Meet The Band: Eerie

Tee Pee Records
Tee Pee Records

The Bay Area group Eerie just released their self-titled debut album. They are in the spotlight of this week’s Meet The Band. Bassist Dave Sweetapple, drummer Moses Saarni and guitarist Tim Lehi introduce us to Eerie.

Chad Bowar: Give us a brief history of Eerie.

Dave Sweetapple: Tim (Lehi, guitarist) and I had been talking about doing a band for a while, after we played together on the Vardlokk single with Grutle from Enslaved. Then, he and Moe got together and started jamming on a few riffs. They sent the demo to me and I figured out the bass parts for it. Then, Shane (Baker, vocals) came on board after the basics were recorded and added vocals.

Moses Saarni: Eerie started out with just Tim Lehi and I, about four years ago.  I used to work for Tim as the shop dude/counter help at his tattoo shop in San Francisco. We had similar taste and ideas about music, so one day we started jamming.

Eventually, Dave Sweetapple became interested in the project and we started getting serious about making the record. We’d already recorded all the music, and all we needed after that was vocals. I’ve known Shane Baker for years through the Bay Area music scene, so I asked him if he’d be into singing on the tracks we’d written and he agreed. So, Eerie was formed.

Describe the songwriting and recording process of your self-titled album.

Sweetapple: Tim came up with each of the main riffs and we then expanded on those. Tim, Moe and I went into Earhammer Studios in Oakland and recorded all the basics without having a vocalist. Once the basics were recorded, we gave them to Shane and he wrote lyrics. Then we all went back into the studio a few months later to add those and do overdubs.

Saarni: Tim and I worked on a lot of songs for about two years before arriving at the sound of the Eerie record.  At first, we wrote fast blackened thrash songs sort of like Aura Noir. We wrote grindcore songs sometimes. We even would play bluesy rock and roll sometimes. Tim is basically a riff factory. I would organize Tim’s riffs and structure them into songs, no matter what the genre.

When Dave Sweetapple became interested in contributing to this project, we decided to focus on a specific sound and try to make a cohesive record.  We really wanted to create a sound that didn’t necessarily fit into any set genre. Tim and I had to be free to write the types of parts that we wanted to write, regardless of style or genre.

Tim and I had five songs that fit the Eerie vibe.  We got those songs tight and sent Dave a demo. A little while later he flew out to San Francisco. We practiced for a couple days and then went to record the songs with Greg Wilkinson at Earhammer studios in Oakland. Dave brought a whole other dimension to the Eerie sound with his melodic approach to the songs.

The songs were finished and recorded for about a year with no vocals until we got Shane Baker to sing. We practiced a couple of times, and that was all it took. It just clicked. Shane really made the songs sound complete and really helped make them sound unique. We then went back to Earhammer, recorded the vocals, added some more guitar texture, mixed it, and the Eerie record was done.  It took almost two years to make.

How would you characterize the album’s style/sound?

Tim Lehi: Wounded and slowly getting angry,’tll rampaging. That, mixed with sadness and pain.

Do you have plans to play live shows?

Sweetapple: Yes. We will start with a west coast tour in the fall and then an east coast run in the spring of 2017, with some European dates to follow.

Who are your musical heroes?

Lehi: Personally, that’s a question I can’t even begin to answer. Usually, but not always, they’re guitarists.

Sweetapple: As a band, we are all over the place with heroes. For me, it always goes back to classic rock and hard rock. Ace Frehley, Lemmy, Geddy Lee and Jimmy Pursey.

What are some of your non-musical interests and hobbies?

Lehi: Making art. Visual art using most kinds of mediums and of course tattooing, my main job.

Sweetapple: Fixing the old Land Rover, shooting guns, collecting records, records, and more records.

What’s your all-time favorite album or albums?

Lehi: Again, with every mood or moment this would change, for me. At times, I’ll obsess over one artist for several days, and then put it to sleep a few months later, before coming back to it.

Sweetapple: I’m into so much music so it’s hard to pinpoint one particular record. I’ll throw out a few that are sitting next to my turntable: UFO – Force It, Enslaved – Eld, Midnight – Satanic Royalty and April Wine – First Glance.

Anything else you’d like to mention/plug/promote?

Lehi: Just thanks to those who helped get this record done (they know who they are!). Thanks for checking out the weirdness that is Eerie!

(interview published August 6, 2016)

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