Warehouse Eyes: Expanding Dream Pop
Being an indie fan, when I hear "Dream Pop Duo" and see a picture of a guy and a girl, I can't help but think of Beach House, the quintessential modern Dream Pop band. Beach House's beautiful discography has been lately critiqued as redundant, however, especially with their latest effort, Depression Cherry. Although I thouroghly enjoyed Depression Cherry, it is inarguable that there is extreme redundancy within the Dream Pop genre. That is where Jennie Lahlum and Christopher Williams (known as Warehouse Eyes), upcoming Minnesota Dream Poppers are so important in today's climate. Their fusion of dreamy yet overtly electronic grooving music offers an intersting take on the Dream Pop formula that creates hope for them as a band, and for lovers of the genre.
We got a chance to speak about their debut EP Prisms, check it out below!
Who is “Warehouse Eyes”. Tell us each some things about yourselves, how you met, and how this project came about.
Jennie and I are both lifelong musicians who took a long time to find where we belong. We both went to music school (different music schools) and meandered musically through our early 20s. When Jennie moved to Minneapolis from Chicago we started playing together and this project has gradually become more serious and more specific. Now it basically consumes our lives.
After listening to “Prisms” I was very impressed with the work as a whole, could you name some of your influences? I caught certain references, for example at the end of “The Same Dream” it’s kind of like the drums on Radiohead’s “Airbag” meet Tame Impala’s synths. I know you listed Patti Smith, John Darnielle and Bob Dylan as some of your main inspirations, what elements do you guys consciously draw from them in your own music?
I love the Airbag thought! I don’t think that was a specific reference, but we do love us some Radiohead. Especially love the sporadic bass on that song. Actually, if there was a specific reference in that spot of the Same Dream it was Earthquake Weather, Beck. We were trying to make a wordless bridge that really dug in rhythmically, and that was an example we were using.
We reference really poetic lyricists like John Darnielle and Patti Smith in our bio because we feel like our combination of those types of lyrical influences and electronic music is unusual. Even with live drums and guitar we’re still thinking very electronically, and what we’re trying to use is the philosophy of intensive tone design and part writing but combining it with more traditional lyric-based songs. We still haven’t figured out exactly how to talk about our songs, but we feel very strongly that they are still songs that work when you strip away all of the tones and arrangement that is so important to what we do.
Describe your songwriting process? Who writes the music/lyrics? - Does “Prisms" have a lyrical or musical theme?
This is changing all the time. Early on in this band it was only me writing, but gradually the balance has been moving toward more and more Jennie. I’ve been writing a lot longer than she has, and as this band has gotten more serious, she’s been finding her voice gradually and thoughtfully. Lyrically and melodically, both Drive and Smoke off of Prisms are co-written. In a more general sense, the songwriting process is changing all the time. It feels like writing songs is getting harder the more I write, so I’m always trying to change elements of what I do to get different results. I always know the feeling I’m looking for, and whatever angle (lyrics first, band improv first, specific synth sound first, etc.) I’m running from, I always know the feeling I want.
Who produced “Prisms”? Tell us a bit about the production process; i.e. where/when it was recorded, who mixed/mastered/recorded certain instruments.
Twin Cities producer extraordinaire Lance Conrad produced and mixed Prisms. All of the work was done at his studio in NE Minneapolis called Humans Win! We underwent a fairly significant change over the course of recording this new EP and he was great during that process. We took a long time to make five songs.
“Warehouse Eyes”, is mainly you two — Jennie and Christopher — however, you guys do often play with a five-piece set up including Kevin Scott (bass), Matt Vannelli (guitar) and Alex Young (drums). Do they ever inspire you musically or have any hand in the actual writing and recording of “Warehouse Eyes” songs, or are they more functional players helping you achieve a live sound. Furthermore, how different is your live sound from the recorded material? Do you guys make a conscious effort to play as close to the recording as possible, or do you open up jams?
This is another aspect that is changing all the time, the role of the other guys in the band. They are definitely not just players who flesh out the live sound. Everyone in the band is a really great player, but more than that, are thoughtful and care deeply about music as a whole. They all think a band, which is all I ever look for in a player. They were especially instrumental to the creation of I Think I Can Live With It and Smoke. I wouldn’t have made those parts on my own.
Live sound is pretty much like the record for us. We don’t use tracks but we like all of our parts so we strive to execute them live. We’re not very jammy but we do have some specific live moments we’ve created.
Where do you see yourself in 5 years? Tell us a bit about the future of “Warehouse Eyes”, what are your dreams/aspirations with the project?
Touring the world baby. We’d love to settle into an album cycle, and have the freedom to try some very different musical projects. We have yet to make a full-length and I would love to have the artistic experience of that. As long as we have the freedom to make the best songs we can and still take our time while we make coffee I’ll be happy.
Album: Me by Empress Of
"I’ve been trying to listen to most every album that comes out in 2015 and this is the first one that I wish I had made."
Song: You Get What You Give by New Radicals
"I know your readers probably already know this song, but listen to it right now. Have a dance party right here. This song makes me so fucking happy."
Album: The Noise Made By the People by Broadcast
"One of the first alternative pop bands that hooked me growing up. The haunting melodies and subtle use of electronic elements with live instruments changed my world as a young teenager."
Song: Green & Gold by Lianne la Havas
"So much groove. Listen to it on a long walk whle you still have some summer left."
Follow Warehouse Eyes online