Young Americana: Eastland

CONVENTIONAL WISDOM SAYS A NEW BAND SHOULD PLAY LIVE A LOT AND WORK OUT WHO THEY ARE ON STAGE IN SMALL VENUES BEFORE GOING INTO THE STUDIO. EASTLAND FLIPPED THE SCRIPT. A GROUP OF MUSICIANS WHO’D MOSTLY TOURED AND WORKED IN SUPPORT OF OTHERS CAME TOGETHER OVER A SHARED LOVE OF HARMONY DRIVEN 1970S COUNTRY ROCK. THEN THEY FOCUSED ON WRITING, REHEARSING AND RECORDING BEFORE THEY UNVEILED THE PROJECT IN RECENT MONTHS WITH THE SINGLE “OUR TOWN” AND A SERIES OF SHOWS. WE FILMED THIS ACOUSTIC PERFORMANCE OF "FABLES AND FIRE" AT THEIR REHEARSAL SPACE AT CLAIR AUDIO IN EAST NASHVILLE.

Can you give us the story on how the band formed?

So, I’ve always loved really old school music. I’ve always really loved guitar-driven bands with lots of harmonies and I’ve always wanted to be in those bands. And for a long time I’ve been like side-manning for a lot of people. Then one day I realized, I lived in Nashville and I could make that band. So the first person I called was Mr. Jesse Isley who thinks, lives, and breathes 70s. He’s just like monster guitar player and has the perfect vibe. So I hit up Jesse and was like, “Jesse, I’ve got an idea that’s like super 70s, Eagles feel - lots of harmonies, lots of guitarmonies,” and his response to that was, “I’m listening.” We moved from there. Jesse brought in Danny who is our drummer. I hadn’t met Danny, but after that we became very good friends. Adam, our lead guitar player, we just picked him off the street actually. We found him behind a trash can. And then Taylor Bray has produced all of us at one point or another, and so we hit him up because he’s a badass bass player and that’s kind of how this whole thing got started.

Where did the name come from?

[laugh] Easiness? So we had been coming up with lots and lots of names...like 150 names, and no one liked any of the ideas we came up with. So we were at Ugly Mugs just sitting there hanging out and I was just going through this list and everybody was saying no to everything I had to say, and I was like, “Man, this is ridiculous. I’m just going to pick the street we’re on.” And they were like, “What street are we on? Eastland?” And I was like, “Yeah, Eastland.” And they were like, “We actually kinda like that.” Have you ever tried to come with a band name? It’s the worst.

What’s happening next?

Well we’ve got a bunch of shows and things coming up. We’re releasing another single in December and probably full album coming in January or February. Just planning around Wes’s schedule now that he’s a dad.

So have you recorded the whole album already?

Yes, we cut most of the record a year and half ago. The first thing we ever did as a band was write and record. We never tried to book any shows, we never sought out any help - publicity, management, anything like that. We were like let’s write and record. Whenever we could all get together which was like once in a blue moon. People can do it the way that they want but we would rather have a great product before we start to try and talk to sales people. There’s no recipe for success in terms of order of operation, but you have to have great songs. There’s no point in doing any of it - you’re wasting time - if the songs aren’t good and well conceived. You can find a lot of ways to dress it up but really there’s no point in wasting management and PR people’s time if you don’t have a product that moves people, if there’s not an emotional connection in the music, then stop, start over again, and then acquire resources. And all of these songs have been written by the five of us, in different groups, different sects of writing, have all happened within these five guys.