Vampire Freaks. Interview with Rusty Eye

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Interview with Rusty Eye
Interview with Rusty Eye
By Rafi

It is at times really frustrating to see bands still relying on labels to get creative on how to distribute their music. That is not the case with young up start Rusty Eye. They have spent the past fourteen years perfecting the DIY approach to getting your attention.

Having built one of the most interesting websites I have seen in some time, incorporating a visual transport into the band’s world. For once you can not only see their raw rock/metal aggression but witness it visually. I sat down with curiosity in mind, to ask their drummer Miss Randall about the band’s creation, work, and future

Rafi: To better introduce you to our VampireFreaks’ readers, how did this trio come together?

Miss Randall: The band was formed in 1995 by the bass player Mr. Rust, under a different lineup. He recorded the album ‘Rust and Roll’. The band was then based out of Mexico City where we met in mid-2002, but I didn’t know how to play drums yet, I was just a fan. They were looking for a new drummer so I told them that I would learn in order to join them (they thought I was crazy). Within six months I learned how to do it and auditioned again, and I got the gig. After I graduated from High School, Mr. Rust and I moved to L.A. (sans guitarist, he left the band right before we moved). We’ve had a couple guitarists here in LA, since 2006 we went steady with current guitarist Baron Murtland, recording “Stendhal Syndrome”, “Live at the Joint MMVI”, Circus of Power’s cover of “Mama Tequila” and our latest, “Possessor”.

Rafi: What was it like to have a band in Mexico City?

Miss Randall: It is pretty tough, especially for us being an American band based out of Mexico City. Out there you have to sing in Spanish in order to be played on the radio. Plenty of people told us that we needed to sing in Spanish, and we always said no, we wanted to make our message universal.

Rafi: How different is the metal scene between the States and Mexico?

Miss Randall: Some of the resources you have here in America as a band you simply don’t have down there, they are years behind. For example, when we recorded what was going to be our 2nd album at the end of 2003 (previously entitled “An Elegant Bloodbath”, for which we only have the demo rough mix), we had to back up everything on DVDs rather than an external hard drive (we had one but exclusively for music collection and web/graphic design backup). Thing is out there everything is so much more expensive, so it wasn’t the usual to have many of these (lesson learned: DVDs were poorly recorded and the session got deleted at the studio where we recorded…). So to be in a band down there, you better be ready to afford equipment which is more expensive to find and difficult.

But the good thing about Mexico is that the word of mouth is very important, the fans are very dedicated. One of the main reasons why I joined this band was because of its word of mouth. European and Foreign bands usually hit Mexico and South America before hitting the States, because it’s cheaper to tour and the underground metal heads are avid and passionate followers. It’s also different down there because there are only a few independent labels. When we left in 2004, there were hardly any independent labels that would support a band like us. If you really want to be signed big, you have to be like ‘Rock en Espanol’. The only way we were going to spread our message better was moving to L.A. (and we lucked out because of being U.S. citizens as well, which is rare).

So as for the L.A. scene goes, I was going to Recording School and I was working at The Whiskey at night. I got to really see how the metal scene rolled since the beginning, and one funny thing I noticed was that a lot of local American metal bands were stuck in the ’90’s. It is weird, one would guess that this scene would be much more evolved. It has gotten better nowadays. As for European bands in the U.S., it’s hard for these bands to have good tours, which frustrates me a little because I like them more. Well, there is always Mexico and down the border.. where they are welcome with open arms.

Rafi: I noticed a lot of imagery, and that the names and context of a lot of the songs came from horror movies and the horror genre. Is that the premise of the band? A horror band?

Miss Randall: For this album it became a little bit more obvious. We just wanted to make it full on shocking and have all the songs related to horror elements. We consider horror movies a musical influence too. I’m not saying that we’re a horror band like Gwar, but it’s definitely one of the elements in terms of inspiration. You never know, maybe the next album will be different. Just because it’s an influence, doesn’t mean it defines our style.

Rafi: The one thing that I love the most is the website, it’s very well done. As I understand it, Rust came up with the idea of having it so everyone can not only hear the music, but they get to see each individual person playing it at the same time. How did he come up with that idea? Does it make it a little more nerve wrecking to have a camera on you the entire time you’re playing music?

Miss Randall: (Laughs) Yeah it was a challenge to fulfill. Playing with cameras does make you nervous, but we are used to document everything we can when it comes to shows and behind the scenes stuff. This time around, we had more than six cameras surrounding each member completing a 360 degree circle. It was a challenge, but I guess if you can surpass those things it helps make you more confident. I think of it as a test that I had to pass. Mr. Rust came up with the idea actually. He’s a graphic designer, so he designed the website as well. The cameras were placed and directed by Mr. Cannibal’s director Alejandro Ordonez. I helped editing all of the videos, learning how to use Final Cut. It was something crazy like 38 hours of footage to edit and piece together. That’s Metal.

Rafi: While you guys are signed to Century Media, it seems like you still take a very D.I.Y approach. Do you think that it keeps the sincerity of the band in that everything is coming straight from you to the fans?

Miss Randall: We’re not actually signed by Century Media. We do have a consignment deal with their CM Distro Online. The current situation with the music industry has forced us to work more on our side to improve the presentation of our product, so we created our own D.I.Y. branding which is Epoche Records. We all add our own personal skills to present our product in a professional way, without having to outsource services. For example, I went to recording school, Mr. Rust to Graphic Design school and Music Business. We also just got a consignment deal with Best Buy with a lot of locations around the country, we are already on iTunes, and Cd Baby, and of course you can buy the CD’s at our shows. People also get the wrong idea, thinking we want to stay D.I.Y. forever. The reality is that we would really like to have the push that a label would give us. I guess we just need somebody with whom we can share our vision without fully compromising who we are.

Rafi: What do you think is the most challenging part of being in a band with the way the music industry is right now?

Miss Randall: One of the most challenging things is to appear professional enough to all of our potential listeners so that they don’t confuse us with the garage band that just formed two months ago. We want to come off as a quality band, and the fact that we have been doing it for awhile really shows. Some people believe that if you’re independent you suck before they listen to you, so once they break that prejudiced point of view, their whole perception changes. People in L.A. are into their own thing, their own world, and it’s really hard to break that shell. Once they are possessed, it all goes downhill though…

Rafi: Lastly, but most important, where would you like to see the band ten years from now?

Miss Randall: I really hope to be covering more ground, other continents, not just other countries. I’d like to have more records out and about. Definitely keep evolving, improve how we play, how we make songs, and just keep utilizing new technologies in our live production.

Check out Rusty Eye’s Official Page

Check out Rusty Eye on VampireFreaks

posted by Deathwish

Interview with Rusty Eye
By Rafi