The Snake or Die ’16 tour, presented by Killyourstereo.com alongside Chase Music Group and Failsafe Collective, kicks off next week for a nine-date national run, and we here at KYS decided to get Newcastle’s finest alt-grunge unit Eat Your Heart Out on the phone to talk it out. Speaking with vocalist Caitlin Henry, we discuss playing on mixed bills and why they rule, singing in a natural Australian accent and trying to recall the ridiculous shit they’ve done on tour.
G’day Caitlin! How are you doing? How’s your day going?
I’m well, thanks. And I was at work today, then I went shopping (where I spent too much money), and now I’m just laying around [laughs].
Very good. Sounds pretty chilled. Are you ready to jump into some questions then?
Sweet! Now EYHO is a part of the line-up for The Snake or Die ’16 tour, which kicks off next week with shows in Adelaide and Melbourne. How psyched are you and the rest of the band at the prospect of getting back out on the road?
Yeah, we’re super excited. Like most bands I guess, it’s our favourite thing to do. Just to be able to escape your everyday life and job for a few weeks and hang out every day. And also see the country. It’s super exciting for us.
I like that you mention seeing the countryside, because as a relative newcomer to EYHO and what you guys have been doing together as band, it seems to me that you’ve been touring around Australia quite a bit over the last year and a half?
Yeah definitely. It kind of feels like, for us anyway, that we don’t tour enough. But when you look at it, I guess we have done a fair few tours recently and been able to travel a fair bit in the year and a half since we put out our first proper EP [‘Distance Between Us‘, 2015]. It’s been pretty consistent.
Would you say that touring is the main purpose or driving force for EYHO? Do you want to be a touring band, out there on the road, playing more shows to more people, in a bunch of different places?
Oh, we definitely want to be a touring band. I think for all of us, that would be our main goal. To travel as far as we can, and get the band as far as we can.
That’s certainly a noble goal. And with this upcoming tour, EYHO is part of a really diverse line-up and you guys definitely fall at the lighter end of the musical spectrum. What do you think is the best aspect of playing on a mixed bill like that, and how do you guys approach playing with heavier bands?
I think we’ve always sort of been that weird, ‘not quite heavy enough’ band. Especially for most line-ups that we play on. Or, on the opposite side of the scale, we’re sometimes the heavier band on some line-ups that we play. So we’re always kind of in this weird, middle position. But I think being a bit lighter and a little bit different, probably helps to make us more memorable and helps us to stand out a bit more. I love it, and I don’t really mind playing with heavier bands at all.
Awesome. In terms of musical tastes, for yourself and the other guys in the band, do you listen to a broad range of music? Do you feel that maybe it’s easier for EYHO to play those heavier bills because as a band you still have an appreciation for that style of music?
Yeah definitely. Everyone in the band listens to different stuff. Our drummer Jake [Cronin] is into just straight-up rock and grunge, like the Foo Fighters and Nirvana. But I mean we all love that pop punk stuff, as well as heavier music like melodic hardcore, with bands like Ambleside and Stepson, who we’re stoked to be touring with. So it’s pretty diverse.
Let’s talk about your hometown scene. There’s been a steady rise in bands from your area, most notably the Trophy Eyes guys, who are totally killing it right now.
[Laughs.] Yeah absolutely.
How do you feel EYHO fits into the current Newcastle scene? What’s it like from your perspective, Caitlin?
I think that generally, in Newcastle, it’s a very heavy music scene. The majority of the bands at the moment, are sitting in that metalcore or melodic hardcore end of the scale. But there’s also a couple of bands like us and Introvert who play more grunge, alternative rock. So I think that particular style of music is really livening up a bit in Newcastle. But there’s still lots of really, really heavy bands that are very good at what they do.
I’m interested to know, what’s a typical Newcastle gig like? There’s a reputation for Newcastle shows to be quite wild and messy, in terms of punters losing their shit. What’s the vibe like with a hometown crowd for EYHO?
It’s kind of hit and miss to be honest. Sometimes they’ll be shows where not many people turn up. It can be kind of hard to get people to the shows. But it’s different when the shows are promoted really well and it’s a cool line-up with bands that people are excited to see, like the Trophy Eyes boys for example. They played I think, maybe two weeks ago, with a huge local line-up, and I think close to 200 people showed up and everyone just went crazy. They didn’t hold back at all, and they were just keen to crowd-surf and do whatever they want. So yeah, people can get pretty excited [laughs].
That’s sick. Now, moving into some deeper questions about yourself as a musician, and the guys in the band. I think the thing that immediately stood out for me with hearing EYHO for the first time was your vocals. There’s obviously the feminine angle at first, but you also have a cadence and accent that’s very distinct, and very Australian, which is great. I know a lot of bands, especially in the realms of pop-punk and alternative rock, that seem to try and hide that aspect of their music or sound, dressing their vocals up to be more commercial and by extension seem ‘less Australian’. What are your thoughts on that?
Yeah, well with our earlier demos, they did kind of have that American accent thing going on. But I think that once we started writing our first EP, and the way we were writing the lyrics, they just sort of happened naturally. It just felt more natural with an Australian accent, and I always felt like I was kind of ‘faking it’ trying to sing any other way. It’s just a part of our songs now and how we put our music together. But yeah, a lot of people do seem to hide it, and I don’t know if it’s because of a lot of the music you grow up listening to, and you just end up copying it by default? And don’t even really think about it?
I think that’s definitely a part of it. And as a young woman in a rock band, I’m sure the obvious comparison people are going to make to you as a vocalist and the band as a collective, are groups like Paramore and local acts like Tonight Alive. Do you feel that’s a help or a hindrance, in terms of what EYHO is trying to achieve as a band?
When we first started, we definitely got a lot of the ‘Paramore’ thing, but I think the accent thing like you mentioned comes back into it. When we shifted away from that American sound, those types of comparisons didn’t really seem to happen much anymore. We actually get a lot of people saying stuff like, ‘Before I started listening to your band, I figured you were just another Paramore copy band. But I can’t even hear that at all.’ So I think we’re able to let the band stand alone as its own unique type of thing.
Strangely, we’ve never really gotten the Tonight Alive comparison either, but it totally makes sense with them being Australian as well. But ultimately, I do think it’s a positive thing. Because female fronted bands are less common, I think people are just more intrigued by it than anything else. And you know, everyone loves Paramore, so they might see us and go, ‘You know what, I might as well check them out. Just because.’ And then when they found out that we don’t actually sound like Paramore at all, maybe they’re a bit disappointed? [Laughs.] Who knows?
Yeah, I think you’re right Caitlin. It would certainly help to open their mind a little bit, and then they can decide for themselves whether they’re into it or not. Now EYHO released the ‘Carried Away’ EP a few months ago, and I expect that those songs will be a feature of your live set. What else can fans expect from the EYHO show as part of The Snake Or Die ’16 tour, and are you guys working on any new material or releases for the future?
So, we definitely will be playing all three tracks off Carried Away, because there’s only three of them … so we may as well [laughs]. We have been thinking about maybe learning and doing a cover as part of the set, but we haven’t really decided on anything. So we might still through a random one in there. But generally, we just want to make the shows as fun as possible. And as for new material, we are currently working on some new stuff. I’d say probably early to the middle of next year, is when people will start hearing about that.
That’s awesome. I’m definitely excited to hear some new stuff. And as I mentioned before, you guys have been touring quite a lot over the last year or so, hitting the East Coast multiple times. So I wanted to ask Caitlin, where’s your favourite place to play in Australia, outside your hometown?
We’ve always had a really good time in Adelaide. We’ve only been there twice before, but both times were really, really good shows. Which was kind of unexpected, because it’s so far away from where we’re from, and we didn’t really think that anyone would know us. But Adelaide has always sort of surprised us. And other than that, the last few shows we’ve played in Sydney have been really fun. Which is cool, because we’ve also played a lot of… not so good ones there too [laughs]. But it’s definitely starting to get better which is pretty exciting.
That’s interesting. What was it about those early Sydney shows that made for less than desirable experiences? Do you have some horror stories there, or were they just average shows?
They were just very average. I think we were at that point where we were just trying to get any shows that we could outside of Newcastle. So we jumped on some really… bad ones. We played a show at, I think it was the Lewisham Hotel in Sydney and I can’t even remember what bands were on it. But there was literally like one payer, and not even all the bands stayed around to watch us.
That’s terrible! Bad form.
Yeah, it was not a good time. And we almost didn’t get let in, because our drummer Jake was only 17 at the time, but we’d actually brought the entire back line, so the other bands were like, ‘No they have to play. They have the back line!’ [Laughs.]
That’s crazy. Now to wrap up, and going back to The Snake or Die’16 tour again, you guys are going to be out on the road for the next couple of weeks. It looks like it’s going to be a fun tour, and there’s probably going to be some antics and shenanigans going on. So what’s the best/funniest/most idiotic tour story you’ve got for us?
Hmmm… that’s a tough one… I’m struggling to think of one particular time, as touring, in general, is usually pretty ridiculous. The guys just go on holiday, and it’s essentially a party for two weeks.
You guys must be so well-behaved Caitlin. I’m shocked.
Maybe that’s because I am so tame, and I don’t get involved in the antics and just watch from the sidelines?
Or maybe there’s been so many antics, and you’ve just blocked them all out? Like repressed touring memories.
That must be what’s happened [laughs]. Ok, so one of the funniest things that has happened is not exactly tour related, but it has occurred multiple times. Our bassist Dom [Cant] will have a couple of drinks over the course of a show, and then we’ll go back to wherever we’re staying, and he just sleep talks and says ridiculous things. It’s happened many times now.
That’s great. Have you guys attempted to record him during one of these episodes, and play it back to him?
We really should have. One time he found this Obama hat, on the sidewalk in St. Kilda and he put it on and eventually fell asleep. Then he spent all night talking in his sleep, about how ‘Obama is the 67th President’ or whatever it was [Note: he’s actually the 44th U.S. President, but good effort Dom] and just going on and on and being really aggressive too [laughs].
He has no memory of it at all [laughs].
So now I guess you can go back to the guys in the band, and say ‘Look, I got this question. It was really hard to think of the right answer. You guys need to lift your game, and do even more ridiculous shit on tour.’
Yeah, then next time I’ll actually have a proper story of something that was actually ridiculous [laughs].
Sounds good! Well, that brings us to the end of the interview, so thank you for your time this evening Caitlin, and best of luck with The Snake or Die ’16 tour next week!
That’s okay. Thank you!
Eat Your Heart Out will be appearing on The Snake Or Die ’16 tour dates below, and you can head on over to the event page for more info. Tickets are on sale now through the Failsafe Collective’s Bandcamp Page.