Newcastle’s Trophy Eyes came out swinging last year. After a great debut EP, the band has been touring consistently ever since and are now set to drop their debut full-length, ‘Mend, Move On’ later this month. In support of their debut album, the group is also touring nationally this November with Endless Heights, Columbus, and UK’s Landscapes along for the ride. Killyourstereo.com caught up vocalist John Floreani to talk about how 2014 has been for the band so far.
So with ‘Mend, Move On’ being your debut album, you actually recorded it over in Thailand, at the Karma Sound Studios?
Yeah man. It was an awesome experience!
I know Enter Shikari and Hellions have recorded their before as well. Why choose to record there and not here in Australia?
Well we recorded the EP at Electric Sun Studios in Blacktown with Shane Edwards, and after that Shane just became a really good friend of ours. We just loved working with him and his sound, as well as his input. Like it’s good to hear “No, that’s shit” or “Yes, that’s good, let’s keep that” when recording. We were actually going to fly him over as he’s moved over there and works at Karma Sound Studios now. We wanted to fly him back over but with Hopeless Records in the works, we asked around and tried to sort some things out, but in the end he just decided to bring us over there. It was the best experience of my life man, it was the best decision I’ve ever made.
Did recording it over there give the album a different sound or tone than if you were to record it over here?
I think that’s true with any kind of music. When you record it, the vibe of a room could change the way a song feels, like how your guitar sounds or how you track the vocals. It was nice and chill, plus the amount of gear Shane has there and freedom he has definitely benefited us.
That’s awesome to hear man. One thing people seem to hone in on the most about Trophy Eyes is the how honest and cathartic your lyrics are, do you think that’s one of the biggest appeals of the band?
I don’t really know but we hear a lot about that, that people love the music but they like the lyrics especially. That’s fucking humbling man. It’s super nice to hear that.
Musically, you guys seem to take the hardcore vocal styles and mix it with pop-punk instrumentation, do you think that mix really helps you guys stand out?
Yeah, I think so. I wouldn’t say that we try to blend them but we like being weird. We like both genres so much. So when you hear a rocky part in a song, that’s not because we were like, “This needs some rock in it”. It’s because that riff comes out and that’s were we think the song should go, so we just put it in. It’s cool to be creative and blend the styles that you like.
Our favourite thing to do is to write something that sounds minor, but still sounds really major and happy, and put some bullshit pop-punk riff in it, just the poppiest thing you’ve ever heard, and then half-time it to make it heavy. That’s a lot fun to do.
You guys dropped the music video for ‘In Return’ a couple weeks back, and I wanted to know if the home video footage that plays on the wall behind the band is actually real? Is it footage of your family or from one of the other guys in the band?
Yes, that footage is actually of my christening and of my brothers tenth birthday. I thought that that would be more raw, that it would give the listener more detailed look about what I’m singing about. It’s cool to sing a song about my mum, but then I’ve actually got my mum in the video, the actual footage. It just seemed more cool to have it in there.
Yeah, I agree man, it definitely works with the song. With the album, you said that it was made up of stories and memories that have impacted you the most. Are you worried that maybe you share too much in the lyrics?
I think every time I write I’m sharing too much. It’s not that anything brings me down or it makes me sad when I think back to it. I just don’t want to sing about something irrelevant or sing someone else’s songs. This music is emotional and its high energy and you don’t want to sing about shit, you want it to be real. You’ve gotta have a reason to scream, you know? I guess I try to convey that by being brutally honest.
In support of ‘Mend, Move On’, you guys are heading out on what will be your second headline tour to date, right?
Yeah, that’s right man.
How are you guys gearing up for it?
Well, we’re just practicing and getting everything nice and tight. We love all of the bands that were touring with and we just really want to play these songs live.
How do you feel about bringing Landscapes for what I’m pretty sure is their first Australian tour?
It’s crazy good man. A lot of people have been telling us that its nuts we’re bringing Landscpaes out. Some have said “Why are you playing over them?” and we just say, “We don’t know! It’s nuts” (Laughs)
But it’s awesome to have them coming out. They are one of the staple bands in melodic hardcore, and everyone just loves them. So it’ll be great to have them here, meet them, chill out with them and watch them play every night.
In the lead up the album announcement, you guys also supported Forever Came Calling, how was that tour?
That was cool man. It was great to meet those dudes. Touring is sick, no matter who it’s with. It’s just an adventure every time. Stuff like sleeping on the ground, driving overnight, fighting over showers. They were great dudes as well. You can just chat with them for five minutes and it just gets really deep. They are just really down to Earth guys. Hopefully, if they come over again, or if we go to the states, we can do it again.
The shows were really cool too, lots of high energy going on. Everyone was stoked to see us, stoked to see them, so it was just a really cool tour.
I remember seeing a photo on your Facebook page from Tape Deck Festival in Melbourne with Neck Deep and State Champs. How was that show, as I know that was a big one for you guys.
That was a crazy show! The energy was there, everyone was buzzing about Neck Deep and State Champs. Thesis were there, one of my favourite bands, that was one of their last ever shows. It was just a super cool day. Everyone played super tight, and it was our turn and we just got up and had a go.
The response was crazy. There was heaps of crowd surfing and stage diving as well. It got to the point where there were so many stage dives that people were just trying to do moves in their dives. Eddie, our manager, would jump off stage and he’d stiffen up wobble in the air and it’s called ‘The Salmon’. It was so cool, there were just so many awesome things going on that day.
That is brilliant. On top of the headline tour, you’re also playing at Unfun fest with Kisschasy and Sierra, what’s it like to be on a line-up that’s pretty varied?
That’s how it should be. I think the scenes really adapting now. I think there’s very few any people who just listen to pop-punk or hardcore. Like now if you listen to one, then you most likely listen to the other. It’s good to see so many different bands on one bill. It’s gonna be great to see Kisschasy, and all the other bands. It’s gonna be a sick day.
With regards to varied line-ups, you guys seem to play shows that aren’t strictly pop-punk, or hardcore or metalcore.
Yeah man that’s a really big thing for us. We don’t like to just go down one track and stay to one side of music. We want to play to everyone, and we like all music. So we just want to play with any band, play on any show that we can.
That’s a good mentality to have. I know you yourself do some acoustic work on the side, and that you made a few videos over in Thailand. Will there be any acoustic elements or full acoustic tracks on ‘Mend, Move On’?
There’s a couple that have some straight up cleans. There’s nothing raspy about it, just me trying to have a sing (laughs). The acoustic stuff is just something that I like to do by myself, something that’s just my creative outlet for myself. Trophy Eyes is and always will be my main goal and my main priority. So I think I’ll keep it on the side for now.
Right on man. I know you guys have played with Sierra before, and they’ve been big in the scene for a while now, so I wanted to know your thoughts on the band deciding to break up?
It’s fucked! I don’t know the insides or why and what made that happened, but I’m sure they had a good reason and that it must have been tough as hell. I can’t imagine Trophy Eyes breaking up, I wouldn’t know what to do! But I have mad respect for going through that though. It’s the same with Thesis and one of my favourite bands, Metcalfe. Hopefully, all of those guys disperse and play more music or get back together because it’d be such a waste if they fell through the cracks.
Yeah it definitely does suck when that happens. That’s all we’ve got time for, thanks for your time, John, I wish you the best for ‘Mend, Move On’ and the headline tour.
No worries man, and thank you for your time.
‘Mend, Move On’ will be available through Hopeless Records/UNFD from October 31st.
Catch Trophy Eyes at UnFun ’14 this November.