All Eyes Closed
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All Eyes Closed

Austin, Texas, United States | SELF

Austin, Texas, United States | SELF
Band Alternative Rock

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"Meet the Band: An Interview with All Eyes Closed"

Meet the Band: An interview with All Eyes Closed
Posted on February 17, 2014
All Eyes Closed
Jesse, Calvin & Arthur

A few weeks ago I went to a show where I was hoping to see three local bands who I had been wanting to see. How often do three bands you’re trying to see play in one place? Great, right? Unfortunately (in hindsight, fortunately) one of the bands couldn’t make it and was replaced by All Eyes Closed.

As the three-piece-band took the stage with their instruments, I leaned over and complained to my friend that I had forgotten my ear plugs. I assumed that a long-haired lead singer meant head banging noise and screaming lyrics.

As the group began to play, my attention shifted from my phone (probably checking Facebook) to the stage. The first song at least sounded decent enough, so I decided to give them a chance. As their set progressed, I noticed that each of the songs was written with sentiment and took the audience on an emotional experience.

Things aren’t always what they appear to be. Lesson learned.

This week, I sat down with the three guys and hear their story and the discover some of the passion behind their music.

Brothers Calvin and Jesse Hughes—lead singer/guitarist and drummer/back-up singer, respectively— grew up on a large dairy farm in New Hampshire where they spent their little free time discovering a deep passion for music.

“The various classes and lessons my mom forced us to take from Skiing to German to probably Yoga probably had a 96% failure rate. And though we only spent 2 days in music lessons, we came out wanting to write and play our own music,” Jesse said.

So, at age 14 and 12, they started a band: The Headaches.

The band name, he said, was partly due to their early punk sound, though they quickly realized that not only did they not technically play punk music but the name lent itself easily to jokes.

“A lot of people thought it was clever to tell us after shows that we gave them a headache or when we’d tell someone our band name, they’d ask if our music gave people headaches, so it just seemed wise to get rid of the Headaches moniker,” Calvin explained.

Calvin, the band’s lyricist, guitarist and lead singer began to write songs on his
guitar that were influenced by life experiences, whether his own or another’s.

“I find it easier to write in the first person and I think a lot of times it can make the song more meaningful without sounding preachy,” he explained.

Soon, the brothers decided to get serious with their music, renaming the band “All Eyes Closed and moving to Seattle in 2010. After spending over two years in Seattle and on the road, they finally arrived in Austin, where they met their current bassist, Arthur Ihde, through mutual friends.


Arthur had moved to Austin at the beginning of 2012 as well with the same pursuit of playing music. Although, the brothers hadn’t been actively searching for a bass player, they had been missing their third member who had not made his way to Texas with them.

Arthur had never played the bass before, but his familiarity with the guitar and music in general turned him quickly into not just a jam-buddy, but a permanent member of All Eyes Closed.

Toward the end of 2013 the three found themselves in a studio recording their first full length album- Weathering the Fall.

The album is dedicated to the Hughes brothers’ father who passed away in July of 2013. Much of the album, and especially the title song, was written during a tumultuous time, something that is evident in the music and lyrics.

“I think they were both working through their father’s passing in different ways and it was just straining on their relationship,” said Arthur.
All three members shared stories about Mr. Raymond Hughes, who was supportive from day one.

“He wasn’t afraid of anything, except me beating him up,” Calvin reminisced. “He always encouraged us in everything we did instead of pushing us into something we disliked.”

“He instilled a great work ethic in us and I’m thankful for the wide array of things he taught us from roofing barns to proper grammar,” Jesse said.

While the band has been through a lot over the last year, all three agree that being close friend (and in Calvin and Arthur’s case, roommates as well) is beneficial to the band in numerous ways. Much of their time outside of practice is spent together playing ping pong, going to shows together, etc.

“Practicing together is incredibly fun 98% of the time,” Arthur said. “I mean, we’re hanging out, we’re playing and creating music we believe in, and we are having fun afterward doing whatever.”

Q&A

When is your next show:

Thursday, Feb. 20th at the Scoot Inn in Austin.

Where was your album recorded?

We recorded it at Dream Harbor Studios, which is owned and run by our great friend and incredibly talented musician and producer, Chris McCollum.

Any embarrassing moments from your show?

Telling jokes that don’t land.

Who are you influenced by?

Modest Mouse, the first two or three albums by Kings of Leon, Pinback, Ben Howard, Lights from Space.

What’s one of your favorite memories about your dad?

In 1998, he took us and my older brother around the United States going to skateboard parks. We weren’t even teenagers so spending the entire summer skateboarding in almost every state, it was a dream. He documented the whole excursion in pictures and eventually finished a book about it.

Who writes the songs?

Calvin is the principal songwriter, though all three of us collaborate and input our own creativity into each composition.

Check out the band’s facebook page and music here:
www.facebook.com/alleyesclosed
bandcamp.alleyesclosed.com - Austin Music Box


Discography

The Royal Crest EP (2012)
Our Place (2012)-1st Single of The Royal Crest EP

Photos

Bio

Originally comprised of two brothers Calvin and Jesse Hughes, All Eyes Closed began forming their sound while growing up on a farm in a small New Hampshire town. After a 3 year hiatus due to Calvin attending the University of Colorado in Boulder, while Jesse was still in high school, the two reunited after Calvin transferred to the University of New Hampshire. After playing various venues throughout New England and realizing music was their main focus, the two headed west to Seattle in the summer of 2010 to get a taste of the music world. They soon became regulars on the local circuit, sharing stages with some of the best bands in the northwest area, including Lights from Space. After two years in Seattle and the addition of bassist Jonathan Nelson, their sound evolved and diversified, as they deftly united the raw, grunge rock sound with the cleaner, indie rock stylings. After the amicable departure of their bassist, the brothers spent a month on the road at the end of 2011 followed by a month holed up at home on the farm working on new material before making their way to Austin, TX on March 1st, 2012. Within a few months playing shows around Austin, they met Arthur Ihde who immediately became their permanent bass player. Their Royal Crest EP was then recorded in November, 2012 featuring the single "Our Place." Another single (and subsequent music video) "Fishies" followed 3 months later. Finally, after countless time spent playing shows and practicing non-stop, they recorded their full length album "Weathering the Fall" at the end of 2013, an album dedicated to the memory of the brother's dad and biggest supported (aside from their mom) Raymond Eugene Hughes who suddenly became sick in March, 2013 before succumbing to metastatic kidney cancer that spread quickly to his brain at the end of July, 2013. 

Band Members