The Minneapolis duo known as Warehouse Eyes are off to a hot start since their first release last year. Crafting their own style of dreamy Indie pop, Jennie Lawless and Christopher Williams have us hooked with their newest EP, ‘Prisms’. The perfect soundtrack for a summer day, Warehouse Eyes have mastered the ability to melt hearts with their balance of haunting vocals, sublime melodies and alternative riffs. Though they’re currently touring the East coast, it won’t be long before we can catch Warehouse Eyes in the flesh. Often accompanied by a live band in their most recent performances, you can check out their full list of dates here. We had the chance to pick their brains on everything from their current tour, their new EP, and why Star Trek truly makes the perfect world.
Compose Yourself Mag: Your journey as Warehouse Eyes began with the release of your first EP in 2014, called ‘Carvings’. How have things been going for you since then?
Christopher Williams: Gradually this project has taken over our lives. We were very casual when Carvings was released, only playing locally and working very slowly on recordings. We just kept putting more chips on the table as we started to understand more clearly what Warehouse Eyes is and how interested we are in exploring that further. We changed personnel, getting a new guitar player and drummer (at least on the recordings), delved even further into electronic manipulation, and worked our butts off on this EP. We love the songs and sounds we came out with, but we took forever to make it. Now we’re hitting the road honing our stagecraft and seeing cities and bands and audiences everywhere, mostly around the Midwest. Trying to figure out how to be cool.
CYM: Have there been any festivals, venues or cities in particular you’ve enjoyed performing at?
Chris: This year has been our first foray into touring so the list is short so far.
Jennie Lawless: Slim’s in Raleigh treated us so well: the audience, the bands, & the kind folks running the venue. New York was sweet too: Union Hall in Brooklyn was fine as hell, and we loved playing for Little Water Radio in NYC. Also cherished Nashville for this excellent band we played with called Copper Fox.
CYM: Explain the concept behind your newest release, titled ‘Prisms’.
Chris: This wasn’t the kind of EP that had a concept to begin with. We had songs that we intuitively felt belonged together. They were the first tunes we worked up with our new guitar player and drummer, Matt and Alex, and after the fact we found this theme that tied them together – using the language of love and heartbreak to talk about other feelings that are less accessible. For instance, “Drive” is a song that’s about teenage love, that special feeling of being next to someone you love in a car, but it’s also about what it means to mold yourself around someone and because of someone, and I think that second thing is less about love and more about what it means to change.
CYM: Jennie, how long have you been singing? Tell us how you first began your career as a vocalist. Christopher, tell us about your history with synthesizers. When did you initially gain interest in producing?
Jennie: I’ve been singing since I could speak. Used to make up little ditties in the car on roadtrips with my family and they still remember this song I made up somewhere in Idaho when I was 3: “trenamenapika, a-pika,” language unknown. I’d say I got serious about my vocal career after college when I realized I had to make money doing it or sell my soul doing something I liked much less.
Chris: I’m a piano player who hates the piano. My good friend Ben Greenwald had this Moog Prodigy from his dad that we started using. It didn’t have any capability of saving sounds, so I had to learn to design sounds on the fly. From there it was a steep tumble into the land of analog synths, production and now sample manipulation. I think it’s only going to get worse. I’m starting to build synthesizers.
CYM: If you could live in any fictional world (video game, cartoon, fantasy/sci fi, etc) which would it be and why? Don’t be afraid to get creative with it!
Jennie: In the fictional future of progressive values where Star Trek takes place. In that world they seem to have solved most of today’s social issues – systemic racism, gender & sexuality inequality, lack of contact with aliens… And because space travel!
Chris: I’m not going to admit how much I like Star Trek here, but the answer would definitely be Star Trek. I think in the process of living and creating art (or anything for that matter) it’s really easy to get bogged down with cynicism, and the world of Star Trek is just so hopeful about the future of humanity. It has the idea that we are getting better and will get better, not just in terms of the amazing things our phones can do, but in terms of how we interact with the world.
Also, yeah, space. If anyone reading this has a way to get there let us know cause that’s really our priority right now.
CYM: Favorite ways to kill time on tour?
Jennie: Memorizing state capitals, provinces in Canada, names of countries in other continents. Being on the road gets us amped about geography.
Chris: Jennie practices guitar! I’m trying to listen to every album that comes out in 2015 and forcing Jennie to enroll in that.
CYM: What’s an album that has greatly influenced you that people may not think of based on your sound?
Jennie: Songs of Leonard Cohen. Leonard Cohen is an artist who’s always inspired us lyrically, but one song particularly off this album, Suzanne, we wanted to dig into specifically for inspiration. One night we turned off all the lights in Chris’ studio, laid on the floor, and listened to the song on repeat probably fifteen times. It didn’t get old. I’d do it right now.
CYM: Last but not least, what can we expect from Warehouse Eyes throughout the rest of 2015?
Jennie: New music video for our song, The Same Dream, more tour dates early next year, full-length album next year, we’re doing everything.
Chris: We’re also going to do at least two super dumb things that you might think are cool.