Electric Eye describe themselves, quite accurately, as “space psych drone rock from Bergen”. When Øystein Braut, Njål Clementsen, Anders Bjelland and Øyvind Hegg-Lunde get together to play as Electric Eye, they create a psych experience that seems like it might be the perfect soundtrack to a road trip, if your vehicle was a shuttle hurtling into orbit.
Though the band caught our attention all the way back in 2011, it took until last year for them to release their debut record Pick Up, Lift Off, Space, Time which was issued through Klangkollektivet Records in Norway, with London’s legendary Fuzz Club Records handling international distribution. Given that all four members of the band also play in acts like the Megaphonic Thrift, the Low Frequency In Stereo, Hypertext, Dig Deeper and the Alexandria Quartet to name a few, it’s fair to assume they were probably just busy with other things!
Fresh from performing at Eurosonic, the band are due to play our club night on March 27th, so we thought we’d find out a bit more about them before catching what promises to be a mesmerising show. You can catch them alongside Last Lynx and The Scenes from just £5 in advance, find out more about the event here.
Spotlight Interview: Electric Eye
For those that haven’t met you yet, could you please introduce yourself – who are you, where are you from, and how would you describe what you do?
HI! We are Electric Eye. We all hail from the fjords of Western Norway, with Bergen as our HQ. We play psychedelic rock and roll, we jam, drink beers and try to have a good time, most of the time.
The members of Electric Eye are all involved with a number of other projects – do you find the other bands you play with influence the sound of Electric Eye? Is it difficult to manage to make time to get everyone together?
Well, of course what we do with our other projects influences the sound – still, we try to keep this separate and unique. The songs are there as a base, but if one part of one song gets a little colour from The Megaphonic Thrift’s noise-rock for instance, that is pretty cool, I think. We still have our own thing going. Sometimes things crash with some other band’s plan, but we just have to plan ahead. So far so good.
You’re heavily involved in Norway’s growing psych scene, including setting up Oslo Psych Fest last year – did you enjoy the process of running a festival? Will you be involved again in 2014?
Doing the Oslo Psych Fest was a lot of work, but truly an amazing experience. Having all these great bands in a small venue in Oslo, having people coming from all of Europe to see shows, seeing the joy of the audience when the bands performed. Pretty cool! Yeah. There hasn’t been a huge scene for psych rock in Norway, (nothing is a huge scene in Norway btw) but we see that it is growing and that people are getting into more psych stuff and that makes me very happy. It’s really wild how these psych fests keep popping up pretty much all over the world. We are definitely doing another one this year. Bigger and better. Mark your calendars, the first weekend in September might be a good weekend to visit Oslo this fall!
A lot of psych music sounds like it emerges from epic jam sessions – is this how Electric Eye tend to write, or does one of you take the lead with an idea which you build around?
Well. Most of the songs on our album are based on a riff, or a set of melodies. We have worked very hard on every part of every song. There is nothing coincidental there, even though it may sound like it; every part is there for a reason. We did a lot of jamming/ rehearsing before we recorded the songs, so the songs might have a live feeling to them. We try to keep it interesting all the time and to have something of a hook in every song. Endless jamming is probably more fun to play than to listen to. Hehe. Of course we do some improvising in our live set to keep things fresh.
Were there any key psych albums which musically brought Electric Eye together, or even just some records you would recommend for people just discovering the genre?
I think for us it’s the video of Pink Floyd in Pompeii which is the most influential. The surroundings are so surreal, and so much cool gear. A must see! Also the Embryonic album of The Flaming Lips were a big influence on us. Also the Norwegian band Motorpsycho have had a huge impact on every Norwegian musician in this generation. They have showed us during their 20+ years of playing together that jamming, being unpredictable and artsy, is the way to go.
You played this year’s SXSW festival, was this your first time playing together in America?
We just came back actually. We had a great time! We played a lot of shows, some cool, some not so cool. From what I hear, that is kind of what the festival is all about. It was a crazy week, with a lot of work, but a lot of fun too. We were only playing at SXSW, but are working on getting back to the US as soon as possible. People there seem to respond very well to our psychedelic space-grooves.
What can we expect from your live show as a part of our Ja Ja Ja club Night later this month?
A groovy set full of psychedelic rock and roll, combined with a backdrop of cool, spaced out visuals. This will be our first time in the UK, and we are stoked!
Do you have any good new music tips to share with us?
I really like the Morgan Delt album that just came out. The Wooden Shjips record that came out last year is also on heavy rotation. Also check out the Norwegian psych-rockers The Low Frequency in Stereo, and their latest album Pop Obscura.
And finally, what does the rest of the year hold for you?
We are doing some festivals this spring/summer, including The Great Escape and some European ones. We’ll start recording our second album during the summer and for the fall we’re working on a club tour across the EU. Good times!