Øystein Braut - Electric Eye

It’s a little over a year since Electric Eye released their second album, Different Sun, and only eight months since their live album, Live At Bla came out. Now they’re standing here again, ready to pull you into a new whirlwind of psychedelic and hypnotic rhythms. Electric Eye is a mix of a lot of different genres, villainy acid prog, ethno jazz, indie pop and even hip hop grooves, mixed with their own sound. Like they say themselves: ‘’It sounds like a cool soundtrack to a road movie that hasn’t been made yet’’. Tamar got the chance to do an email interview with frontman Øystein Braut about their latest record.


How did you come up with the band name Electric Eye?

''It's always hard to find a band name when you start a band. Electric Eye was taken from one of the lyrics from our first album. We just thought it sounded cool, soft on the tongue. Later we found out that Judas Priest had one of their most popular songs also named Electric Eye, and David Bowie sings it on Spiders from Mars. I think we are closer to Bowie than Priest if we have to choose. Luckily we don’t have to.''

In what way is “From The Poisonous Tree” different from EE's older work?

''We have focused more on the lyrics and the vocals this time. The voices gets more room and we have been working more on melodies this time. Also the album has a more groovy vibe that differs somewhat from the earlier albums. We are always searching for new ways to make music and shape our songs, so I hope we sound both different and similar on every record we are going to make.''


What was the main inspiration for this new album?

''We make music because that’s one of the most fun things to do, especially with your buddies. So we decided to make a deadline for when the album should be done, and we did not have a lot of time to think to much about every little detail. That made us efficient and spontaneous and kicked off the creative process in a great way. I think Italian movie soundtracks from the 60s, Nigerian funk from the 70s, Swedish 70s prog and the Bergen weather (Rain 24h) was our main inspirations.''


What/who influences you to make music?

''It’s usually when I see a great movie, listen to some cool music, read a good book or see some cool art, or when you’re pissed at some politician. Stuff that makes me feel something.''

You said that ''It (the new album) sounds like a soundtrack to a movie that hasn’t been made yet'', could you collaborate a bit more on this?

''Hehe. Well. We’d love to make a soundtrack to a movie. And I think sometimes we try to make music that feels more like a scene from a movie, than a standard song. We often try to describe a scene and a vibe, instead of following a standard song recipe.''


How did you manage to combine so many different sounds and influences into the music, while still it being the typical EE sound?

''I think combining a lot of sounds and influences into the music is the typical EE sound. We get easily bored, and I love playing the sitar. Anders (on keys and mixing) own a lot of weird synths. Øyvind (on drums) brought his special percussion box too. On this album we even had Njål’s (bass, vocals) dog, Hera AKA Bark Bacharach, sing some words.''


What is your favourite song from “From The Poisonous Tree” and why?

''I love and hate them all. But I think Endless Summer is a real interesting song, because it is built up on this weird chord structure. So we spent a lot of time figuring out how to solve it. So its very satisfying that it turned out good.''


I have said in my review that some tunes sound a bit nostalgic and retro, what made you choose for these elements?

''We try to mix both the past and the future. Obviously we have listened to a lot of music from the 60s and the 70s (and 80s, 90s and 00s) for inspiration. Maybe it’s the shape of jam-friendly and loose progressive rock that sound nostalgic and retro? Maybe it’s the sound of our spacy synths and keyboards, our thick fuzz boxes or the tape-echo machine we play the voices through? We always choose the sounds we like from a pallet containing bits from all of the musical history and with those tools we try to make something new.''


Who made the album art?

''Njål (bass) took the photos. They are of the prison walls outside Bergen, Norway. The design has been made by Magnus Nyquist.''


The album artwork and the promo pictures of the band, as well as the music, flow seamlessly into each other, was this your idea?

''It’s a really weird pink forest, just outside Bergen, Norway. We were lucky to have photographer Linn Heidi Stokkedal take us there and take our picture this summer. I love when photos, artwork and the music is tied together to make a greater unity. Often we are accompanied by a visual artist live too. That’s a great way to make the concert a little more than just another band playing a show.''


Are you planning to tour now that FTPT is released?

''Yes. We are touring in 2018. Check electriceye.no for updates.''


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By Tamar