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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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Eisley: I’m Only Dreaming

Eisley’s new album is now out!

Check out “A Song For The Birds” below:

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“Oxygen Mask”

Live video of Eisley playing “Oxygen Mask” last month:

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Cover: “Lion’s Mane”

“Lion’s Mane” (by Iron & Wine) covered by Stacy from Eisley. I think it’s just a simple Garageband recording:

Want more Eisley? Check out our interview with Stacy/Eisley from last year.

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Interview: Stacy of Eisley

Stacy King of Eisley answered some questions about the band’s new album Currents, changing up songs when playing live, and transitioning from a kid musician to an adult musician.

Eisley is currently on tour with Say Anything — catch them tonight and tomorrow at Irving Plaza in NYC.

Stacy Dupree King Interview

After The Show: Lyrically the songs on Currents are more whimsical and figurative than the songs on The Valley. Was it a conscious decision to move in that less literal/straightforward direction?

Stacy: Yes, I think the lyrics are overall just a bit brighter. I think it made for a nice change from The Valley where we were going through some hard personal things. We were angry at a lot of people. Now that we’re in a better place I feel that it’s reflected in both the music and lyrics.

On Currents, I really like the choir effect at the end of “Save My Soul,” as well as “Real World” and “Lost Enemies.” What songs do you most connect with on the new album?

We are big fans of the choir! We grew up all singing together so I feel that it represents our family’s history. I connect a lot with “Millstone” because it was Chauntelle’s first contribution in so many years and I feel very proud of her.

When playing live, you add an intro to “I Could Be There For You,” and several years ago Weston added an amazing drum fill after the bridge of “My Lovely.” How do you decide to make little instrumental or vocal variations when playing live?

The intro to “ICBTFY” just came about because I felt like the show needed something new and we didn’t have any new songs to debut at the time. It’s hard to find ways to add something completely new and different so I thought I’d just build off of a song. Kind of like a prequel.

You were 14 when Warner signed Eisley – being a kid and the youngest sibling in the band, how has the transition to being an adult in a band been? Especially now that you have a family of your own, does it feel like a completely different life/experience?

It was sort of hard in the early days. I often felt a lot of pressure to succeed and please everyone. There were so many forces trying to shape who I was as an artist but after everything I’ve gone through (in regards to all of that) and by failing a few times, I’ve learned to not fear so much. It’s good to be pliable and listen and learn but deep down, you just have to trust yourself.

You recorded Combinations in Malibu – what do you remember about that experience?

It was sort of depressing and beautiful. We were in a gorgeous environment next to the beach but I felt so much pressure and pessimism in regards to the record and the label we were on. There was so much money being spent and people breathing down our necks. I just remember feeling stressed but I have tons of fond memories of us as a band hanging out, laughing… we made some great memories!

Sucre’s “Place To Be” cover worked perfectly, as did your “In The Aeroplane Over The Sea” and “Lion’s Mane” covers. Given that so many great songs exist, what are your criteria for picking the right ones to cover?

I chose songs that are very special to me. Both Stevie Nicks and Nick Drake have played an integral part in my development as a song writer and inspired me so much. That’s why I like to sing them; I just feel honored and grateful.

+ Check out Eisley’s upcoming tour dates 

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Sucre: “Place To Be” Cover

Sucre covered Nick Drake’s “Place To Be” a few months ago. It deserves way more than 13,000 views!

Original “Place To Be”:

 

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