OPIATE EYES with DJ NICKFRESH
Saturday, April 7 at 9 p.m.
Dos Gatos, 123 E. Forsyth St., Jacksonv
There are some musicians who just seem to have the innate ability to churn out music. Dolly Parton has released 58 studio albums and 24 compilation discs. Frank Zappa released 62 albums during his lifetime and another 29 posthumous records. And Merzbow, aka Japanese noise musician Masami Akita, has released in excess of 350 recordings.
Jacksonville-based indie four-piece Opiate Eyes are working on their third full-length and have released a half-dozen or so EPs — all in a span of two years. Opiate Eyes consists of Drew Bond (vocals/guitar/keys), Roland David (vocals/guitar/percussion), Tom Essex (bass/percussion) and Thomas King (drums/percussion). A DIY indie-rock quartet inspired by MGMT, Radiohead, Neil Young, Pink Floyd and Kings of Leon, Opiate Eyes formed in 2009 in Jacksonville Beach.
“I moved here from Orlando and I was in Club TSI, trying to get to know the town, when I heard a drummer laying down the beat for Radiohead’s ‘Idioteque,’ ” says frontman Drew Bond. The sound prompted him to approach the mystery drummer. “I asked him if he wanted to be in a band together.”
The drummer turned out to be Thomas King, and he and Bond added David and Essex to form Opiate Eyes. Since 2009, the group has toured from Jacksonville to Boston and back, and released an impressive number of self-made records. They’ve also played local venues including Jack Rabbits, Freebird Live, Shantytown, TSI and Dive Bar.
On Saturday, April 7, Opiate Eyes takes to Dos Gatos for a show promoting their seven-track, self-titled album on vinyl (originally dropped October 2011). DJ NickFRESH will also be there to spin prior to the night of original music, with no cover charge.
“We’re pressing 300 vinyl albums and selling them for around 12 bucks each,” Bond says. “We chose this specific album to do it with because we feel that it represents what we do artistically. It represents our dynamic.”
Opiate Eyes record most of their material at Warehouse Studios (as featured in FW Feb. 28 cover story, “Sound Effects,” http://bit.ly/GzF6k1), a full-service recording studio off Emerson Street. Essex, the band’s bassist, has his own control room in the space where he does a majority of the engineer work.
“In fact, we were at the studio late last night working on ‘The Spring,’ ” Bond explains of the fourth installation of a long-term project the guys have been working on. Previous releases include “The Winter” (January 2012), “The Fall” (November 2011) and “The Summer” (July 2011), and the new EP will be combined to produce one 12-track full-length.
When the members of Opiate Eyes aren’t playing a local gig or hashing out late-night sessions at the warehouse, they’re working for the man — so to speak. David teaches guitar at Florida Conservatory of Music, King works at Whole Foods Market, Essex spends his days at Survival Straps, a company located in Ponte Vedra Beach that makes survival bracelets out of paracord, and Bond works at The Fresh Market.
The band members also continue to work on their individual outside musical projects. Bond has released two solo records along with the help of Essex, who engineered the discs. “I’d always wanted to create albums where I play every instrument,” Bond says. Essex is also the founder of Skinny Records, the label that Opiate Eyes calls home.
For these twentysomethings, it’s not so much about the future of their music as in the journey. “We’re just constantly being creative,” Bond admits. “What I want for us is to just continue to play and make good music.”