Please give your name and duties in the band
I’m Brett & I play guitar.
Close Your Eyes has been around since 2005. Can you give us a quick history lesson on CYE?
Well, we started in 2005. Shane & I are the only original members of the band; Sonny has been playing with us for all but the first 3 shows. So he might as well be an original member. Andrew (currently in school) has been with us for about 4-5 years now. Our drummer Tim has been with us since last January.
What is the meaning (if any) behind the name “CYE”?
It’s a satire on society, the way so many people are influenced by pop culture, & how you need to close your eyes to that. Also a spiritual meaning, where what we see isn’t what the most real to us.
What is the number one priority/purpose of the band?
That’s a tough question. We are definitely a band that focuses on our music & being legitimate through our music, because none of our other reasons for playing make any difference if we are not legit to the kids & not genuine with them. On top of that, knowing the reason why we play: to love kids & try to reflect the love of Christ in the world through our actions.
You’ve recently released “Empty Hands and Heavy Hearts“. What kind of feedback have you received from you fans & your peers?
It has been super positive. We have the random kids who say they wish there was no breakdowns or stuff like that. Other than that, it’s just been great. One website did a review & said everything was great, but guitars were boring because there is harmonizing power chords. In answer to that, this album is a lot harder to play than the first one; it’s not harmonizing power chords. Whoever wrote that review doesn’t play guitar.
What sort of things have you done different on this new album as opposed to your previous albums?
The writing process was totally different. The last album was written over a period of 4 years. This one was more focused, because it was written in a lot shorter period of time. I think it help to get the flow & continuity of the album. It’s a higher level quality of album from our first, in the flow of it.
As a lyricist, do you believe in a blatant (straightforward) or eloquent (metaphorical) approach?
I didn’t write many lyrics for this album. I wrote a lot for the previous album. Shane wrote almost all the lyrics for this album. We try to take a not shoving down people’s throat approach. So, I guess you can say it’s eloquent. I mean, there is obviously blatant stuff in our songs, for example at the end of Paper Thin (“Whispered life into my soul”) & in Song For The Broken (“This is my worship, this is my life”). We try to just be real, & not tell people what to do.
What’s your favourite song that you have written and why?
I love lots of the new songs, because they’re new. Off the old album, I would say Friends Are Friends Forever, 17:20 & Digging Graves. From the new album, I really like Injustice, & Keep The Lights On. Valleys has been really fun to play live.
Do you find it hard to be a Christian band in your genre of music?
Not at all. We are genuine people who tour with bands like Terror, & they don’t even say anything about it. We play real music to real people. It’s not like we’re Steven Curtis Chapman going on hard-core tour. I think the problem is that a lot of them see these bands act differently on & off the stage. We don’t even call ourselves a Christian band, because we see many bands out there try to use it as a business tactic, to gain more fans & money.
Have you had any negative reactions by traditional Christians for playing hardcore music?
Yeah, this is quite funny actually. Most recently, some of my friends who live just outside of Abilene, TX apparently the youth pastor of their church was talking to their mom. He had never heard our band, but he said he knew that just because of the style of music we played, it was demonic. He said Christian Rock is satanic. I started laughing.
How important was is it to finish school (or college) before signing to a record label/touring full time?
If I had the offer before I graduated, I might have taken it. I don’t know. Can’t really say, because I wasn’t put in that situation. I know I was definitely determined to finish college.
What is your favourite album of the year (2011) so far?
I like a lot of albums from last year. My Epic’s new album is great for sure, I listen to that one a lot. I think Brad Paisley’s album came out this year too; I like to listen to country a lot.
Are there specific messages you want to convey in your music and on stage?
Hope & love. If they come in with despair, they leave with hope. We try to take the approach of when Saint Patrick went to the Irish, he didn’t just come over & preach, preach, preach. He built relationships with people.
What are two or three unsigned or obscure bands you would encourage your fans to check out?
There is a band from close to us called Ivy League. Those guys are great! You should also check-out Counterparts, they’ve recently signed to Victory Records. Not many people in North America know about Lower Than Atlantis, the band we are currently on tour with.
Who are some of your favourite artists to tour with? Any crazy tour stories you’d like to share?
We do fun stuff all the time. Tim has what he likes to call Naked Wednesday, where he’s just naked in the van on Wednesdays. As far as bands on tour, I love touring with Stick To Your Guns, A Day To Remember, Lower Than Atlantis & Sleeping Giant.
Who are 3 active current bands/artists you’d like to tour with?
Rise Against for sure. I’d love to tour with A Day To Remember again. We’ve never done a pop-punk tour, it’s definitely a part of style, so I wouldn’t mind touring with Four Year Strong.
What do you guys do to continuously push yourselves from letting mediocrity set in?
Haha! We put so much pressure on ourselves; there is no chance it’s gonna happen. We’re always pushing ourselves, practicing, etc.
When you guys are on the road, is there a weekly CYE Bible Study or something to make sure you all are being fed with the word of God?
Not really weekly, I think most of us do it daily. We don’t always have group bible study, but all of us keep on it. We have conversations about stuff all the time.
What is one major positive and one major negative aspect about the current state of the music industry?
Negative, downloading is just killing record labels. I know a lot of bands think it doesn’t affect them, but it truly does. Record labels are what facilitate bands to be able to go record in nice studios & stuff. Short term affect isn’t really noticeable, but in the long term your record label won’t be able to support you.
Positive, is that there is so many ways now to get your music out to your fans, whether it’s Facebook, Twitter, Spotify. The internet has open up the music industry to everybody. Because of that, a band doesn’t have to be huge for you to find out about them.
Thanks for taking the time to stay in touch with your fans at Indie Vision Music. Is there anything else you’d like to add to this interview?
Come out to a show & hang out with us!