There's something about 'doing it your way.' When Paul Anka wrote the lyrics to "My Way" for Sinatra to sing; they both knew the true benefits of taking this advice into hand when it came to music, and life.
Although New York's Hilly Eye may not be moonlighting with The Rat Pack in their spare time, what these two artists do have; is a common ability to dig into a life of artistic expression in order to forge their own paths during a definitive 'me' generation. Well before singer and guitarist Amy Klein decided to split ways with her former band, she knew she had a compatriot in drummer and artist Catherine Tung. Formed in 2009, Hilly Eye took their time with their debut, but all great things take time, and the duo's brand new album "Reasons To Live" was released at the end of last month on independent, Don Giovanni Records.
Already taking part in not one, but many other projects as an activist, as a writer, and of course as a musician, including Hilly Eye and also, Leda; it's unquestionable that Klein IS busy and plans to stay that way.
Join HILLY EYE at First Unitarian Church (Side Chapel), with local favorite Attia Taylor (who we should also note is releasing her own debut at the show), as well as returning favorite Kate Ferencz.
"Their favorite band at the time was the Osaka noise band Afrirampo and they wanted to start something like that--a two girl band that was super primal and agressive, but also psychedelic and dreamy. Something really stripped down and raw that could also be beautiful. Alternating between quiet and loud, delicate melodies and big swathes of noise, contrasting elements."
Girl About Town: I love the sounds and songs on Hilly Eyes debut. What is your relationship to Seaside Lounge in Brooklyn: and was this the first time you had recorded there; what can you tell us about your favorite moment while recording there with Catherine?
Amy Klein: I recorded a solo album at Seaside Lounge a few years ago, and while I was recording that album, I met Danielle DePalma, who worked at the studio. I thought it was cool to meet a girl who was an engineer, because it's mostly guys working in that field. Danielle and I became friends and I decided to work with her when it came time to record the album. My favorite moment in the recording process was probably recording the last few seconds of "American Rail." I had gone into the studio with just one guitar part (the chords) and while I was sitting on the couch waiting around in the studio, I suddenly had the idea for a second guitar part (lead) in my head. I played it over the chords and it really added something! Then I added in the bass part, and suddenly that whole section of the song sounded totally different than it had before. It was a moment where the ideas I had in the studio completely changed the song I'd had before, making it into something better, and all of the different ideas in my head came together to make something bigger than any of the individual parts. It was a pretty surprising experience!
I read that you and Catherine met a while back while on the same campus, just in different circles and kind of came to know eachother when you heard she started to pick up/learning the drums: when did you start learning to play the guitar--tell us the story of the first song you could play that meant something to you personally.
I got my first guitar for my birthday during my freshman year of high school, so at this point, I've been playing for almost 13 years. It might sound silly, but one of the first songs I learned how to play was "Time of Your Life" by Green Day. That was a song that was on the radio back then, and I thought of playing the intro, which had a lot of fancy picking in it, as something insurmountable, like trying to climb up Mount Everest. Nevertheless, I didn't give up on the idea, and spent a lot of time alone in my room with the guitar tabs trying to figure them out, and then just practicing the song over and over, while trying to will my right hand to move in just the right way. It was extremely frustrating for me, as a beginner, to keep on making mistakes, but I only got more addicted to the idea of doing it right the more mistakes I made. When I mastered the intro to that song, I just kept playing it over and over because I was so proud of being able to do something I thought I couldn't do. Despite the fact that the song itself was a little bit cliche, I really felt like I'd climbed up a mountain, and had gotten somewhere, and now had a much better view of the world. There was also something really cool about being able to play a really popular song, a song that everyone knew, by yourself. Like this idea that, "You could be the band," "You could be Green Day if you really wanted to be," etc.
Last year you accomplished a lot of activist work with a few different organizations, Permanent Wave and newer organizations like Hollaback! to name a few, as well as writing, being in a bands, and generally being an inspiring female to watch out for. What is on your list of accomplishments/to do for 2013?
First of all, thanks for calling me an inspiring female to watch out for! I wish I could get that on a tee-shirt. Like, "Watch out for me!" on the front and then, "I'm an inspiring female" on the back. Those would be great shirts, and I would want to give them to all of my friends. Seriously though, this year, I am finishing up writing my second album, which I'm actually gonna record with a different band called Leda, (I'm in two bands). I'm also working on writing a novel which is like a queer coming of age story about discovering yourself through rock and roll. I don't think the novel is going to be done in 2013 though. More like...2015 or thereabouts. I've never written a novel before, so it's a big challenge. Also, in 2013, I'm going to become an aunt for the first time, and I think that my future nephew or niece is gonna be awesome. So I hope I can be a good aunt to my future nephew or niece, and hang out with him/her a lot!
Both you and Catherine are into creative writing, and Catherine in particular storyboards her own comics, how do you find time to write and do you have any rules that you follow to map out the time to do this?
Well, this is a tough question. It's hard to find time to sit alone and write when you have a really nice group of friends you want to hang out with. I don't have any rules about writing, because I write for fun, but I'm hoping to make myself more of a schedule this year, so that I can be more disciplined about it. Sometimes it seems really selfish to just block off a certain number of hours for yourself when you're going to do nothing but write. Like with music, there are other people in the band who are depending on you to get things done, but with writing, it feels like I'm doing it only for me. So I think sometimes it can feel really good to just give in to the selfish desire and sit by yourself and write something just because you want to. Writing can be an escape from the world of other people, but also a way of processing your external life and discovering who you are internally. In that way, the more you do it, the more you depend on it as a way of figuring out who you are.
What is your favorite song to sing off of Hilly Eyes' debut? What can you tell us about this song?
Hmm, probably "Jersey City." It's fun to get up in the audience's face. They don't expect that I'm going to start yelling because the song starts off so quiet, and you can tell people at the show are really surprised. I like being a little shocking. I guess the song is about that feeling, where on the exterior, you can be calm and on the inside, you can be like this animal who wants to destroy things. By the way, in this song, (and in most songs) when I say, "you," I really mean "me," because I'm speaking to myself through the song. So like, "You think you're so calm" really means, "Amy, wake up to the reality of what's going on: you think you're so calm and never get angry? Well, you are totally wrong about that! You secretly have an inner wildness that cannot be tamed by anyone."
Besides musical inspiration, what else is inspiring you in the new year? Are you reading anything right now?
Well, I just finished reading a book called The Middlesteins by Jami Attenberg, which was very good, and very, very sad. It describes a family that hasn't realized it's been falling apart until a tragedy visits them. But, of course, all of the elements of the tragedy were there long before the actual event. So then the book becomes about, can these characters move forward, and learn to connect with one another in honest ways, now that the entire structure of their family has fallen apart. It's about the way that even our closest relationships can fail us, but how they also can save us in surprising ways. It's also a lot about food, and our American obsession with consuming things (food, possessions) as a way of both making our lives easier and hiding ourselves.
What is your most fervent wish for the women of 2013, and what you hope we can accomplish as a small step while working with eachother?
This is a tough question! I think the question has its own answer. The main goal is that women might be able to help one another, acknowledging our differences and yet also figuring out how we can work together. Women are all really different, and it's hard to say where, as an ideology, feminism is in the year 2013, but I do think that we can make the world better for one another by acknowledging, respecting, and building on the connections among us that do exist.