Summon: How did the band get started?
Erik (vocals, guitar, theremin): I joined the band in late 2007, but Dave (bass, vocals) and some other guys had been writing riffs together for a while before I came along. One of the old guitarists was leaving, so they placed an ad on Craigslist looking for a guitarist who wanted to do heavy, riff-based music, so I answered. We got together, and we started playing shows in early 2008. We went through several drummers before we encountered Mike in 2013. It feels like all of the right pieces are in place now.
Summon: What kind of music do you play?
Erik: I think of our music as dark psychedelic riff rock. Others like to put us in the doom, stoner or metal categories, and I’m fine with those descriptions as well. I’m flattered that anyone takes the time to listen long enough to choose a genre for us.
Summon: How has the band response been?
Erik: Folks have been generally supportive and appreciative. I don’t expect to become famous or make millions of dollars as a musician, so the real joy in this experience comes from playing the music I like with two great guys. It’s a pleasure to be invited to take part in festivals and other music events with other, similar-minded acts. We’re having a good time.
Summon: Where did the band name come from?
Erik: Wizard Eye is two different things. Firstly, The Wizard Eye is the name of an ongoing storm found on the surface of Neptune. It just whirls around and never ends. It looks like a giant splotch on the planet’s surface. Wizard Eye also the name of a Dungeons and Dragons spell that allows the user to see a good distance ahead. The combination of wild astral phenomena and the realm of fantastic lore pretty much sums up our influences.
Summon: Introduce the band members.
Erik: Guitar, Vocals, Theremin
Dave: Bass, Vocals
Mike: Drums, Percussion
Summon: Who writes the music? Lyrics?
Erik: We write the music together, as a group. One of us will create the foundation of a song idea on the spot, and the rest of us will work together to refine it into a more finalized idea. Lyrically, things are generally split. Sometimes Dave will write all of the lyrics to a song, and other times I will handle it. In other cases, each of us will write half of the song each. There’s no pattern to the way we handle that.
Summon: And where do the lyric ideas come from?
Erik: The lyrics really can come from anywhere. I’ve written lyrics about Viking swords, dreams involving being kidnapped by a Greek god and lyrics based on ancient Mongolian proverbs–it’s just a matter of whatever catches in my mind at the moment of inspiration. I can’t completely speak for Dave, but I know some of his lyrics come from expressions or phrases that make us laugh.
Summon: How many albums/CD’s have you released?
Erik: There are three official Wizard Eye albums: Orbital Rites, Riff Occult: Live and Wizard Eye. All three are available at our Bandcamp page (https://wizardeye.bandcamp.com/). Orbital Rites was pressed into a short run of CD’s, but that is presently sold out. Riff Occult: Live is available in digital format only, and Wizard Eye is available in vinyl form at http://www.discogs.com/Wizard-Eye-Wizard-Eye/release/7345756. We also semi-regularly release some of our rehearsal space jams on Soundcloud as part of an ongoing series we call “The Brain Compartment.” There are some oddball alternate recordings, live sets and demos floating around online, but I’d be hard-pressed to tell you where to find those.
Summon: Tell me about some the songs on the latest CD?
Erik: The songs on the current album are a combination of older compositions mixed with material we wrote specifically for the recording. Songs like “Graybeard,” “My Riposte Is Like Lightning” and “Thunderbird Divine” had been gig-tested and refined in front of audiences, whereas “Nullarbor” and “Stoneburner” were written directly before the recording sessions and hadn’t been heard by anyone outside of the band until the album was released. I’m proud of all of them, and, while I can imagine doing some parts of some of the songs differently if we were to record them now, I think the album is a strong example of where we were as a band when we recorded them.
Summon: Do you have any side projects?
Erik: Not really. I’ve been known to fool around with some friends and make up songs, but that’s really more about hanging out and having fun.
Summon: Who are some of your musical influences?
Erik: We all have varied influences, but I think, overall, the band can almost always agree on Black Sabbath, Motorhead, Led Zeppelin and AC/DC as commonalities. There are other favorites mixing around for us as well, like Clutch, Church of Misery, Wino’s various projects, Captain Beyond, Sleep, High on Fire, Hawkwind, Monster Magnet, Fu Manchu and the other usual heavy rock suspects.
Summon: Which current bands?
Erik: Well, I mentioned Clutch, Wino, High on Fire, Fu Manchu and Church of Misery–they’re all current. We also dig Elder, The Atomic Bitchwax and many of our contemporaries.
Summon: What is the band like when you play live?
Erik: I don’t really know how others perceive us when when we perform live, but I can tell you that it feels fantastic. Personally, I love playing this music with these guys, and I hope that comes across when we play in front of people. I know we all play hard and put our energy into the music when we perform.
Summon: What was the best band you played with?
Erik: I couldn’t say. We play with a lot of great bands. Narrowing it down to just one would be almost impossible.
Summon: Have you guys ever played in another country?
Erik: We have not. Sometimes it feels like we’re playing on another planet, but that’s a different story,
Summon: How big of crowd shows up at shows usually?
Erik: It really depends on where we play. Bands like us are constantly paying dues, so we might play in front of a bored bartender and a bouncer one night but see a full house the next. It’s not predictable.
Summon: How is the crowd response when you play?
Erik: Generally speaking, people like us. When we play on a bill with similar bands, folks appreciate us. When we play with more middle-of-the-road, standard rock bands, we get a sort of “We don’t really know what you’re doing, but we can tell you’re good” response.
Summon: What is the scene like over in your country?
Erik: We’re from the United States. The scene here is enormous and fragmented into a huge mess of frequently disparate genres and styles. It’s fine.
Summon: What made you want to be in this band? And if you weren’t in this band what would you being doing now?
Erik: This is the band I’ve always wanted. We have fun writing the kind of music we want to hear, and we get to play it for folks who generally like it. If I wasn’t playing with these guys, I would be trying really hard to be playing with them.
Summon: What does the future hold for the band??
Erik: More songs, more recording, more records, more shows, more sweat, more inside jokes, more silliness.
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