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by Caroline Fenn
May 28th, 2013

On May 31st, Rooftop Films is screening “Trapped,” a collection of short films whose beauty is intricately connected to its unsettling nature.  The slightly surreal quality of these six movies will follow the slightly surreal sound of Brooklyn-based band Lazyeyes.  Rooftop Films spoke with the very eloquent musicians about the evolution of their style and about themselves.

Rooftop Films: You describe your musical style as “dreampop.” Could you elaborate on what that means for you? What influences your sound, and how has it developed?

Lazyeyes: Regarding “dreampop” — It’s hard to say what that term means to us because a lot of the time we aren’t even convinced that that term accurately describes us. No band is ever super comfortable with genre labels (assuming we can call that word a genre label) and we feel like our sound can shift a lot between songs. So the specific term “dreampop” almost seems meaningless because it can mean almost anything- which too often dooms it to mean nothing. I like to think we just sort of make the music that comes out naturally when the four of us play in unison. Whatever THAT is is meaningful and THAT’s what we want to focus on- and hopefully it’s something greater than a single word or two words smashed together. However, when people do feel the need to use that term (or any of those terms like shoegaze, indie pop, etc etc) we understand they are talking about more than just what WE sound like – they’re making a reference – “Oh this kinda reminds me of Mazzy Star and maybe some bits off Pet Sounds and a touch of what Wild Nothing is doing and that guitar has some reverb and chorus and delay on it so MBV…” So it makes sense in that regard, [because] it’s a condensed way of getting a lot of info across, and because those are the touchstones which have and continue to influence us. Again, genre descriptions are just kind of awkward and uncomfortable, though maybe they’re a necessary evil.

I would say our sound has developed into something cleaner, tighter, and maybe a touch more upbeat than when we put the band together. It still has a focus on infectious melody and rhythms that move things along, but I think we’re playing together a lot better. A lot of that came as a result of just simply spending more time together and writing / recording the two EPs over the past year. I wouldn’t say it’s been a surprise, just more of a natural move toward a more polished product. We like to push ourselves and each other to keep improving. If it has moved, it has moved in a better direction, and we are happy with that.

Rooftop Films: What interests you about Rooftop Films?

Lazyeyes: Rooftop Films seems really interesting for a number of reasons. The films look to be incredibly well curated – we flicked through the listings of past shows on your site when we were first contacted and were very impressed. I think what’s most exciting though is just the idea of taking these really beautiful built environments / rooftops in New York City and re-appropriating them in a way to serve as art / music / film venues. It’s a really novel way of combining and bringing these things to people and it uses these spaces in our city (which otherwise so many people would never even get to see) in a unique way. I think it’s important that we don’t take the architectural legacy we have as New Yorkers for granted and celebrate the fact that places like this exist, oftentimes right above our heads and we just keep forgetting to look up. Plus, there’s just something undeniably awesome about being outside in the summer on a roof in New York. We are always honored and proud to be part of anything like this.

Rooftop Films: I see that you’re also based in Brooklyn. Do you have a favorite rooftop in Brooklyn or across the city?

Lazyeyes: I don’t think we really have a favorite rooftop in Brooklyn or elsewhere in the city at the moment. To be honest most of the ones that we spend any appreciable amount of time on tend to be somewhat generic apartment building roofs- the ones that are just sort of black tar or that squishy membrane type stuff that you’re never totally convinced you won’t fall through. The kind that become super impressive on the fourth of July because you can JUST see some fireworks peaking over the skyline of Manhattan and your neighbors left an old grill and some lawn chairs up there and all of a sudden you’re a cool guy cause check him out, he’s got a roof and we can totally BBQ on this thing!!!, but at any other time of the year the roof is only interesting enough to climb up to when it’s like 4:27 am on a Saturday and you aren’t ready to go to bed yet. Trust us – our roofs are not as cool as your roofs.

Rooftop Films: What’s on the horizon for you?

Lazyeyes: We’ve got some pretty exciting stuff on the horizon. We just started recording our new EP and that should be done in the next few weeks. It has a lot more driving, uptempo tracks on it, but at the same time we experimented with some slower and more deliberate songs, some cool samples, backing tracks, interesting percussion… We’re taking more time on this one since we feel like we can afford to ruminate on it a bit and don’t need to rush and get it out there right away. We’d rather really make sure it sounds just like we want it to and enjoy the creative process more. After this record is all mixed and mastered we’ll start working on the physical release and plan another fun record release show. After that we will do some touring to support the album, then it’s basically CMJ and then we’re almost in 2014… Once we’re that far down the road we should have a full length written and ready to come out, judging from the speed at which we’ve been writing new material. After that, I assume we will have Radiohead open for us when we sell out Madison Square Garden.

Maybe we can play on their roof?

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Rooftop Films is a New York based non-profit whose mission is to engage diverse communities by showing independent movies in outdoor locations, producing new films, coordinating youth media education, and renting equipment at low cost to artists.

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