Big Eyes’ Kate Eldridge on their new album, “Almost Famous”

big eyes band header
We’ve been big backers of Big Eyes for a good long while, going back to their debut 7-inch on Evil Weevil. Since they first released that collection of demos, the garage-pop trio has toured the country, released a slew of amazing split releases, and are now getting ready to release their second full-length LP on Grave Mistake Records, entitled Almost Famous. Frontwoman and guitarist Kate Eldridge spoke with us via e-mail about the new LP, touring, and more.

BigEyes_AlmostFamous_4pOutThe new album, Almost Famous, is different from your debut, Hard Life, in that it’s all previously-unreleased material, aside from “Half the Time.” Was Hard Life re-recorded versions of prior singles for a reason?

Hard Life had two songs from a limited edition single (“Why Can’t I” and “Your Lies”), which was released as a teaser for the LP. The album also featured one song off our demo, “Since You Left.” Almost Famous has a song from the demo as well, “You Aint The Only One Who’s Lonely” as well as 2 songs from 2 different splits we did earlier this year, “Losing Touch” off our split with Mean Jeans (on Dirtnap Records) and “Half the Time” off our split with Audacity (on Volar Records).

Before you released Almost Famous, you re-released your first 7-inch, which was a demo. Was the idea to show people how far you’ve come in such a short amount of time?

We didn’t really think it out too much, that record just hasn’t been available in over a year and we finally got around to getting it repressed. Thanks for the compliment though, I never thought about it like that. 🙂

BigEyes_Posed02What jumped out to me on first listen to Almost Famous was that your guitar tone seemed to be much thicker than before. Is this from a change in production, or equipment?

Both. About a year ago I started using an SG as my main guitar instead of my Mustang. I also use a Marshall 4×12 cab now instead of the Fender 2×12 I used to use. We also put more effort and time into recording Almost Famous. I’m way happier with how the new LP came out.

The whole record, really, just seems to be more rock ‘n’ roll than garage rock. It’s like you took a lot musically from the likes of the New York Dolls, giving everything some heft in the low end. How do you get to a stomper like “The Sun Still Shines”?

It’s hard for me to pinpoint why or how my writing style changes. I’ve been listening to a ton of Blue Oyster Cult, Kiss and Alice Cooper in the last year or so, so I feel like the new LP has more of a hard rock edge than Hard Life.

That yelped “LOSING TOUCH!” early on in “Losing Touch” is pretty emotional. Where does that emotional explosion come from?

I don’t want to get too in depth about it, but that song isn’t about a romantic relationship like most of my other songs are. That song is about paranoia and mental illness.

What prompted the move from East to West Coast (well, so much as Seattle can be considered West Coast)?

I spent my whole life in NY and wanted to get a change of scenery. I first visited Seattle in 2009 and was always drawn to it, so I made the move. It’s much easier to have a full time band out here. New York is too expensive.

Big Eyes is now being feted by the likes of Pitchfork and Brooklyn Vegan. Are you inclined to dismiss so-called hipster websites, or are you glad to have the band out there in front of as many folks as possible?

The more people that get to hear us, the better! You never know who is going to like your band until you put it out there for them.

big eyes tourJudging by the photos on Facebook and Instagram, Big Eyes has a lot of fun on the road. It looks like the band takes advantage of touring to get out and do things, rather than living in a van. Is that the case, or are we just seeing the highlights?

Big Eyes, big fun! Ha ha, we love to tour. It’s not fun all the time, but definitely a lot of the time. The past tour we went on with Criminal Code was one of the funnest tours I’ve ever been on in my life. Great company, very stress free. When we have enough time we like to get out of the van and go swimming, check out parks, mountains, that kind of stuff. In September we went to Disneyland. Fucking ruled.

While you just did a big tour with Audacity that crossed the country, then a short hop down the West Coast with Criminal Code, it seems like you’ve got most of your upcoming shows in Seattle. Why no big summer tour to promote the record?

We are touring for 4 weeks in June, to the east coast. The dates will be announced soon.

Almost Famous comes out May 14, via Grave Mistake. More information about Big Eyes can be found at their website and their Facebook.