kid) to a song like “When You Fall,” which you wrote about your own kids. Lyrically, the songs on this album are still whimsical but they seem more rooted in reality and less fanciful. Was that a conscious decision or just a natural byproduct of being older and having your own family now?

I always felt that, if I weren’t a songwriter I would write books and I was heavily influenced by authors like CS Lewis, Madeleine L’Engle and Neil Gaiman as a kid and ever since I fell in love with that style of writing (fanciful is a good word), I have made a conscious effort to put that feel into my lyrics. It’s more fun to sing and I love the feel. But as I’ve gotten older and gained life experience, there’s more meaning behind the words.

After performing with your sisters and brother for so many years, how does it feel to take on more vocal responsibilities and rely on newer band members on this tour?

It’s been a learning experience – but a great experience! Everyone in the band is just so talented and kind and loves touring with us, and you can’t beat that positive energy on the road. Singing everything is exhausting but I love singing so much so it’s been really fun for me to push myself as a vocalist!

What’s one of your favorite lyrics that you’ve ever written?

Well since we’re speaking of ‘When you Fall’ already, one of my favorite lines on the record is in that song is says “Bless the day you came here, One came fast and the other brought snow”. I had both of my daughters at home and my first daughter was born very quickly and easily and the second one, it snowed in Texas as she was being born!

Anything you want to share about how you assembled the order of songs on the album?

I honestly let our producer Will Yip and my cousin/co-writer/bassist Garron come up with the sequence! I’m not skilled in that area.

As a teenager, you accomplished major (perhaps surreal) things, such as opening for Coldplay at The Hollywood Bowl. How do those earlier experiences in Eisley inform your attitude today towards making music, touring, and your long-term goals?

I just feel truly thankful! I got to do tours that other bands would dream of and had such rich and beautiful experiences. Through the years I’ve seen so many friends’ bands struggle and fall apart due to the industry and personal struggles and it’s taught me to continually be thankful for the fact that I’m still getting to play music that I love, every day, with people that I love!

Thanks Sherri! Eisley play next week at the Troubadour in LA.

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Gold Motel (Acoustic)

Gold Motel play an acoustic version of “The Cruel One” —

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Russel The Leaf

“I Think I’m Gonna Write A Good Song Today, Oh God” by Russel The Leaf:

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Dead Fingers

Dead Fingers play “Another Planet” back in 2012:

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Interview: Jone of Imperial Teen

I asked Jone Stebbins of Imperial Teen about the band’s upcoming LA show, cooking for Eddie Vedder, and whether we can expect new songs in the future (spoiler: yes!).

Photo Credit: Pat Chen

After The Show: I can’t believe it’s been 5 years since Feel The Sound came out. What can you share about new Imperial Teen songs?

Jone: We are working on new songs and have a pretty good start. We like to write together, in the same room though so it’s a little slow going as we live so far away from each other….

The pick slide and guitar work you do in “Yoo Hoo” sounds so good! Do you remember how you first came up with that?

I don’t really know how to play “lead” guitar so I just kinda made it up as I went along. I wanted it to sound reckless, crazy and a bit frantic – it’s different every time I play it!

What’s the story behind the long friendship between that dog. and Imperial Teen? I believe that “Birthday Girl” is about Anna Waronker?

Anna is a dear friend and has worked with us as a producer on The Hair The Baby The TV & The Band and also ON. We have recorded in her home studio. Yes, a line or two in “Birthday Girl” were inspired by Anna if I remember correctly!

Besides the standards (“Yoo Hoo,” “Ivanka,” etc), what can the LA audience expect to hear at the April 8 show?

I’m not 100% sure yet. As the opening band our set will be a little shorter and we usually try to do a few songs from each record… all to be determined!

Are there any Imperial Teen songs you haven’t played in a long time but want to? I’d absolutely love to hear “Pig Latin.”

It’s kinda crazy but we have so many songs now after 5 records and a normal set is 13-15 songs so yeah there are lots we don’t play! I will throw “Pig Latin” into the mix for consideration.

What’s the story behind your Eddie Vedder Stew recipe?

Oh geez, that was a long time ago… Jennifer Finch from L7 came to a party we were having (Lynn and I were housemates at the time) and she brought this then unknown guy, Eddie Vedder, with her. I had made a curried stew to serve… they were the first people there and the last to leave so he got a few bowlfuls in. He really liked it. This was about 30 seconds before he became famous… so of course when Pearl Jam blew up we started calling that stew “Eddie Vedder Stew” as a lark. It is really good. It’s in the cookbook called I Like Food, Food Tastes Good by Kara Zuaro.

How have Will, Lynn, and Roddy changed over the years as bandmates and musicians? And how has your attitude towards performing changed over the years?

We all have matured but still can be totally silly when we are together. We all still really respect and adore each other.

I guess it’s not as scary as it once was. We have played a lot of shows but now we don’t play very often so it’s almost like the early days – full of excitement. We really treasure our time together so live shows are even more special than ever.

Thanks for sharing Jone! Check out Imperial Teen open for that dog. at the El Rey in Los Angeles on April 8, 2017.

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