How did you first become involved with Cherry Red?
ANSWER: We sent out tapes of our first album, and from the first batch of I think 5 tapes sent out, we had two offers for deals with 4AD, and with Cherry Red. For us, there was absolutely no point in our choosing music as a means of expression if we were being ‘advised’ by ANYONE. Back then, Cherry Red were entirely happy for us to do exactly what we wanted to do – so after an initial meeting, we chose to work with them.
What were the specific song writing ideas, or inspirations, behind ‘No Noise’, ‘New Risen’ and ‘The Look of Love’.
ANSWER: These are three songs that originate from three distinct periods of work: NO NOISE is a comment on the frustration of insularity/entropy. (PETE BECKER: The synth solo is inspired by Wayne Shorter/Joe Zawinul.) NEW RISEN mixes the temporal with the non-temporal – it was a conscious attempt to make a single. THE LOOK OF LOVE: you’ll have to ask Bacharach and David … Tho I wanted to show the fuckers that I could sing ANYTHING … I wanted to do a treatment of the song which pointed to the unsettling subtext of the song – a one-sided, parasitic dependency – and that sometimes love looks pull you into the lies of love. A universally misunderstood record, this.
Any memories about the songs being recorded, etc?
ANSWER: PETE BECKER: For ‘No Noise’ I remember recording the rhythm machine/drum box from a friends dad’s organ in his front room on my 2-track reel-to-reel as we didn’t have a drum machine. If you listen closely to the final recorded song you can occasionally hear Martyn playing along on his guitar in the background which makes it sound like a kind of echo of the guitar part. This is due to the fact that we started the song at a different point when we recorded it using this drum backing tape. This haphazard/intuitive approach is typical of Eyeless.
How do you see them in relation to your broader work?
ANSWER: I see this as being somebody else’s job … (!!)
What was the impact for you when Pillows & Prayers became such a success? Did it open you up to a new audience?
ANSWER: We were part of the reason that Pillows & Prayers was a success – in that we were one of the more “established” names on the record. I distinctly remember feeling that ‘No Noise’ didn’t really represent Eyeless In Gaza by the time Pillows & Prayers was released – that we should have put something more “current” on the album. Time has proved the choice to be good one tho … .Do you feel any kinship with the other artists on the album?
ANSWER: As a collection of individuals, yes I’d say I’m proud to be associated with such a disparate bunch, for the most part.
Finally, if you want to say something in relation to the connection to your current activities, so we can mention the new album release for you, that would be great also.
ANSWER: All our work is endlessly interconnected – a crazy paved patchwork of stuff that we’ve continued to display down the years – such a slingshot creativity that it can’t fail to resonate in the way it does. It resonates around a series of themes and styles. We’re an open book – and we’ve never really gone away. We are part of the true post punk underground, along with bands like the Legendary Pink Dots, Nocturnal Emissions – forever destined to exist within inhabiting a twilight world of our own making. Occasionally someone spots stuff. The April 2007 edition of Wire magazine holds that Summer Salt & Subway Sun, our new album, is perhaps our best ever – and they aren’t wrong.
Occasionally, just occasionally, someone spots stuff. Like Cherry Red did when they signed us, all those moons ago.
MARTYN BATES, MAY 2007