A local American midwestern band with a unique sound is creating their sophomore album, but don't expect your typical rock band sound...
Marbles for Eyes is (photo above, from left to right) Matthew Smith, singer/songwriter and guitarist, Roman Frable on drums, Bryan Phillips, lead guitarist, and Caleb Barton, bassist, and their latest album, Dead Language, is a work in progress. The band's debut album, Water Towers are the Devil, was released in 2008. Since then, the band has progressively become more successful, playing shows all over Ohio and Pennsylvania.
Smith labeled the sound as "gritty, and textual, but with character," while Barton, sticks to a more simplistic "rock 'n' roll" description, and others compare the sound to bands like Bright Eyes and Modest Mouse.
The origin of the band's name has a lot to do with how the band members portray themselves. The band relies heavily on their values and Christian roots while creating their sound.
Smith said he was in Cabela's, a hunting store, where he saw an assortment of taxidermy game, all having marbles for eyes. He used that as an analogy for what he didn't want to create: a band that is no more than its appearance, or just a generic sound. He wanted a band that was more than just "marbles for eyes," but was real and unique.
"I called my girlfriend at the time and she hated it," Smith said. "Then, I knew it was the perfect name for the band."
Smith and the other members of Marbles for Eyes are doing just that for their sophomore album: creating a unique sound. Smith says the album will be a more mature, solid sound than the first album.
Nathan Zangmeister, an Ohio University graduate in audio production, is producing the album. He said that his only motivation to work with Marbles was their excellent pierogi making skills, although he later admitted to their undeniable talent as musicians.
Zangmeister met Smith about nine years ago when the two played shows at the same venue. They both fell in love with each other's music. When Zangmeister was reunited with Smith and the other members of the band about a year ago, he noticed the change in their sound.
"They have come a long way as a band. I saw a lot of potential in them and that is something you don't see a lot," Zangmeister said.
The band is pleased with Zangmeister's work and where the album is going. "You bring the peanut butter, I?ll bring the honey. Nate Zangmeister is the bread," Smith said, concerning everyone's collaborations and hard work to make the new album successful.
Barton said that he began playing music when he was in the fifth grade playing trumpet, but he knew he was bound to be a musician by age three. "It [music] is the only thing I feel connected to," Barton said.
Smith took a slightly different route to music. He didn't really become interested in mastering the guitar, developing his vocals or writing lyrics until he was 17-years-old. Smith said that being a musician wasn't biologically in his blood. In high school, he was pushed to be an athlete, but he found that music was what he really wanted to pursue.
Smith was playing a solo performance when he met Barton in 2004. Barton played guitar in one of the bands also playing at the show. "I knew he was talented when his guitar was out of tune, and he still sounded good," Smith said.
When Smith played his own set, he began singing "Too Hot for MTV," a song that would later be included on Water Towers are the Devil. In the crowd, Smith could hear Barton playing harmonica to the song. From that day, Smith and Barton's friendship sparked Marbles for Eyes.
Creating the album has taken a lot of time and money away from the band. They are willing to admit that creating this album hasn't been easy. "Spicy chicken Ramen and tuna will get us through this next album," Smith said, which is due to be released in early 2011.
Marbles for Eyes will be touring the New York City area in August. (For more information on the band and tour dates, check out their website). Until then, Marbles for Eyes can be found aggravating girlfriends, making peanut butter and honey sandwiches and creating a musical revolution.