As part of the Triple Eye Industries festival, the four-piece celebrates the release of 'Traps' on Friday night at Cactus Club.
When the frenzied garage rock of Static Eyes comes on over the radio, there’s only one thing you should do: crank the volume. Its rambunctious, cacophonous sound is best with the speakers on full blast. Bad news for delicate car audio systems: the four-piece, just off three-song release The Thaw in March, are back with even more knob-turning material.
In advance of their Cactus Club show (on Friday, August 25, as part of the third annual Triple Eye Industries festival), guitarist Chris Capelle discusses the band’s killer new EP, Traps, its political undertones, releasing the effort on cassette and a portmanteau of a yoga move and a serial killer.
The band bookended Milwaukee Record’s “Roast of Milwaukee” a few weeks ago. Do you think your sets surprised some people in the audience who were there for some comedy?
Yes, there were some surprises for sure. We don’t usually play to a room of people all sitting in chairs waiting to see comedy. But, they were very polite. We only did two 15 minute sets, so, even if you’re not a fan of the songs, it’s over pretty quick.
Is it fun to play to an unassuming crowd since your material sounds brash and confrontational?
In the case of the comedy roast, yes, because Milwaukee Record did a great job of setting a cool, fun, loose vibe for the evening. The crowd seemed up for anything. Plus, Lee has a unique way of singing and moving around and people are usually, at least, entertained by that.
The frigid weather played a role on your last effort. The Thaw was recorded the day after New Year’s in a cold basement. When did you record Traps? Did any seasonal conditions influence these songs?
No, not on this one. The Thaw was written in Fall/Winter and definitely had a lot cold weather songs. Traps was written during the long political campaign and, inevitably, has a lot of that stuff in it. The main theme is probably about being trapped or conned into believing things you wouldn’t normally. “Silencer” is about propaganda and manipulation, for example.
The only physical release of Traps available will be on cassette. The EP was tracked straight to 2″ tape. What were the advantages of this method?
The advantage of a cassette release is that it’s quicker, cheaper and easy to put together. Triple Eye Industries was nice enough to put this out in time for their annual festival the weekend of August 25th (at Cactus Club and Club Garibaldi). They turned this around real quick in order to make that our release show.
Kyle Urban at MotorCo Studios in Madison is our main guy for recording and he’s got an all-analog setup. You’re limited to 16 tracks and it’s usually done in a few takes since you can’t cut and paste overdubs as much as you can with digital recording. That fast-paced, frenetic style works with our songs and the way we play. This was also the first time we ever recorded vocals live with the band so there’s more of a ‘live’ feeling to the tracks. Everything was done in 3 hours.
I’m interested in the impetus of a song like “Dahmer Faced Dog.” How did that one come about?
We never intended to write a song about Dahmer but the title stemmed from Lee mishearing the yoga phrase “downward-facing dog” and he had some lyrics that fit with the Milwaukee and Dahmer theme.
The album clocks in at a brisk 13 minutes with no track reaching much longer than 2 minutes. Are these songs normally longer initially but end up cut down after some strict editing?
No, we usually have to add parts to make them longer. Haha. The idea is always to cut out anything we deem boring or unnecessary. Other bands tend to play too long—Static Eyes tries to be precise, to the point and cut out the filler.
Are you looking to record a full-length in the future or are you satisfied with releasing material in quick, short bursts?
An LP in 2018 is our next goal. It’s the one thing this band has yet to do. So, after TEI Fest, we’ll be busy writing songs to, hopefully, record early next year.