“They were always trying to change us:” Alexia Rodriguez on Eyes Set To Kill’s new album
Last time we checked in with alternative metal band Eyes Set To Kill, they were in the studio working on their new album Masks. In contrast to their 2011 release White Lotus, their new album sports heavier riffs, vocals and an overall feeling of what the band is evolving into. With Masks’ release date just around the corner (September 17), we asked singer/guitarist Alexia Rodriguez to let us in on a couple secrets they’ve been keeping behind closed doors. Like why they signed to Century Media, what they have in store for fans and how to handle being stung by a scorpion like a champ. (Seriously, this is a real thing.)
Interview By: Bridjet Mendyuk
Hey Alexia, how’s it going?
I’m good. I just got stung by a scorpion earlier.
How does that happen?
I was rushing [to] one of our P.A. speakers, and there was a scorpion right underneath it and I didn’t see it. I was wearing my flip-flops, so it crawled out from under [the P.A.] and stung my pinky toe. I didn’t see it anywhere; I just felt a sting. I was like, “Oh my God, what’s happening?” Then, it just crawled away and I saw it, so I smashed it.
I’ve never even seen a scorpion in real life.
Yeah, people were like, “Wait, why didn’t you go to the hospital? Are you okay?” It’s so common here. It just hurts really bad when it first happens, but after it just feels like your limb fell asleep.
Masks is coming out via Century Media in September. Why did you guys break it off with Breaksilence Records?
We just wanted to try doing something different because Breaksilence Records was like our own label. [Considering the jump from] Suburban Noize; Suburban Noize had a lot of bands that weren’t our genre, so it was kind of weird. People were confused. We didn’t want to be associated with Kottonmouth Kings. It didn’t make sense.
Century Media have a lot of heavy musicians on their label.
Yeah, and they have a lot of female-fronted bands too, so it [was] perfect [for us] to be with them.
From what I’ve heard so far, Masks is a lot heavier. What made you want to make a heavier album?
I’ve always liked heavier stuff. I feel like [playing it] live is [a lot] of fun. When we were writing White Lotus, there were those sounds that were just revisited songs from our EPs when we first started. They were a little [rough] and all over the place. We just fixed them. We put out White Lotus for fun. It was just something we could release for fun.
I was reading about Masks and I heard you guys felt like you were wearing masks before as a band to impress others. Could you elaborate on that?
When we were unsigned, we had a lot of labels looking at us. They were like, “We want to sign you guys, but you guys need to go a different direction with your music.” I felt like they were always trying to change us. [They were] telling us how we need to be onstage, even asking us to change our names. No one really wanted to sign onto [a label that] could decide what they could mold us into. For a little bit, I felt like, in a way, we went on the label’s side to try and change our songs so we could get signed. It was the wrong thing to do obviously because there wouldn’t have been the band, but it felt like we were constantly trying to impress people to get attention.
You’re on a new label, the album has a heavier sound; it seems like you’re coming out of your shell as a band. Is this something the band wanted to do before but couldn’t?
In the past, we had other members in the band and I felt like they were always a bad influence—guitar wise, when we had [a different] guitarist. Once I became the only guitarist, I felt like everything made sense and went into the right direction. I was writing the rhythms and the [leads] after only writing a lead part over some rhythm guitar parts someone else wrote.
So you have more internal organization [within your band] than before.
Yeah. I’ve always had the vision for the band, but whenever there’s someone else—or another guitarist in the band—they always affected it. It was also a misconception of [our] music. There would be, like, a super-poppy song that one of our old members would’ve written and I’d just be like, “Nah.” I have an idea of what the band is supposed to be, and when I would be writing with other members, I felt like they were a bad influence to that idea.
What can fans expect in the future as far as direction with the music?
Masks is a good example of the type of music we were meant to write. It’s hard to tell what you’re going to change. I wrote in a lot of keys and it was too much and it was buried in the music. I had fun doing it. Maybe in the next album there will be a lot more production with keys and extra stuff.
What was your favorite part about making the album?
Working with [Steve Evetts] because he [produced] a bunch of albums that I liked growing up, so when I found out we could do it with him, I was like, “Yeah! Of course!”
With Steve were you able to use any influences from his past work on this album? Suicide Silence, Dillinger Escape Plan, etc.?
For drums, we had Alex Lopez [from Suicide Silence]. It was kind of cool because Steve had previously worked with him before. It wasn’t anything scary or new.
This is the second album with [screamer/live guitarist] Cisko, right?
He usually just screams. I think that’s one thing we’ll do more in the future. It’s like his thing. When he joined the band, he was just the screamer; we didn’t know [he liked singing]. I found out a little bit after that he’s a singer, and that’s what he used to do in his old bands at home. I was like, “That’s crazy,” and “I wish you told us that [before so] we can have you sing more.” That’s, like, his favorite thing. That’s like if I was in a band singing and someone was like, “Wait, you play guitar?” Uh, yeah, it’s my first love. I would hope my band would say, “Why don’t you play guitar more?” I think it will be cool to see if he will be able to sing more.
What’s in store for the future? Any tour plans?
Yeah, we’re doing this radio tour in September right after our release. I think we’re planning on touring for the rest of the year because we’ve had a couple months off. We just want to stay on the road and promote the album. ALT