Traveling family band Eisley have big plans for the coming summer and fall seasons. The group has just put out their first-ever self-produced full-length, Currents, through Equal Vision, and have major plans in store to tour in support of it. The Tyler, Texas-based band has four full-length albums and several EPs under their belts as of this year. “Drink The Water” was the first official single to be debuted by the band off the latest record. It is a song that lies in good company, as it is difficult for a listener of Currents to try and choose a favorite track.
After gathering their creative thoughts with some downtime in their home state, the band recorded 2013’s Currents in a backyard studio. With their family ties, multi-vocalists and ever-changing signature, Eisley’s sound has grown to be far from predictable. Vocalist/keyboardist Stacy DuPree took the time to speak with me about their roots, sound, and future. The conversation is below:
With such a close-knit group of band members, how do you go about fleshing out songs?
With this record, we wrote separately and then we took it to the studio and produced the record ourselves. We all just got in a room and tried to play them together, just started laying them down. We didn’t really have some huge idea of how we were going to go about it or any structure really per se.
We had built a backyard studio—well, the guys did—from the ground up. We got a bunch of gear and we decided, “Let’s just do it ourselves, see what happens.” We’ve always worked with a producer or someone in the mix, giving their opinion or suggestions and picking songs kind of. This time we just wanted to see what would happen if we just did it ourselves.
Currents has some pretty beautiful and intense cover art.
(Laughs) Yeah, I wish I could claim that. Sherri [DuPree, vocals/guitars] actually does all of the artwork, she’s amazing. She’s drawing all of the time. That was a print that we got her to do. We didn’t have any ideas—covers are so hard. It’s like, “Do we do a picture of the band? No, that’s kind of cheesy. What do we do?” I think I told her she should just do the cover because she’s great and I knew she would do something wonderful, so she did. I think it fits the record really good.
The cover art encapsulates the common threads that exist in Currents. Is this record a concept album or simply an album with a theme?
The further we got into the record, it started to develop and surface, I guess. We didn’t start out with a concept per se. Towards the end of the record, we noticed there was a little bit of a theme. Going with that fluidity, kind of with the way we were working together, as a band and family, and how we were taking our own course, finding our own way. I think it ties into that in a personal way for us, taking our own course, following our natural instincts as artists, writers, and musicians. It’s just to do what we feel like. I think that’s where the title came from.
How do you feel this record is a new step for you all as musicians?
I definitely think for us, it stretched us in a lot of ways as producers, or crafters. We always had someone there with us before, so this time it was literally like we have to make this good and we have to like it, too. We can’t just be happy because someone else is satisfied. We really have to think it’s great and have to be proud of it. I think that was a big motivator for us. It definitely helped us to grow in that way. It kind of allowed for us to be pioneers of our own work.
You guys collaborated with Pandora for a release of the album. How did that come together? How was Currents received?
I believe that they approached us, wanting to premiere it. It came out of the blue. Our manager was just like, “Pandora’s going to premiere your record,” and I was like, “Oh, okay.” Yeah, they really liked it and they wanted to do it. I think we’re going to try and do some further collaboration with them, maybe on tour meet up and play for them at their office or something like that. We were really stoked about that. I think it got the record out there, a lot of people listening. We were really appreciative.
You recently released a split 7” with Say Anything. What spawned this idea?
(Laughs) Yeah, we did that, too. Like I said, because we’re on this awesome label, where we can kind of do whatever we want, we sort of just are doing that. We’re just thinking of creative ways of putting things out there for fans and things that they would find special and personal. We put that out, just because of the family thing. Sherri is married to Max [Bemis, Say Anything vocalist], and we just had that idea. It’s only two songs and it’s just fun to do really, that’s the only reason why we did it, because we wanted to.
What are Eisley’s plans for the summer? Continue touring?
Yeah, this tour is about six weeks; it takes up the majority of the summer. After that, we’ll go off on our main tour for Currents, like a headlining tour, probably in the fall. We’re trying to get that all together. That will be a nice, big, long tour and promotion for the record. After that, I’m not sure. We may start working on a new record since we have studio right in our own backyard.
You are scheduled to play June 20 and 21 at Irving Plaza in NYC. How are you guys received by listeners throughout different parts of the country as opposed to your home of Tyler, Texas?
We live in a small town. There’s really nothing here, it’s just old people. We don’t really play a lot of shows in Tyler, but in Dallas, we have a good following.
Actually, New York is a really good one for us. We always have really good shows—we love playing. I feel like we don’t get to play there enough. It’s always one of my favorite places to stop. There’s just always an energy to it, it’s really cool.
I would say my favorite would probably be Texas. California’s great and New York is great always. It just varies from show to show and it seems like it changes from tour to tour. We’ll think we have a great market in one place, go through, and it’s not as hyped. Some other market will surprise us with the audience.
Is there a new artist out there right now that has surprised you talent wise?
There’s this band called Little Dragon. I love them, I would love to tour with them. They’re great, they have a really great vocalist. I think they’re from… I want to say Sweden. You should check them out, they’re really great. That’s the only thing I’ve been listening to lately.
What kind of legacy do you hope to create with Eisley?
Oh, well, that’s a big question. I think I hope that we’re just remembered for our records and creating great records. That’s all I can hope for, that we… I hope that we have a long career. I think that will probably just be the case since we’re family and it’s not like you can really break up anyway. I hope that we get to do it for a while and release records that we’re proud of and that our kids are proud of. That’s really all I can hope for, I think.
I already feel that we have gotten to live a very adventurous life and career thus far, considering we started so young. I was 13 or 14 when we got signed. Just for me, I feel like I’ve gotten to do a lot already. I’m content. Of course, I want to grow and push ourselves a lot. For the most part, I’m really content.
You guys are lucky!
Yeah, I feel like it.
Eisley will perform at Irving Plaza on June 20 and 21, and Philly’s Theatre Of Living Arts on June 22. Currents is available now. For more information, go to eisley.com.