Interview with Sherri DuPree-Bemis from Eisley: Strength In Numbers

The indie rock band Eisley are headed for a whole new journey, having recently released their EP, Deep Space, through their new label Equal Vision. There’s a new sense of freedom that singer Sherri DuPree-Bemis describes in their writing now under Equal Vision and a return to their roots is in store for the future. Their previous album, The Valley, was written while still on their old label, Warner Bros. Records, but later released through Equal Vision soon after signing with them.

Sisters, vocalists and guitarists, DuPree-Bemis, Stacy King and Chauntelle DuPree with bassist Garron DuPree and drummer Weston DuPree may have met some hurdles over the past couple years with changing labels, but are concentrating on what’s next. Material for the next album is being worked on and DuPree-Bemis mentioned side projects being released later this year, from sister Stacy under the name Sucré and Perma, a band formed by Sherri and husband, Max Bemis. For now, as Sherri describes below, the focus is all on their current EP and bringing the past to the future.

Your younger sister, Christie, is also on your upcoming tour. How is that having more of the family out on the road?

If I could bring my whole family, I mean, I almost do bring my whole family, but if I could bring everyone I would every time. She’s a really gifted little songwriter just starting out and I think she’s really brilliant. Getting to see her grow and help her be on shows is really fun for me as a big sister.

What are you looking forward to most on this tour?

We’re really excited to be able to play all our new songs off our EP. Also, just touring with Christie and Tallhart—who were formally the Marksmen—they’re really [good] friends of ours and they’re so talented. My husband actually just signed them. He just started kind of a sub-label [Rory Records] under Equal Vision, which is the label we’re on, so we’re all kind of labelmates now.

Was it known that you were going to do this tour with them being that you also did a fall tour run with the same lineup?

We kind of talked about it because that tour was such a short kind of ride and we didn’t get to cover all the markets we wanted to, so this is kind of just an extension in my head of that tour and we get to cover more places like New York and those we didn’t get to do last time.

Deep Space just recently came out. How has the response been?

Really good. I honestly kind of have stopped looking at reviews and things like that because it’s not productive if you’re an artist and your career is to make and create and it can be really a bum out when you see a few things and be like “Oh crap,” no matter how much positive you see. But on Twitter, it’s usually people who are a fan and it’s a really conducive beginning of getting a feeling of what people are thinking, what people who you actually care think. We’re about ready to start writing our next record, so I get a taste of what they want out of the next record by hearing what they think about the EP.

What are some of the things that fans have say that you want to apply to the next record?

One of the things that a lot of people have said they really appreciate is the return to the more whimsical lyrics that we had written on our first couple of records. The Valley was a break-up record and there was a lot of stuff that we had to get out in that record. I think for this record, there will be a lot more of that, which is really exciting for me because I read nonstop fiction and that kind of stuff. So getting to put stories to music is my favorite thing and I’ve been trying to do that more with this record.

Was there a connection between last album’s title, The Valley, and your new EP, Deep Space?

It wasn’t a super intentional thing to do that, but it is very fitting because the EP was the first project where we weren’t on a major label. Being on a major label is cool if you’re a pop star or hip-hop artist, but if you’re just an indie rock band, it’s not the right environment for creating because there’s too many people kind of telling you what they need in the end so they can make their money. This is the first time we had absolutely no pressure because indie labels sign bands because they love what they do and trust them. With Equal Vision, it was the first time we didn’t have someone breathing down our necks like, “What are you writing for radio or give us this or change that,” so it was just really free and I think that kind of is fitting for Deep Space—like, the Earth is yours, let’s go for it, do what you do. It sounds cheesy, but it’s pretty accurate.

Did switching labels stir any creativity that you didn’t think you would use for new music?

I think the whole freedom aspect did help us loosen up and musically, we took risks and did things that we would have not done before, like weird time signatures of guitar parts that are a little more out there. So I think it gave us the freedom to tap into our deeper creativity levels that we weren’t able to do before.

How would you sum up Deep Space?

It’s pretty much the essence of Eisley—what we started out to do as a band and the kind of music that we want to make. It’s not us trying to be anything but who we are and I think there’s something really beautiful in that when you can finally capture that moment in the creative endeavor. Because in the creative industry, it’s hard to find your voice and seek it without feeling limited by what other people think. It’s really hard to describe, just to capture the purity of it all and it sounds silly to say that, but it’s pure Eisley and how it should be without outside interruptions.

Why did you decided to put this out only a year after the release of The Valley?

The Valley, by the time we put it out, it had already been recorded almost a year and a half before and it was intended to come out on Warner Bros. We finished it and gave it to them and they were like, “Uh, we don’t really want to put this out.” We were like, “Oh, okay, can we have it? And we’ll take the record somewhere else.” Then they didn’t want to give us the record and it was a long, drawn out year of just what is going to happen and are we going to put this record out. So that’s why by the time we put the record out, it was kind of old to us and we were in a different place and wanted to capture that. And to just let fans know that we’re still doing this and Eisley is still going to keep putting out music.

Why did you decide to re-record “192 Days” for Deep Space?

I think we just really love that song and it’s really special to me. It’s the first song that I wrote for my husband before we were even officially dating and we were just so madly in love and I wrote that. So it really hadn’t been done as great as it could have been. On the Fire Kite demo, it was all garage band, so we just re-recorded it with fresh vocals and added them.

I read you wanted it to have a Fred & Ginger movie feel to it.

Yeah, I grew up obsessed with those movies and I think the music on those films is priceless and will never grow odd. I can’t help but to write songs that sound like they’re from the ‘30s every once in a while.

What inspired the cover art for the EP?

We brainstormed that as a band and with our dad, who designs the website, and he’s helped do all our record covers. He designs record covers for other bands—like he did the last couple MUTEMATH records and he’s just super talented. I wanted to do a retro/sci-fi thing, so I just thought it was fitting because we have this song “Deep Space” and it’s lyrically about this couple that lives out in outer space.

There’s like a shoe and a worm…

(Laughs). Yeah, it’s like, “What is that?” Someone described it looking like the facehugger things in Alien. I’m like “Yes! Great example!”


You can catch Eisley at the Bowery Ballroom in NYC on Sunday, March 18. They will also be at the Theatre Of Living Arts in Philadelphia on Monday, March 19. For more information, check out