helios eye
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helios eye

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Artist:
Helios Eye

Title:
Lillian Driver

Label:
None

Relase Date:
February 2008 by Kellie Abrahamson



Lo-fi locals Helios Eye nearly broke my heart last month when they announced via their MySpace that they were calling it quits. Thankfully they came to their senses a couple days later and reunited. The guys wasted no time getting the band back on track and less than a week after their sudden departure and swift resurrection, they revealed they had some new material to share.
Their latest DIY release, Lillian Driver, is a three-track single that is something of a departure for the band, who until now have relied heavily on acoustic guitars to drive their psychedelic Americana sound. The boys go (somewhat) electric this time around and it works incredibly well. Each song is completely original and has something special to offer, both musically and lyrically. The title track stands out as possibly the best Helios Eye tune to date. The song is infectious; its chorus has been playing in a constant loop in my head since I first heard it.
If this release is just a taste of what's to come from Helios Eye, expect to be hearing a lot more about them in the near future. The guys really seem to be coming into their own and it won't be long before people will start to take notice. The Lillian Driver single will be available on CD and 7 inch at the end of February. In the meantime, you can currently hear the entire release on their MySpace at www.myspace.com/eyehelios, which also has some of their older songs and a listing of their upcoming shows.

- E.U. MAGAZINE


all you need is love
interview with Helios Eye
by erin thursby scopes1925@msn.com

What: Helios Eye
When: October 28th
Where: Yesterdays

Looking for new sound in the Jacksonville scene? Then take a listen to Helios Eye. With their near-acoustic psychedelic sound and ironic but upbeat harmonies, they caught my attention when I trolled their MySpace page (myspace.com/eyehelios).
These guys are very DIY (Do-It-Yourself), but it's more from necessity than anything else. Still, their unique press kit, which includes hand-drawn graphics and strange objects (mine had a small doll with a black spot on its nose) has garnered attention, gaining them a listen when they would otherwise fade into a sea of all those CDs that land on an album reviewer's desk. They don't like to be put in a category of music, but when pressed they answered with "psychedelic-folk-punk-pop."
The band includes Kevin Newberry (vocals, guitar) Ryan Ferrall (guitar, vocals, producer) Zach Elliott (guitars, vocals, keyboards) Jeffery Elliott (percussion, vocals).


EU: I must ask you about your legendary press kit. How did you come up with that idea?
Kevin: Just out of necessity, you know, money. We did what we could do with the materials that we could come up with. So half of our stuff is stolen from lawyer's offices…Actually when we sent it we weren't even trying to send out a press kit. We were just trying to send out our music to be heard.


EU: People think of you as an acoustic band. What do you guys say to that?
Zack: You can't blame them, because we were an acoustic band 'cause we didn't have any equipment. So we would just show up in place with our guitars and…play. We didn't used to use mics or anything; we just played. I'm sure that's the way most people have seen us. Recently we got more gear and stuff.
Kevin: It started off with three guitars, a banjo and we had a mandolin…for a long time we still were doing acoustic guitars but we wanted to grow as far as our sound.
Jeff: We had a lot of fans who were just interested in us, probably because we were an acoustic based band and…
Ryan: We yelled a lot.
Kevin: And the antics.
Jeff: There were a lot of drunken antics.
Kevin: There used to be shenanigans.
Zack: We would usually be screaming little more.
Jeff: It's not about that...
Zack: I mean, we didn't have microphones.
Jeff: We have pretty voices and we like people to hear our pretty voices.


EU: All of you guys sing, right?
Jeff: We've…been referred to by other people as almost like a dirty version of the Beach Boys…We may not have spectacular voices but when they blend together it's like this…Crosby Stills Nash & Young kind of vibe. Love and togetherness…
Kevin: It's actually a crucial part of our sound that everybody sings…It's weird for me if I'm singing and they aren't there.


EU: So, you recorded everything for your album in a kitchen?
Ryan: No.


EU: Some in the bathroom?
Jeff: In a shed.
Kevin: Hallways.
Jeff: Houses in suburbia.
Zack: We've never been in an actual studio.


EU: If you did a studio production of an album, do you think it would ruin what's so special about your sound?
Jeff: If we were dealing with it, we'd be fine.
Kevin: As long as we're in control, no studio could screw it up, change what we are…It'll be nice to put out a record where someone else is paying for it, but until then, I can't see wasting a thousand dollars…all of our friends, between everyone we know, have all of the equipment we need to do it, cheap and good.
Zack: We can do it as many times as we want. In a studio we'd have to pay for the time.
Kevin: No pressure, you know.
Jeff: It's kind of a communal thing in a way, which is good.
Zack: But no, I don't think it would ruin our sound at all, it would probably make it more interesting.
Kevin: Except for the fact that it would cost way more money. And when you're in a studio, that's what you're thinking of: 'I'm paying twenty-five dollars an hour' instead of focusing on what you're creating.


EU: So how would you guys define yourselves?
Kevin: We're not an acoustic band and we're not an electric band. We're just a band…
Jeff: Don't stick us in a category.
Kevin: There's no category you can stick us in. We love everybody.
Jeff: It's all about love. You've gotta have love.


EU: The Beatles said something like that, at some point.
Kevin: (laughs) Something like that.
Jeff: We're just trying to bring back 1967.


EU: That exact year?
Jeff: It's the era of psychedelic music. There was less bullsh*t, like greediness and avarice.

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- E.U magazines


THE ANATOMY OF A PROMO PACK
FOILO WEEKLY JULY 24 2007

The press kit
It's a bands connection to all important mass media outlets, a foot-in-the-door at venues when booking gigs, a statement on the bands creativity. At Folio Weekly, we get a lot of press kits.
Frankly most are snoozers-Duo –tang folders filled with too many press clippings, a photo of the band, a demo or full length cd, and a gushing cover letter.
Jacksonville's Helios Eye did things a little differently with their new indie release "A Buffoon is a Genius".Heres what the pack included:
THE CDs
Hand drawn frowning dead ghost decorate a five song cd.Titles are hand written in blue ballpoint pen and the title of the record "Swan dives off a short pier"curls around the top. No cd cover or insert to speak of. For the main CD release more of the same. Two hand drawn dead guys hover over the words "The Karmic Debt of the Bugs we step on".
No cd insert just a yellow paper sleeve.
This cd is house in a manila envelope with a photocopy of the band pasted on the front.
The JPEG CD:
A 7 inch by 7 inch card board container-decorated with a hand drawn, eyeball less boy and mouse sitting on a branch, above them are printed the words… "A Buffoon is a Genius"-houses a smaller, cd sized container which contains a cd of "band pics …maybe".
Stick figures depict the band .On the back: A dead guy carrying a briefcase stands next to a rat .The word "rat" hovers above him.
THE COVER LETTER:We quote:
Hello, we hand write every letter ourselves to ensure the product you get is the mother fucker(we mean that in a good way)."A track listing before the sign off,
Love, Helios Eye."
THE SCRAPBOOK:
The eyeball less boy and mouse on the branch make another appearance on the cover of this makeshift book. Black shoe laces hold together the pages-nine or 10 of them- which feature paintings, drawings, poems and other crazy stuff. A band photo collage and album credits also appear.
THE MUSIC:
Americana, lo-fi with hints of southern gothic and country. Lazy and dark. Oddly beautiful. Fans of electric music stay the hell away. John E. Citrone –jcitrone@folioweekly.com
THIS ARTICLE APPEARED IN THE JULY 24TH ISSUE OF FOLIO WEEKLY - folio weekly


HELIOS EYE review by Curtis Burnash

This is where music is today. Helios are the open arms of rock and roll. They invite you, feed you and play serene compositions in your ear. When they are done, they give you sweaty hugs.

Opening with Ghosts in the Street. Theres no doubt singer Kevin Newberry has seen a true apparition once or twice, whether it comes in the form of a numb wandering myth or a shrivel armed zombie....
the melody is almost enough to push aside the warning and haunting message the eye is delivering.

The favorite song was Vampire. This song sticks with me like a fleeting feeling. an emotion vaguely felt but never forgotten. I remember lyrics like "I watched your belly get big", "I re-think all the things I have done","slept in parking lots"....There are pictures of an authors life that accompany these words. Helios Eye not only takes you in with hospitality but they share with you intimacies from their very souls.These are the things that stick with a person.

Helios Eye screams. They harmonize. The keyboard is loud as hell. literal hell. The percussion is precise and intimately felt.
When Ryan plays the bass, he plays as if the song is his baby. He strums 2 or 4 strings, runs up and down the neck, twists his face with manipulation and violently, eager delight.

After the show they can be seen mingling by their merchandise table. The merchandise consists of homemade t-shirts that say "helios eye loves you", homemade photo-mags of the band, homemade singles, eps, lps and greatest hits. its all original artwork and good artwork at that. This is a band who cares about what they do. They work for it. They put energy into it and get energy out of it.
GO SEE THIS BAND.

- Curtis Burnash


Discography

LP-The karmic debt of the bugs we step on -2005
EP-Swan dives off a short pier-2006
LP-A buffoon is a genius-2007
LP-Tarradiddle-2008
single- Lillian Driver-2008
The new single is up on myspace/eyehelios.com
along with older tracks.

Photos

Bio

It feels like some cross between a Sam Beam (of Iron & Wine) and Kurt Cobain demo tape made today. It has the folksiness of Sam Beam, especially with the banjo, with the raw emotional writing of Cobain at his best. The lyrics are decidedly dark with things like "there are sections of I-95 that make you want to take your own life." The flipside is that when Kevin, the man behind Helios, turns manic it's incredible. Even the darkest lyrics have some sunshine line as everyone screams along, "and I feel sooo dirty!" There's one song with particularly poignant lyrics that they closed with that I can't recall the words too, especially since my iPod is out of service and unfortunately I can't pull it up 'cause someone spilled coffee on the iPod (props to iPodResQ, btw, for fixing it fast and cheap). Stop into Inertia Books & Records and pick up his album "The Karmic Debt of the Bugs We Step On." Lo-Fi at it's finest, it was recorded in a Riverside kitchen and has the same acoustics of singing in your shower. It even comes with a handwritten letter to YOU, the consumer.