Cymbals Eat Guitars

by Faith Bennett
Hailing from New York, “Sort of,” indie-rock band Cymbals Eat Guitars delivers a performance nothing short of captivating. Though in the middle of a hectic tour with Cursive, front man Joseph D’Agostino agreed to speak to EU about the band and the inspiration behind their music.
Like many musicians D’Agostino’s fascination started early when he was “forced into learning piano at eight, “but it was when he picked up guitar at fourteen that he started writing his own songs and dreaming of being in a band. He started Cymbals Eat Guitars with drummer Mathew Miller and the duo later accepted members Matt Whipple and Brian Hamilton before recording their second release. D’Agostino himself did the majority of the writing on the first album, and penned all of the lyrics which he said were influenced heavily by “where I grew up in the South and books and poetry.” The album, Why There Are Mountains, gathered a lot of attention from music sites such as Pitchfork and bands such as the Flaming Lips who they opened for a few shows.
The music itself is comparable to bands like Cursive or Built To Spill but at the same time completely distinguishable. Their live performance at Café Eleven had the energy of a punk show and had a notable amount of audience members singing along. D’Agostino mentions moments like these when asked what the most rewarding part of touring is. “Last night we played the Social (in Orlando) and these two seventeen year old boys were yelling all the lyrics, they knew all the lyrics, which is weird for our band…. When I watch Cursive I see most of the audience singing along and I hope that one day it will be like that. Some people tell you reach them and they can relate to a song and that’s the most rewarding thing.”
It can only help that Cymbals Eat Guitars tend to play an even mix of old and new material when performing live. D’Agostino says “I still really like all the songs on our older album,” but mentions that he feels they are driven into the ground a bit by being played so often. Still it is unapparent if any band member is sick of the older songs which are played with the same enthusiasm as the newer material, which was written more collaboratively. Lenses Alien says “We wrote it together so this time is was way more collaborative, way more representative of what we sound like live, much less overdubbing.”
This is the longest tour the band has been on thus far and while D’Agostino admits that it takes “a physical and mental toll,” and many members of each band spend part of every tour “exhausted or sick,” the touring still leads to self improvement “as a band.”He says just playing so often strengthens their technical proficiency as musicians and their ability to play together. Even if tired, D’Agostino is hardly shying from the concept of the next tour. From outside of the tour bus in a Whole Foods parking lot on the way to the next venue he answers quickly when I ask the future plans for the band saying, “We’re gonna write another record, make it better, release it and tour it.”