Look, the debut full length album by THE 16 EYES was released weeks ago on Area Pirata Records out of Pisa, Italy. The 16 Eyes included 4 garage veterans, blasting the most powerful garage and freak beat sounds since the 60’s. If you like bombastic drums, fuzzy guitars, pinball bouncing bass lines and songs that will stick in your head, this band is for you. Drop the needle, PLAY IT LOUD and hold to your ears. Time to talk to these guys:
Orin Portnoy – I play the electric fish (bass) we have been together as a band for a few years but “together mental it’s been a long time” I use to play in The Outta Place, The Optic Nerve, The Lone Wolves and many other bands which have all been enjoyable
Steve Ostrov: I play guitar and have been in The Freaks Of Nature, The Cybermen, Doc & The Pods as well as a bunch of other bands who never got around to recording. I also played drums with The Tri-City Thundercats for a week in Japan.
Frank Labor: I play guitar also. Back in the day I played in a mod band called The Ticket and later the psychedelic band 85Kalidocolor. I’ve also played with The Jeff Dahl Band, Labor Party and The Battered Suitcases more recently.
Ward: The 16 Eyes will rock your socks off. I play drums. I was in Drag King, Primate 5, Sinister 6 and Tractor Sex Fatality. Currently I play drums in Shovel, Godspeedball and The 16 Eyes. The 16 Eyes has been together as long as I can remember.
2. About the recently released record "Look", what can you tell about the recording process? Was this a live in the studio recording or a track by track recording with lots of overdubs?
Orin: We did most of it live with very few overdubs.
Steve: We recorded at Audioconfusion in Mesa, Arizona. Jalipaz was a treat to work with!
Frank: Jal is a great guy and gives Orin all the credit for turning him on to live tracking. We laid all the tracks with him at AudioConfusion and did the production at our BeatBum Studio’s. We all had a hand in the mixing process and after it was complete, Sharon Labor of The Bookends (my wife and master Mastering Engineer) did the mastering. We kept it all in house. Even the cover design. Area Pirata was great to work with in that way. In every way really!
Ward: It was a blassy gas.
3. To what kind of music did you listen to as a teenager and does it still influence your today work? What was your favorite band as a teenager? Name 3 bands that you consider still have a influence on your own work today.
Orin: As a preteen I listened to The Cramps. The Ramones and The Fuzztones, though my biggest influence would be The Who.
Steve: The Beatles were the first band that really got my attention. In my early teens, I drifted into prog rock. In my later teens I had my heart broken by a girl and punk rock has been my main music ever since. It's a shame really, as I never got a chance to thank her. It started with bands like The Ramones, The Dickies and Devo but when I heard 60's garage punk on a local volunteer radio station, I was hooked. I can't narrow it down to only 3 bands that still influence me, but I'll say those early Nuggets, Pebbles and Boulders comps are still my guiding light.
Frank: In my early teens I was obsessed with all the British invasion bands. Beatles, Who, Small
Faces, Kinks, the whole lot. In my later teens it was Iggy, the Dolls, Dead Boys, Gen X, and all that punk stuff. Once I got into The Jam it was all Mod. I think the 3 bands that influenced me the most through this record (LOOK) would probably be: The Yardbirds, The Kinks and The Birds.
Ward: Rock and Roll. Yeah it does. Favorite bands Beatles, The Who, Judas Priest, Rolling Stones, Led Zeppelin, Beach Boys. The Who, The Beatles and Velvet Underground still have an influence today.
4. Is there a main composer in the band or is everybody involved in one way or another?
Orin: Frank and Steve do most of the writing but I chime in and we all add our own twists to all the songs to make them our own.
5. What are The 16 Eyes favorite topics to write about or the topics that come easily when you guys write a new song?
Orin: My favorite topic is slapping ones mother.
Steve: I like writing about unpleasant people I've had to endure- narcissists, liars, control freaks, hypocrites, etc... Writing is a way to get the poison out without killing anyone. As everyone has had encounters with toxic people, I'd like to think of my songs as soundtracks for folks to process their ordeals- to know that someone else has been there and that they'll get through it and be able to laugh about it in the end too.
Frank: When we first got together I started writing during the end of the presidential campaign. Sitting on the couch with a guitar watching the news. Bad old days, Shot in the dark and Dead blow hammer. Were all election news inspired. The other were more stupid personal things like my old car, an experience in a float tank, my desire to get out of town for a bit with my baby or my baby’s desire to get out of town and never come back. :)
6. Do you have a video on youtube featuring a track from the latest release?
Orin: No YouTube yet but hopefully soon
7. What can concert goers expect at a gig of The 16 Eyes? Are you playing any famous cover songs?
Orin: Lots of stripe shirts, We are big fans of The Pretty Things.
Steve: Tinnitus can be expected, so bring earplugs!
Frank: We do throw in a cover every now and then. The mod classic “Leaving Here” is even on the record. I really enjoy doing to Pretty Things Midnight to Six Man live.
8. Is there a new 60's garage scene in Phoenix these days and are there any other bands you are feeling close to?
Orin: There is always people who play and enjoy this kind of music all across the world.
Steve: We've split a few gigs with a local band called The Faded Pictures. They get it.
Frank: There are a couple hands full of bands here in Phoenix and we get some traveling bands come through also.
9. What are the plans for the rest of 2018 as far as The 16 Eyes are concerned? Are you guys planning to tour Europe soon to promote this newly released vinyl record?
Orin: We would like to travel and see our friends and start to record our next record.
Ward: To keep rocking in the free world.
10. Anything you would like to say to the viewers of this blog?
Orin: There is allot of excitement about our band now and we are very humbled, Thank you!
Steve: Music is food for the soul. Please give our cafe a try.
Frank: Thanks for supporting the Ratboy69 blog, Area Pirata Records and this genre of music!