Lazyeyes Interview

@ ACE OF CUPS in COLUMBUS, OH

Nick Lotz

A man blasts off into space. He fights aliens, then travels to a different galaxy using 2001: a Space Odyssey visuals and a jetpack. That’s the basic premise behind Lazyeyes music video ‘Wait.’

Visuals aside, Lazyeyes makes some great music. With high-pitched vocals and an echoing guitar, an air of mystery and tragedy dominates their songs (no wonder it’s called ‘dream rock’).

Formed in Brooklyn, NY in 2012, Lazyeyes is comprised of two full time members, Jason Ibrashami and Jeremy Sampson. They released a self-titled EP in 2013 that was heralded as best “psych-shoegaze” music, and are lined up to showcase SXSW this year.

Although they aren’t quite prolific at this point, Lazyeyes holds their own on the indie rock scene with two solid EPs, both of which stand strong as truly groovalicious.

I had the opportunity to interview the entire Lazyeyes roster over the phone while they were feasting on breakfast food at a WaffleHouse. What follows is a transcription.

JASON: VOCALS
SAM: GUITAR
DREW: BASS
JEREMY: DRUMS

NICK: How did you guys all come together and decide to form this band?

JASON: It just kind of happened. Basically we were all in bands previously and I met Jeremy through our old guitarist Alex and Paul randomly was in the band, now he’s not in the band, we have Drew and Sam with us. It all just happened randomly.

N: Where did the name “Lazyeyes” come from?

JEREMY: That was Jason’s doing. He was a bit high and sort of wonky and he was like, we should just name the band lazy eyes because it looks like I have a lazy eye. And I said “alright, that’s better than anything else.”

N: Stereogum described you guys as “dream pop,” the deli magazine called you guys “best psych/shoegaze band in nyc” and the blog Purple Sneakers called you “equal parts shoegaze and dream pop.” I feel like a lot of the readers around here are baffled by these genre-defying descriptions. What is shoegaze?

JEREMY: It’s like a late 80’s early 90’s thing that happened in England which has Ride and My Bloody Valentine on its roster. A lot of what we do is heavily indebted to that. It has high production value, a lot of reverb, a lot of vocals, a lot of guitar. Bands like Galaxy 500 and Slow Down as well. It’s had a resurgence in the past 5-10 years.

N: What is dream pop? Is that the same thing?

JEREMY: That’s kind of the weird thing with those labels. I don’t know if you can make a clear differentiation between one and the other. A lot of times the things that are going around are sort of pretentious in general, but I guess dream pop has a sort of ethereal quality. Whatever it sounds like in your head, that’s what it is.

N: That makes sense. Dreams do come from our head after all, so I can see how dream pop would be that kind of thing. What would you classify your music as? 

JEREMY: That’s kind of a hard one to answer. A live show might sound one way and our recorded album might sound a different way. I honestly just prefer the term “indie rock.” I also think its just a strange and narcissistic exercise to spend too much time classifying your own stuff. Call it what you will, it is what it is.

N: How are you guys feeling about this upcoming gig at Ace of Cups in Columbus?

JEREMY: We’re excited about it. I’ve never even played in Columbus before. We spent some time in Cincinnati and Cleveland this past summer. Ohio seems great. Wait, Drew has a story.

DREW: I played a lot with a bunch of different bands, and I played the legendary tree bar (the bar is around the tree). (treebarcolumbus.com). It was awesome. Always a good time when I come to Ohio.

N: How would you describe the typical “Ohio” audience?

DREW: There’s a lack of pretension when you get away from the big cities like New York or LA where people are inundated with shows and are, for lack of a better word, jaded. It’s nice to come here where people cut loose and get down. People just know how to have a good time in Ohio, which is unfortunately foreign sometimes on the East Coast.

N: SXSW just might be the biggest festival in America for up and coming bands. Are you guys stoked about it?

JEREMY: We’re doing a tour down with Beverly. Do you know them?

N: I do not.

JEREMY: We’re doing a tour, spending like a whole week in Austin during the festival, and then coming back up.

FEMALE VOICE: Do you want more coffee?

N: Was that a female in the band or was that a waitress?

JEREMY: That was the waitress.

N: You guys make a lot of interesting choices with your music videos, between the Oldboy influenced ‘Adaptation’ and the 2001: A Space Odyssey sequence in ‘Wait’. Are you all avid cinephiles?

JEREMY: Yeah, I think we are. I think a lot of that stuff goes hand in hand The Oldboy thing was actually Jason’s idea because we wanted to make the video for “Adaptation” but we didn’t know what we wanted to do. We wanted Drew to star in it because he was pumped to do it, so Jason came up with the idea of reimagining it like the trailer from Oldboy. The 2001: A Space Odyssey stuff in “Wait” was from our friend Kevin Lee. We kind of gave him free reign; “whatever you hear in the song make a video.” I guess he heard that in there and we loved it.

N: Favorite movie?

DREW: Cool Runnings

JASON: Spaceballs

SAM: Star Wars

JEREMY: That’s a tough question. 2001 is a great movie. I don’t know if it’s my favorite.

N: Favorite music journalist who interviewed you about your Ace of Cups show?

JEREMY: Well, certainly you.

N: Thank you!

JEREMY: Don’t take this the wrong way, but I don’t think you really have any competition.

N: Were you guys on NPR earlier?

JEREMY: We were on WXVU radio. They called us about an hour ago. We did an interview with them.

N: You guys don’t have a publicist or anything?

JEREMY: We kind of just do these interviews guerrilla style. Maybe if we put out another EP.

N: Do you usually do them in Waffle Houses?

JEREMY: Most of them are. Drew loves Waffle Houses more than he loves most things. I need you to ask Sam one question. He hasn’t spoken at all.

SAM: What’s up.

N: What’s your favorite song to play on guitar?

SAM: What?

N: Your favorite guitarist?

SAM: I have no idea. Eddie Van Halen. He’s great.

Lazyeyes will be playing at Ace of Cups in Columbus, OH this coming Saturday, January 17th and you can buy tickets ahead of time here (https://archiefoxcg.yapsody.com/event/index/24214/eternal-summers-w-lazyeyes).

For more information on their tour, or if you want to check out their new album, surf your ass on over to http://www.lazyeyesnyc.com.