Interview: Peeling Back Layers of Lo-Fi Fruit with The Lazy Eyes & New Single “Tangerine”

The Lazy Eyes
Sydney’s The Lazy Eyes show off their talents for layers, pop-catchiness, and lo-fi sensibilities with their new single “Tangerine”

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Stream: “Tangerine” – The Lazy Eyes



“I think because we were in the whole Newtown scene with school and everything we saw a lot of our favorite bands at that theatre so for us to play there was really special. The whole hometown thing made it extra special.”

There’s something to be said about a band with an ear for detail and a discerning approach to songwriting. Surely a song can be enjoyed for whatever it is and for whatever the listener gets from that song, but sometimes it’s the extra details, the one’s that maybe feel a bit less obvious, a bit less expected, that can really make a song. That being said, maybe a bit extra can be said about a band, all under the age of twenty, that has been diligently working on refining their sound since they were in their mid-teenage years. While age is hardly a reliable system to measure how capable an artist is, The Lazy Eyes demonstrate how they have been able to put their abilities to good use from an early age.

Tangerine - The Lazy Eyes

Tangerine – The Lazy Eyes

Tangerine quarantine
my breakfast club’s waiting for me

They’ll do it without me
Marmalade Kool-Aid grade
my test testing stung by a bee

Oh no no not me

Atwood Magazine is proud to be premiering “Tangerine,” the follow-up single to “Cheesy Love Song” from Sydney outfit The Lazy Eyes. “Tangerine” is a certifiable jam that balances melody, songwriting, and a lo-fi aesthetic.

Having formed the band during their time at a performing arts high school in Newtown, not too far from Sydney, The Lazy Eyes – consisting of Harvey Geraghty (vocals, guitar, keys), Itay Shachar (vocals, guitar), Blake Wise (bass), and Noah Martin (drums) – have been hard at work making a name for themselves and crafting their sound. Since then, The Lazy Eyes have worked their way up considerably, having started as a 3-piece busking act, earning invites to music festivals and a supporting slot for The Temper Trap on their most recent Australian tour.

The Lazy Eyes

The Lazy Eyes © Jack Moran



“I think we just want to make sure that it’s the best it can possibly be because when it’s out, it’s out forever. We want to give it the attention it deserves, I guess.”

“Tangerine” opens with a simple, yet driving bass line that stands on its own until the rest of the band pops in. At this point, the song highlights a tight bond between the rhythm section while a springy guitar mimics the vocal line highlighting the band’s eye for melody and structural balance. While this approach frames the first verse and chorus of the song, a motif that generally sticks around for the entire first half of the song, the second verse shows the band expanding their sound further. Where once there was a guitar that sounded like a spring being flicked back and forth, the band opts for the shimmering tones of a glockenspiel while the bass takes on a notably thicker, and fuzzier tone sounding something like sub-sonic Velcro being pulled apart.

Butterscotch butterfingers
hopscotch around Enmore Theatre
They’re having a show
Your invite is also mine it depends in the deep end
Bring your friends

As the song approaches the final leg, the rhythm section takes over once again, droning only momentarily on repetition until the drums turn the groove and the lead guitar enters with a bursting solo. From here on out is a collage of tight grooves, bombastic drums, and fuzzed guitars phasing in and out across the mix. “Tangerine” is a composite of sounds and ideas that work well right from the start, never sounding out of place or questionable.

Though times are a bit uncertain, The Lazy Eyes are certainly heading in the right direction and Atwood Magazine is excited to see what’s down the line for them. Stream “Tangerine” exclusively on Atwood Magazine, and dive deeper into the Australian band in our interview below!

Stream: “Tangerine” – The Lazy Eyes



MEET THE LAZY EYES

Atwood Magazine: Alright, first things first, please introduce yourselves and tell us your position in the band!
 

Harvey: I’m Harvey, I play guitar and keyboards and sing in The Lazy Eyes

Itay: I’m Itay, I play guitar and sing in The Lazy Eyes

Blake: I’m Blake and I play bass in The Lazy Eyes

How are you dealing with the current quarantine situation, what’s it like by you?
 

Blake: It’s not too bad, I guess. I mean, our stats of patients and people suffering from it is pretty low so we’re still going pretty good but, it is still a crazy time.

Harvey: Seems like other places have it a lot more severe, but yeah, I think we’re all just quarantining. Obviously a lot of our friends have lost their jobs and stuff which sucks, but luckily me and Blake teach guitar and piano, We’re keeping the work coming.

Given the Zoom and Skype boom of 2020 are you all still able to write and record over the internet? How has your process been affected?

Itay: Well, usually the writing process is like pretty solo anyway. Me and Harvey write the songs and sometimes we write together but, like what we’re doing these days, we have a lot of material written, so we’re just chipping through and recording it. Til a couple days ago, because the recording process is also me and Harvey, just in our home studio kind of layering stuff one by one. Hopefully, we can still continue to do that, I think there’s a restriction of two people if it’s for work. That’s what we’re doing.

Harvey: The lag is too much if you want to record over Zoom. You have to play a beat ahead to get in time.



Taking the lag into consideration, have you tossed around the idea of doing a streamed show? I know some bands have been doing that on Twitch and some have been figuring that out on Instagram Live, not that there wouldn’t be any lag, but any plans on that?
 

Harvey: Yeah, we um, we got invited to play, like this virtual festival, organization I guess, called Isol-Aid. I think they’re Australian but, they’re basically doing like a festival lineup and each artist is streaming from Instagram live. We did that a few nights ago, it was just kind of a stripped back set. It was pretty weird.

What was that like?

Harvey: It felt weird(laughs). It was like, I was almost more nervous partly because its new, but its just weird that people are seeing this version of you behind a screen. It’s just kind of out of your control.



I was reading your bio and I read that you all met a performing arts high school. Did you all attend/apply for music or were any of you there to study a different art form?

(band laughs)

Itay: I think Blake can answer that one

Blake: So, at that school, you can get in through a number of performing arts styles. There’s dance, music, and drama. So, the other three boys, including Noah (drummer), got in through music and I actually got in through dance. Then we met and formed the band in, like, year 10? So we were like 16? 15?

So you all just met through word of mouth?
 

Harvey: Yeah, it was pretty much like “oh, Blake has long hair and he can play guitar right? Let’s put him in the band”.

Itay: Yeah, the long hair was actually quite a consideration.

Blake: We already like knew each other, and were kind of friends. The other boys were kind of closer friends because they had music class and stuff together, but yeah, I guess they knew that I played guitar and had long hair(band laughs).

Itay: I think how it panned out was me, Harvey, and Noah did like a 3-piece for awhile that wasn’t an official band and we would like go busking a lot. We were like, “oh, well we actually wanna really be a real band with real drums and like, real electric guitars and stuff” and then found Blake to play bass.

The Lazy Eyes

The Lazy Eyes © Jack Moran



So when Blake joined the band and you went from a 3-piece to a 4-piece, how much did that change, if it changed at all, your sound and your writing process?
 

Itay: Yeah, over time, like at the start of the 3-piece, like towards the end we were starting to crave being more electric, it just took us awhile to kind of realize that we wanted to be like a “real” band. With the 3-piece(which was more acoustic) we were just playing like, covers and songs from the radio and stuff mostly with a few originals.

Harvey: That band was more of a job than a passion project(laughs).

Did you get paid pretty well for your busking gigs?

Harvey: Yeah. Well, towards the start when we looked young. Then we started to get, like, facial hair and stuff and ruined it.

Itay: And acne(laughs).

Harvey: Then we started growing our hair and they were like “who the hell are these hippies?”

Itay: But it was really good at the start, people were excited by it.

Harvey: I think we’re talking about the wrong band here(band laughs).



That’s a very fair point, I should probably get us back on track. In your bands current form, how would you describe your sound and what would you say informs or influences your sound? I was picking up some King Gizzard vibes on “Tangerine”.
 

Harvey: Umm, I think our sound, differs quite a lot from recording and live. Like, our recordings, I don’t know, I feel like there’s always been quite a compilation of different sounds. Like, a lot of the parts that we record might reference another song. So, yeah, it’s just kind of a compilation of different influences we have. Then live is pretty straight forward instrumentation: two guitars, one bass, and drums just with a lot of pedals(effects).

Itay: Yeah, basically like all of the bands that you think we love, we probably do. We love King Gizzard.

Harvey: Yeah. At the time that we recorded “Tangerine” I think we were definitely getting into that like, lo-fi production. But, yeah, since then, I think we’ve sort of steered away a little bit. Definitely in terms of the drum sound, that’s still pretty lo-fi.

Something that I’ve really liked about these two songs, “Tangerines” and your other single, “Cheesy Love Song” is the attention to detail and sound. All the extra stuff that’s coloring in the song. How do you go about adding those details in?
 

Harvey: Like Itay said before, the way we approach recording is we lay down the drum track and then just one-by-one record each next layer. That really lets us keep listening through and lets us hear if a certain part needs a certain layer, know what I mean? It really lets us take our time within each section.

Itay: I think in terms of our recordings, there’s definitely two ways bands approach recording: from a live setting or from a stacking process. For us, it’s me and Harvey just layering lots of stuff. The recordings we like have a lot of those extra sprinkles and that’s what gets the attention. That’s what we try and aim for.

Blake: I think each recording takes a long time, but for good reason. A lot of the time is taken to just listen through and to give time before we change things or add another layer because the more you listen the more you might like it. It’s a long process for each song, it’s not a matter of just smashing it out. Like, I think we just want to make sure that it’s the best it can possibly be because when it’s out, it’s out forever. We want to give it the attention it deserves, I guess.



Yeah, I get that. It sounds like you have a good approach to that and it shows. My follow-up question to this was going to be about your approach to songwriting, but you’ve already touched on that a bit. Was “Tangerine” any different?
 

Itay: “Tangerine” was an interesting one because the song is kind of split in half. The first half is like a “singing” song part and the second half is the guitar solo. With “Tangerine,” I wrote the first half by myself then Harvey heard that and kind of just wrote the rest of it by himself and then we just meshed it together.

Harvey: Yeah, like Itay actually made a demo for “Tangerine” when he first showed us and it was just the singing part and then at the end of the singing part it kind of just like didn’t know what to do and he was like “how do we finish this off?”(band laughs).

Itay: Just really quickly, with like “Cheesy Love Song” for example, that was different because me and Harvey were just sitting together in the same room, him on piano, me on guitar, and we just wrote it together, like at the same time. So, yeah, things happen differently I guess.

What’s the music scene like down in Sydney? Do you have any favorite spots to play?
 

Harvey: Instagram Live(band laughs). Yeah, probably, like the most thriving smaller venue in Sydney right now is the Land’s Down. I think it was like a pub and venue back in the 80’s and 90’s, but then it shut down for a bit. I think just a couple of years ago they just opened it back up, new renovations and stuff, and now it’s popping off again.

Blake: In Newtown, which is where we went to school, the suburb of Newtown, that’s like the big Sydney music scene, it’s called King Street and it’s just like the main road and it has venues and stuff all down the road. Pubs and everything. I guess our school being literally on that street really helped. There were a lot of times when we were at school and we would finish school, have a gig that night, hang out before the gig and just walk to the venue. So yeah, we sort of went to school for 6 years in that whole scene.

Harvey: Yeah, there’s definitely a Newtown scene.

Blake: Yeah, it’s like it’s own sort of vibe.



Oh, that’s interesting. I was reading your bio, which you mentioned earlier, that you guys formed the band when you fairly young, around 15-16 years old. I was going to ask what developing the band at that stage was like, but it sounds like being at that school helped a lot.
 

Harvey: Yeah, the school gave us more opportunities to do band stuff than other schools would, I assume. Like, our first actual show was at the school festival that they have every year, which is like this “love the Earth” kind of festival. Lots of chai lattes(laughs). Yeah, that was our first show and I think we even played it without, like, we hadn’t even come up with the band name yet.

Blake: Yeah, but we actually played “Tangerine” at that, which was 2016. “Tangerine” is pretty old.

Harvey: And the other songs we played were covers. I think a lot of bands do that, they just kind of start off playing covers to give them a bit of a jumpstart to learn how to play together.

Blake: I think going to school in Newtown, and then the majority of our local Sydney gigs being in Newtown, like that just tied together so easily. Like, just the school giving us so many opportunities to play at the school and mimic live gigs really helped. Even the music video for “Cheesy Love Song” was actually shot at the school in the studio, this little like theater that we have at school. All the studio lights and everything was actually the equipment that was already at the school.



You guys have had some pretty great opportunities so far, it’s a bummer that the current situation has put a hold on some of your shows in the immediate future like SXSW and Splendour In The Grass.
 

Noah: It’s(Splendour In The Grass) been postponed til October.

Ah alright, here’s hoping it stays on. That being said, what have been some of your favorite shows as a band?
 

Harvey: Ooh, probably the most special one so far would be supporting The Temper Trap on their most recent tour. That was, that was just like, we were in the wrong league on that(laughs). The Sydney show was at a venue called the Enmore Theatre and that’s just down the road from Newtown, our school, and that was like our dream venue. Getting to play that was like, it was just crazy stuff.

Blake: I think because we were in the whole Newtown scene with school and everything we saw a lot of our favorite bands at that theatre so for us to play there was really special. And the whole hometown thing made it extra special.

Harvey: Like a couple weeks before or something we’d done a gig just across the road at this tiny, tiny venue and then we came back walking down the same street but to the Enmore Theatre. A very weird contrast.

I don’t know how much you can speak to this right now, but what’s in the future for The Lazy Eyes?
 

Blake: I think we have a pretty clear vision of where we want to go as a band, musically. We have a lot of recordings up our sleeves for future releases.

Harvey: Let’s leave it on that quote! (band laughs)

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Tangerine - The Lazy Eyes

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Nick Matthopoulos is a recent MA grad from DePaul University located in the city of Chicago. Though he studied and majored in English Literature, writing of any kind has always been a passion of his. When he is not serving coffee or teaching a music lesson, he can be found either writing, trying to improve his Lino carving skills, or working on the next Fieldmates song; a band he both plays guitar for and poorly sings with. He is a fan of jogging in bad weather, nice socks, and good pens.