South Australian Soul Blues band Lazy Eye are about to embark on an extensive tour to promote their new album Pocket The Black, which was released last month.
The album has just been awarded the 2016 Blues Album Of The Year by the Adelaide Roots & Blues Association, adding yet another accolade to Lazy Eye’s growing collection, which includes gongs for the 2013 SA Blues & Roots Best Blues Album (Move Me), Best Blues Artist (2014 South Australian Music Awards), alongside nominations for Song Of The Year (Hole In My Pocket) at the 2015 Australian Blues Music Awards, and Most Popular Blues/Roots Artist in the 2016 South Australian Music Awards.
Tomatrax caught up with Evan Whetter, the band’s lead singer, organ player and harmonica player to ask a few questions.
You’ve just released your latest album, what’s it like to have it out?
It’s great. We’re very proud of it. It’s definitely the closest we’ve come to capturing what we do live.
What made you pick ‘Pocket the black’ as the title track?
Honestly? We just thought it was a cool name for an album. It also really captures the spirit of what we do as well from the point that it’s a cranking blues shuffle but has a bit of that Jazz sophistication. It combines our Chicago blues influence with the soul jazz vibe of the Hammond Organ pioneers like Jimmy Smith, Jack McDuff and Jimmy McGriff.
In putting this album together you opened the studio doors to the public, where did you come up with this idea?
There was three reasons we did this. The first is we’ve been asked a lot when we’d be putting out a live album and it was high on our agenda. The second reason is we love to create experiences for people rather than just playing a gig in a traditional venue. It’s not that we’re opposed to traditional venues, but giving people an one off experience is exiting and the thought of missing out helps pull people away from their home theatres and big screen TVs. The last reason was it helped fund the album. We were able to package up the show together with a pre-order of the album and some vinyl which we were able to invest into the cost of producing it.
How did making the album this way compare with making your previous albums?
We’ve always recorded live in the studio, just not in front of an audience. It’s really given the album a different energy having a bunch of people in with us, but at the same time we’re stoked with the studio quality sound. We had very stripped back production. It’s raw and live but it sounds nice too.
Do you have any ideas on any unique approaches for the next album?
Yes, we might try doing it normally next time.. that would be different for us! In all seriousness we’ve started writing for the next album already and although we haven’t planned anything yet, you just never know with Lazy Eye.
You’re about to tour round Australia, what can fans expect from your show?
If you haven’t hear us yet, we describe our music as like B.B. King sharing a scotch with Booker T at the crossroads after midnight. We love to put on a show and have a lot of fun. We’re really looking forward to being back out on the road, connecting with people at a show is probably our favourite part of what we do.
Where did the name Lazy Eye come from?
A friend of ours, a great guy and world class musician named Chris Soole wrote a song called Lazy Eye after the nick name of a guy who ran a record shop home in Adelaide. Before we really got started with the band we were offered a support for Smokin’ Joe Robinson. We had to quickly come up with a name and I’d just been listening to that song and suggested it as a temporary option. It Stuck.
Do you ever listen to your own music?
Not often. We do critique it and listen to it a lot as a part of the writing, pre-production and recording process… once the album is finished we get to hear them at the show and that’s enough.
What music do you listen to?
We love all types of music. We do of course listen to a lot of blues but also to a lot of soul, jazz and funk as well. All three of us loved bands like Led Zeppelin and Deep Purple growing up so they still get the occasional spin in the tour van.
What do you have planned after your upcoming tour?
We’ve got another single and video being released early next year so we’ll be doing some filming and getting ready for that. Apart from spending as much time with our family as we can it’s heading into festival season. In-between all of that we’ll be working on material for the next album. I read a great quote by Enzo Ferrari who when asked what his favourite model Ferrari was replied “The next one”. That pretty well sums us up too.
Check out Lazy Eyes’ website to find out more!