EYES EAT SUNS
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At 8:30 a.m. on a Sunday morning, a morning where a respite from the frozen weather has allowed the sun to break down the ice patterns on a car windshield, four young, slightly cynical yet confident musicians are sitting in a Starbucks meeting room mulling over the group’s latest album while simultaneously getting notifications for matches on Tinder. It’s barely two minutes into our introduction before Matthew Fariss, the 25-year-old drummer for Eyes Eat Suns, gets a ping on his phone.
“I got a match,” Fariss said, squinting his morning eyes over his coffee and shielding himself from his bandmate’s laughter.
“Tinder is one of the best ways to promote.
You can just write stuff about your band and people will go look for it,” he added.
An eruption of laughter follows this statement, as do rhetorical accounts of ways to sell albums to the ladies and lads whom you just Tinderized.
But that’s not what Eyes Eat Suns is all about, although in this day and age the rock star lifestyle has become digitized, and with that comes the digital groupies.
Instead, Eyes Eat Suns seems to be focused on advancing their career as musicians, and taking what they are doing seriously, as if this is the last chance and the option for a plan-b is so out of sight that it’s not even worth reaching for binoculars.
The group is comprised of Fariss, vocalist and songwriter Ayisa Adderley, guitarist Cameron Caige Crampshee, and bassist Evan Bryant. Fariss, Crampshee and Bryant all reside in Winston-Salem, spread out around the north side of town and surrounding area, while Adderley lives in Durham.
In the spring or early summer of 2013, after attending the annual punk/rock/ emo-heavy Vans Warped Tour, Adderley approached Crampshee, whom she met while attending UNC-Charlotte, about starting a band.
“The name came before the band,” Adderley said. “I was playing around with words”¦ and came up with Eyes Eat Suns.”
Adderley took the name to Crampshee who liked it, birthing Eyes Eat Suns, a band that wasn’t really a band yet.
With a vocalist and guitarist ready to go, the hunt for the other members was underway. Crampshee knew Fariss through social media, claiming that he is “the social media socialite of Winston-Salem,” and tapped him via the social network for an audition.
“(Crampshee) hit me up on Facebook asking if I wanted to be in the band,” Fariss revealed. “My first thought was ‘no, I don’t’ because I’d been in a lot of bands before. But when I got up and jammed with him it really clicked.”
It should be added, though, that there was a preliminary iteration of Eyes Eat Suns that included a keyboardist who actually bailed on the group to partake in a Disney internship. Goofy, right?
From there, the hunt was on for another guitarist, which is where Fariss’ connection to Bryant came into play.
“I walked into this guy’s (Crampshee) basement, and he (Fariss) was there and we started jamming. It was hysterical because I thought he hated me,” Bryant recalled. “I thought he hated me. I sucked. But they called me back.”
Bryant was asked to pick up the bass, an instrument he was already well versed on, and Eyes Eat Suns was officially a complete band.
All of that occurred between late 2013 and early 2014, around the time for the band to get it’s big debut in Charlotte at Tremont Music Hall opening for one of Crampshee’s friend’s bands.
If this sounds oddly like William “Bill” S. Preston Esq. and Theodore “Ted” Logan arguing over whether or not they need a music video before they make it big, or they need to make it big before they get a music video, well, it’s sort of like that. But unlike Wyld Stallyns, Eyes Eat Suns is real, and the band is growing at a rate faster than it seems they can objectively view. With each question there is a pause before the answer; contemplation on how they are coming across mixes with an amateur professionalism. It’s a little uncomfortable, really, because you’d think a handful of punk kids who grew out of the middle-finger-to-the-world mentality would settle into something a little less professionally handled. Instead, each member, ages ranging from 21 to 26, seems poised to take on the needed jobs that are required to push themselves to the next level of success, whether it means handling the booking for tours, or the merchandising of new gear, or the managing of inventory, or the songwriting for a TBD album that is still a blurry vision on the horizon.
Recently celebrating the release of their debut record, POW!, Eyes Eat Suns seem comfortably positioned to take the next step in its career as a band, which involves publicity and marketing. POW! really showcases the songwriting skills of Adderley who contributed most of the lyrics and melodies. It’s not all Adderley, though, as Fariss and Bryant have found that iPhones, aside from Tinder notifications, work well for recording riffs and drum patterns for sharing with other members.
“I’m super critical,” Adderley said, “so I think it could be lyrically better.”
“But it’s a hell of a start,” Fariss interrupts.
“We really want to tour on this one, and get it out there,” Adderley said, with Fariss echoing her sentiments by stating that they want to get out of the area and move on to bigger things. !
Eyes Eat Suns plays Ziggy’s on Friday, March 13. Tickets for the show are available at ZiggyRock. Net and at the box office. The doors open at 8 p.m. and tickets cost $25.