Empty Yard Experiment Interview
Empty Yard Experiment (E.Y.E), are one of the few bands that have been around in the UAE music scene for more than five years. I first saw them live in 2009, when they performed at Rock Nation where I was part of the organizing team. The band put on a great show and there was a buzz about them the next day on the Phride forums. Since then, E.Y.E.released their self-titled debut album in 2011 and have also opened for bands like Metallica and Anathema.
Last month, they released their second album, “Kallisti” and I spoke to their vocalist Bojan Preradovic via email about the album and also their plans for the rest of the year.
Gorgin Asadi (Keys), Kaveh Kashani (Bass guitar), Bojan Preradovic (vocals/rhythm guitar) Josh Saldanha(Drums) and Mehdi Gr (Lead Guitar) [Left to Right]
“Conceptually, the album focuses on the notions of chaos and discord, which often define the way in which any human being relates to various aspects of their existence – whether it’s other people, the idea of authority, a subjective perception of the divine, or the subconscious.” said Bojan describing the idea behind the album. “Kallisti” means “to the fairest”, and is the inscription on the Apple of Discord in Greek Mythology, which represents an argument that may originally be based on a small issue but escalates into a much larger one. You will often find that, in an almost schizophrenic manner, you can be a different person depending on the situation that you are placed in. Discord characterizes the way in which each of us, as members of the band, relate to each other, as well as the way in which we have written this album. So “Kallisti” is, somehow, meant to tie it all together.”
“Kallisti” Bojan explains is a the product of a much more collaborative musical relationship between each of the band members. “It’s basically a collection of the songs that we’ve written since the release of our first album in 2011. Right around the beginning of the summer last year, after we had just opened for Metallica and come back from a headlining spot at Lebanon’s Fete de la Musique, we locked ourselves up at our bassist’s house for about two-and-a-half months and just wrote and tracked demos furiously to make sure that we are ready to enter the studio in September. We learned a lot about both each other, and writing music with each other – and it was not always a pretty picture, to say the least.”
The album was produced by Josh Williams who also produced their self titled debut album. “The recording process very collaborative, not only between band members, but also between the band and Josh as a producer, songwriter and arranger.” said Bojan about the recording process. “Josh had some very valuable ideas that we took on board wholeheartedly, and it all ended up making the record richer and more profound as a listening experience. We’ve all known Josh for a while now and we had both a lot of laughs and arguments with him – as friends do.”
“Ultimately, “Kallisti” is a much more mature and consistent effort than the first album was.” said Bojan about how the new album compares to their self titled debut album. “The songwriting and arrangement process was a lot more intricate, thorough, and it took some 6 or 7 months to track, mix and master. “Kallisti” features such a diverse combination of rock sub-genres (prog, alternative, post-rock/experimental and indie) and other instruments like live cello, so the approach was different for each of the songs on the record. We tried to be as professional as we could and originally planned to get it all done in only a month or two – but of course, an album that is so dense and carefully thought-out needs more time. And thankfully, Josh was very accommodating in that sense. In the end, it was always going to be a laborious process, but we are pretty satisfied with the outcome.”
The cover artwork for the album designed by Maryam Fard looks great. “The idea behind it corresponds to an individual’s subjective, discordant understanding of and means of relating to various aspects of their life.” said Bojan explaining the concept behind the artwork. “Maryam actually conducted interviews with each of the band members, and asked them for their interpretation of each of the songs on the album. So, each of the band member artworks inside the album package symbolize that subjective dimension of understanding and conception of what reality is supposed to be.”
“We’re just putting our hearts into promoting this release, because obviously we really want it to be heard by a wider audience.” said Bojan about their plans for the rest of the year. “However, to do that, you pretty much have to get out of the Middle East, rather than spend too much energy trying to conquer it. So we’re working on dates and festivals abroad – in Europe, India and hopefully Australia sometime in the near future.” Stay tuned to their facebook page for more information about their tour dates.
Listen to “Kallisti” below
Band Photo by Athena Ekhteraei