Indie Rock band Tombstones In Their Eyes started as a demo swap between childhood friends John Treanor in L.A. and John Cooper, from N.Y. Now based in L.A., they announce their upcoming release of their five-track ‘Fear’ EP on Send Me Your Head Records. The lead off single ‘Always There’ showcases their sound perfectly as it starts off slow and melancholic and then progresses to a place where layers of Indie Rock create a wall of sound. The accompanying video plays in tune with the track by way of a black and white negative visual dream that takes you strolling through the cityscape in the darkness. They are Indie Rock meets Shoegaze with an incredible intensity that blends with the likes of Black Rebel Motorcycle Club, Spacemen 3 and My Bloody Valentine.
The New ‘Fear’ EP was recorded at L.A.’s Kitten Robot Studio with Paul Roessler (Nina Hagen, The Deadbeats, The Screamers, 45 Grave). They had two prior releases ‘Bad Clouds’ EP (2016) and debut album ‘Sleep Forever’ (2014). Tombstones In Their Eyes’ current line-up is John Treanor (guitar, vocals, keyboards, songwriter), Josh Drew (guitar, backing vocals), Mike Mason (bass, guitar) and Stephen Striegel (drums).
TM had the opportunity to sit down and ask Tombstones In Their Eyes a few questions surrounding their latest release, how they cope with anxiety and depression with music, and working with Paul Roessler…Plus more!
TM – I’ve heard your new ‘Fear’ EP and really like it. Can you briefly tell me how your project came about?
T – The band, or project, started a few years back when I reconnected with an old friend named James Cooper. We decided to start collaborating on songs, even though he was in NY and I was in Los Angeles. He was very encouraging and would help me decide which riffs or ideas to pursue, would put drums on them and generally help polish them. At this time, I started to have issues with anxiety and depression and really dove into creating these songs. It seemed like one of the only things that helped me to feel better and get these depressing thoughts and feelings out. Eventually, I recruited some friends to record the songs in proper studios and it sort of evolved from there.
TM – John, you say that writing and performing songs helps you deal with severe anxiety and depression. Through your music, do you also feel like you’re helping others who suffer from this hardship?
T – I hope so. Much of the lyrical content is fairly depressing, but I personally find that kind of stuff helpful to listen to when I’m not in a good place, so I hope some others do, as well. If you’re well-adjusted and happy, you may not find much for you in songs about suicide, fear and loss. For those who experience those feelings, it can feel good to know you’re not alone and that you can make it out.
TM – As an artist, you have the ability to connect with people. How do you hope your music is received? What has the feedback been like so far for this new release?
T – I hope the music is perceived as honest, mainly. The music and lyrics are direct from my heart and I am not skilled enough to mimic anyone, fortunately. The feedback has been very positive so far. I, myself, was unsure about this release, as I really liked the last EP, Bad Clouds, and this new EP is a bit different from that. So, I’ve relied on the opinions of others to gauge its strengths, because all I can see are the weaknesses, haha.
TM – What has been your biggest challenges as a band? Have you been able to overcome these? If so, how?
T – The biggest challenge, as a band, has been to keep a drummer! We’ve been through two, and I’m currently not really looking, as I have a great hired gun to use for recordings. So, we’ve only done 1 live show and exist for the moment as a recording project. I’m fine with that for now, but will begin the drummer search again shortly.
TM – Could you briefly describe the process by which you made music for your forthcoming ‘Fear’ EP and first single ‘Always There’?
T – This EP is a mix of 3 older demos and 2 newer songs (Fear, I Want To Fly). I always make pretty complete demos of songs before we record, but they always change when you get into the studio. Always There was actually an older demo called Never Scared. I renamed it because Always There made more sense. It’s a song about drugs. I’ve been clean for a long time, but had a serious drug problem when I was younger. So, Always There was recorded with the band, Josh Drew (guitar) and Mike Mason (bass), and our great hired gun, Stephen Striegel, on drums. They each add things that weren’t on the demo, which make the song better and different. There’s a gorgeous bass line that Mike added at the very end of the song, which I could have never come up with.
TM – What was it like working with Paul Roessler, who is well known for his work with the likes of Nina Hagen, The Deadbeats, The Screamers, 45 Grave?
T – I briefly met Paul years ago when my girlfriend at the time, Maggie, introduced us (she used to be in a band called Twisted Roots with Paul). Years later, someone mentioned that they had done drum tracks with him and that his studio was close by. We were looking for a place to mix our first record, Sleep Forever, and I went down there to check it out. He was so nice and his studio was great, so we ended up doing the mixing and all of our subsequent recordings with Paul. We really hit it off and there’s such a comfortable, creative vibe with him. Recording is a pretty intimate process and he is so gentle and supportive that it really brings out the best in the music. And since he’s been an artist for so long himself, he really brings a lot of creative ideas to the table.
TM – How would you describe your own music to a new audience?
T – That’s the hardest question of all. It’s definitely rock music, but filtered through years of influences from Elton John, the Beach Boys and the Stones (my first early loves as a kid) to punk rock to psychedelia to noise to garage. To put it in more modern terms, maybe “morose psych rock”, haha.
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