Interview: All Eyes West
ALL EYES WEST
Chicago’s rock music scene has always featured solid band’s and been very diverse, and since 2010, All Eyes West has been a big part of it with their blend of 90’s alternative stylings with the ideals of melodic punk rock. Earlier this year (2019), the group released their third full-length album Like Lightning. We had a chance to catch up with Justin Miller, the group’s bassist and vocalist, and chat with him about the album, the darker tone of some it’s the lyrics, working with drummer Ronnie DiCola of The Arrivals, the local Chicago scene, and much more!
1. Back in August, you released your third full-length album Like Lightning. Tell us a little bit about the album – What can people expect from it, why is it a must have, etc…
Well, it's an album that took a long time to come together. We were going through some growing pains as humans during the writing and recording of the record, so there's a lot of 'feeling' in the album. It kind of falls on the 'dark' side of things. I dunno, I'm pretty stoked with it. I kind of think it's our strongest effort. I suck at being a salesman. People should just check it out and see what they think! We like it... hope you will too!
2. For your longtime fans, what will the find to be similar between this album and 2015’s Doomer, but also what are the major differences they’ll hear?
I think that these songs still sound like our band, you know? We haven't taken things in any crazy new direction or anything. So, if you dug on Doomer, I'm sure you can get down with Like Lightning. Hopefully, we've grown a bit. I feel these songs are a little “deeper” than our previous albums and Ronnie's influence is on the new one, which gives it a little something different.
3. “As I Bleed” was used as sort of the first teaser for the album early on. Why did you feel that song was the best first representative of the album as a whole?
We just think it rips! It comes charging right out of the gate. It had been too long since Doomer had come out and I guess we wanted to announce that we were back with a banger!
4. Like Lightning is the first album to feature drummer Ronnie DiCola (The Arrivals), who you mentioned earlier. Why did you feel that Ronnie’s style of playing was the perfect fit for All Eyes West?
Because Ronnie kills it. He beats the SHIT out of the drums. He's the best!
5. What did Ronnie bring to the table that helped you find the overall sound for this album the most?
He's got a great drumming style and a songwriter’s ear, so I think that helped.
6. You’ve said earlier that this album is a little darker, especially in the lyrics. What made this album go in that direction where others from your past catalog really haven’t?
Yeah, this one was definitely a darker album. For me, there were a lot of changes going on in my life. Some heavy stuff went down and it's what influenced a lot of the lyrics on this one. I mean, I've always written from that place. I feel like all our records can seem a little dark "lyrically." This one just happened to be a little MORE dark.
7. Which one song from the album stands out as your personal favorite and why?
“Interference” is one of my top favorites. I've just liked it a lot ever since it came together at the practice space. It somehow started out as a joke on this little Casio keyboard that was sitting against the wall and grew into a song. The lyrics also hold a lot of meaning to me, not that I could explain really.
8. You’re from my original hometown of Chicago. That scene has been strong since I was a kid in it back in the mid-1990’s. What do you feel has made the Chicago scene so good for so long and why is a local scene like it necessary to the overall punk rock scene?
Chicago is a gritty, hard-working, no-bullshit city and I think a lot of the bands hold those same traits. I feel like the bands do what they wanna do, play whatever style they wanna play, and there's just a bunch of good people doing it. I'd say good local scenes are necessary to the overall scene because that's what this shit runs off of. Community, music, and all that. Our band wouldn't have been touring without local scenes. I may not have gotten into all this as a kid if it weren't for the local scene in Central IL. And man... I NEEDED it!
9. Having been a part of it as All Eyes West for nearly a decade now, how have you seen the Chicago punk rock scene change and evolve the most, for better or worse?
Well, I moved out of the city a few years back. So, my finger isn't totally on the pulse these days. I mean, there's still a ton of killer bands playing and pretty much at least a couple show options on any given night. Chicago has always been a great music city and will continue for years to come.
10. We’re all about helping the next generation at allageszine.com, so we always end all our Q&A’s with this question. What one piece of advice would you give to someone who is just starting out with their first band today?
Whether you're playing for 2 people or 2,000... give it your all. Do your thing and have fun doing it.