Video: An acoustic session with Eye Alaska
Fearless Records' unclassifiable quartet stopped by the DIG office for its first recorded acoustic session
Published: Thursday, May 8, 2008
Updated: Saturday, April 9, 2011 18:04
They can rock like a hardcore group, serenade like country crooners, freestyle like rappers and play the blues like jazz singers. There is only one name for this diverse mixture - Eye Alaska. "Basically the premise for Eye Alaska is that we are doing genreless music, which means I don't think music should be confined to one specific genre," said Brandon Wronski, lead vocalist, guitarist, programmer and pianist of the group. "Sometimes you want to write a country song, sometimes you want to write a rock song, hip-hop, jazz, R&B, whatever it may be at the time, and we are doing genreless music so we can just do what we want."
Along with Wronski, the Orange, Calif.-based quartet is made up of Cameron Trowbridge, guitarist and vocalist; Chris Osegueda, bassist and vocalist; and Chase Kensrue, guitarist, pianist and vocalist. Playing music since they were kids, Wronski and Trowbridge were originally in a band called Dead Letter Diaries before becoming Eye Alaska in 2006.
"From Dead Letter Diaries to Eye Alaska, it was kind of a transition where we changed the name and changed the sound but the same people were basically in it," Wronski said. Now the lead singer says their new "brainchild is cinematic rock - the big string ensembles with the big beats and more rock guitars."
Even with cine-rock at the heart of this group, Wronski is quick to credit bands like Jimmy Eat World, Circa Survive, At The Drive-In and Rascal Flatts as a few of his many influences, and says he also listens to "a lot of movie soundtracks like Hans Zimmer and Harry Gregson-Williams." Trowbridge also notes Disney soundtracks as a musical inspiration, and Kensrue adds that not being categorized allows the group to "take from every genre and all kinds of people."
Finally, after shopping its uncharted sound to many different labels, Eye Alaska found a home at Fearless Records on April 1, 2008.
"They understand what we want to do with the tour and music," Trowbridge said about the band's label. "The majors who wanted to work with us just wanted us to do like cohesive music."
"They wanted us to pick like rock or hip-hop," Osegueda added. "It was like you have to choose right now and the whole purpose of our music is not to choose a genre."
"It was like one of those things that after meeting with so many different labels, as soon as we walked in [to Fearless Records] and talked with them, it just felt right," Trowbridge added.
The band just wrapped up the re-recording of its EP, "Yellow and Elephant," which the guys call "version 2.0" and will be released next month.
"We redid all the guitars and vocals and put live drums to everything," Wronski said of the new version of the EP. "We also have one extra song [on it] that wasn't on the EP before."
Following the re-release of "Yellow and Elephant," Eye Alaska plans to begin touring from the end of June until winter to bring its unique music and sets nationwide.
"I figure every band is going to say they are energetic live, but I think there is a totally different element live, and we try to put on an actual show rather than just playing," Wronski said. "We treat them more of like a performance." Trowbridge adds, "We act out every song."
After touring until the end of the year, Eye Alaska will go back into the studio to begin recording its first full-length album, which Wronski is already writing material for, and will be released in early 2009.
"You feel different things at different times," Wronski said of the band's versatile music. "It's kind of like the soundtrack to your life.