Eagle Twin Interview

There can be no doubt that one of the burliest debut albums to drop in the last few years (aeons?) is Unkindness of Crows, the prog/rock/doom/drone/atom bomb recently created by Eagle Twin, featuring notorious bearded blasters Gentry Densley and Tyler Smith. I was lucky enough to ask the duo about debuting on Southern Lord, touring with Sunn O))), and of course, some Black Sabbath.

HSJ: So, the band name....just a reference to you guys being a duo, or are we talking motorcycles here?

TYLER: No Harleys, just a crappy old tour van.

GENTRY: The name owes more to a reference to the native american belief in spirit animals and in particular the Navajo belief that some people have 2 hearts, one human, one animal, and that lets them travel between the natural and supernatural worlds.

HSJ: There are some heavy duos going right now...Lightning Bolt, Big Business, Black Cobra...why did you choose to go this route? Less guys to split royalties with? Less headaches writing songs?

G: My first band in 87 was a duo.

T:It is a lot less drama.

G: It frees up the music in a way and we can take it to difference places at the drop of a hi-hat.

HSJ: Tell me about this whole baritone guitar thing you're doing. When did you first come upon this sound? Was it an epiphany that happened all of the sudden, or something you'd been working on for a while? Also, what gear are you using for your sound?

G: My buddy Ed Rodriguez (ex iceburn/ now in deerhoof) showed me a guitar he was trying with a pickup sideways under the bass strings only. That goes to a bass amp and the other pickups to the guitar amp. I've been working on the setup for many years and modified the shit out of many guitars. Now it has evolved to a point where the guitar and bass have a few amps each. I use Sunn Model Ts and some old Earth amps like this one the KT3000 it is like a Marshall Major clone. All the tube amps are around 200 watts each and I use a Phase Wizard that my friend developed to get all the amps pushing the big waves together in phase.

HSJ: The sound on Unkindness of Crows is massive. Did you use alot of multitracking and overdubs, or did you pretty much perform it as you would live?
T: Its pretty much how we did it live in the studio. We overdubbed some stainless steel cymbals on the first track.

G: I did go back and reinforce and layer a few things but the live sound is so huge and rich we tried to approximate that with the recording of the album.

HSJ: I hadn't been able to grab any of your limited releases before Unkindness, but the little I heard seemed a bit simpler, in terms of structure...and I was pleased to hear some very prog/psych styled moments on the new album. The compositions are amazing. Did you rework the songs extensively from their original forms? Also, did you feel any pressure releasing your debut for Southern Lord?

G: We actually felt more freedom from southern lord... so we indulged our prog/fusion urges. Greg (southern lord) is a big fan of Iceburn especially the epic albums like Meditavolutions and Hephaestus, so we felt free to take it there. To the ancient future.

T: Gentry has a degree in composition.

G: Its fun.

HSJ: You did the Ascend project with Greg Anderson, and he released some Iceburn vinyl as well. You guys go back a ways right?

G: Yeah, in 1989 our bands played together opening for the Accussed in Salt Lake City. We were in touch ever since and toured together and put out records like the Engine Kid/Iceburn split. We are old bros and have been doing alot together these days so its been really cool. Our approaches mesh well I think.

HSJ: So your first major tour is with Sunn O))). That's quite a start...but opening for a big band can also have its drawbacks So how's the response been so far? Any really good tour stories?

T: I see no draw backs touring with 0))), lots of people hear the music and we get to use all their amps. Well, not all.

G: Actually they use some of ours too! Response has been great, it works together for some reason.

We had a day off and ended up in a forest on an island in Wisconsin... made hobo dinners on the campfire and shared a bottle of Vodka and ran through the woods. Tyler picked up a big log and smashed it full force into a tree. It exploded and rained termites and ticks all over us. We burned them off with hot sticks.

HSJ: I've heard that there will be another Ascend record...

G: Recorded half of it already... we need a break from tour to finish it!

HSJ: Favorite Black Sabbath song? (I asked everyone this for awhile, then I stopped, fearing it was cliche...and my readers demanded I bring it back as the "lithmus" test! )

T: 'Sweet Leaf'

G: 'Into the Void' now there's a riff!

HSJ: So its been a big year for you guys. Are you gonna tour on Crows for awhile, or are you already thinking about the next record?

G: Touring quite a bit, but the next record is already sketched out... Its about snakes.


a death cinematic ::: simple box construction said...

their album is so fucking awesome. i can't wait to read this interview. the ascend album is also amazing. check it out. thanks,
a death cinematic

Leslie said...

excellent music with no equal. also really loved ascend. can't wait for the new record. thanks for the music.

planningforburial said...

really enjoy this album, going to see them do an instore performance in a few hours.

-cja said...

just saw these guys play an instore on monday night. it was a last minute thing so there was like 10-12 people there. anyway, they destroyed. loud as fuck and heavy as fuck. picked up the LP on orange... there was no way i was walking out of the store without it.

the whole using a bass pickup trick has got to be seen to be believed. it was quite a unique effect.

cool interview.

EffectsPedalsHQ said...

Very interesting interview but all images removed :)