Eisley played the Theatre of Living Arts in Philadelphia on February 17. I caught up with the three DuPree sisters before the show to talk about switching labels, their new album, and what it’s like to be married to another touring musician. While I could have simplified this text to show more straightforward questions and answers, I chose to include the back-and-forth between the sisters in order to give a greater sense of their fun personalities and the close way they interact with each other.
Eric: Can I start off by getting your names?
Chauntelle: I’m Chauntelle.
Sherri: Hi, I’m Sherri.
Stacy: I’m Stacy.
Eric: Great, and what do each of you do?
Sherri: Chauntelle plays guitar. Sherri sings and plays guitar, and Stacy plays keyboard and sings.
Sherri: I feel like a pre-schooler.
Chauntelle and Stacy: [in unison] Thank you Sherri.
Eric: So you’re touring with Rooney right now. How’s that going?
Sherri: Yeah, we’ve only got about two weeks left. It’s been really fun. It’s cool. We weren’t really sure if we would be sharing fans or if Rooney fans would like us, but it’s been a really good mix of both, and I think we’ve made a lot of fans on this tour too, which is all we’re ever shooting for. So kind of like, expanding the fan base and reaching new kids, and keeping the old ones happy.
Stacy: That’s all we’re really after. Success, you know, fame and fortune. [All laugh.] I’m kidding.
Sherri: But… you know what I mean?
Eric: And you just switched labels. So, I guess that’s a two part question: why leave Reprise, and what specifically drew you to Equal Vision?
Sherri: More like “Why stay?” is the question that you should be asking.
Chauntelle: There’s a long story connected to that, so in a nutshell, I guess…
Sherri: Some pretty kind of cliché, you know, band gets signed to the major label, and it gets wooed and then kind of just gets…
Stacy: Kind of ignored.
Sherri: …lost and ignored in the hustle and bustle of the big conglomerate company, you know? It’s kind of like if you’re not a pop star whose making platinum records and…
Chauntelle: Taking your clothes off…
Sherri: Yeah! Unless you are really making the big time, they don’t really give you the attention that you need to keep growing, and that’s kind of what happened.
Stacy: They basically told us, “We’re not necessarily going to drop you, but…
Sherri: “We’re not going to work your record.”
Stacy: “…things are not going to happen like you want them to.” So we just said, “Well, can we please just…
Stacy: …go somewhere else where the people are really gonna care about us.”
Chauntelle: And at first they said yes, and then they were like, “Wait, you owe us all this money.” And so it was just this big long tangly mess, but we finally got it all sorted out, and we luckily found Equal Vision, and they’re amazing.
Stacy: We got to keep our records.
Eric: How did you find them?
Chauntelle: I don’t know. We were just submitting our record out to other people. And they were like, we want to do it…
Eric: So you already had it recorded?
Sherri: We had done it while we were on Warner Brothers, but then when we were done, they kind of told us… Well, our A&R guy was really cool, and he had worked with us for years, and he was a big fan, so he was very honest with us.
Stacy: Great guy.
Sherri: Yeah, he’s a great guy, and he was kind of just like, “I gotta be honest, I love the record, but I don’t think the company’s gonna work it, so you guys should probably try to find a label that’s really passionate about your band.” So we were like, okay, if you’re saying that, you’re the A&R of the company…
Stacy: We trust you.
Sherri: …we should probably take your word for it. So we did, and Equal Vision is amazing.
Chauntelle: They were just on it. They were like entirely, the next week…
Chauntelle: …like, hang out with us.
Sherri: They’re so passionate about the music, and that’s all we want.
Eric: It’s funny, this is actually my third interview in a row with a band from that label.
Sherri: Equal Vision?
Chauntelle: No way!
Sherri: We’re blowing up.
All: Who? Who?
Eric: It was We Came As Romans and Texas in July.
All: Oh, cool, cool.
Sherri: Yeah, we haven’t really gotten to meet any of our… I mean, since we’re just now on the label, we haven’t really gotten to meet any of our labelmates.
Eric: Yeah, I can’t really see you touring with either of them.
Sherri: Yeah, no, we would never tour with, you know… mostly, there’s probably not any other bands we could tour with on the label because a lot of them, it’s, you know, hardcore, but it’s cool. There’s definitely a pretty broad range of bands.
Eric: Yeah, that’s fun. And the new album comes out March 1st. How would you compare it to stuff you’ve released in the past?
Chauntelle: It’s definitely more personal, as we say, in the lyrics. And more realistic. Maybe a little more gutsy, more rock.
Sherri: I think we’re not afraid to kind of be ourselves more on this record, more than ever. Cause, you know, we, when you’re first starting out, you know… I think really the second record is only when we got a lot of pressure to try and be a certain way on a major label. I love our second record, Combinations, but I can definitely tell… I listen to it, and there’s songs I don’t like. I did one on there that I was pushed to write a radio song for the label. And, that kind of stuff is just, ugh. It makes you, as a writer when you go back and listen to the project, you’re just kind of like… [A trumpet starts playing from the dressing room below, and a snicker moves around the room.] …“This is not what I wanted.” But this one is more… we did it ourselves. We produced it ourselves. We… you getting that horn in there?
[All break into laughter.]
Chauntelle: What is that?
Sherri: You’re here with Eisley.
[All still laughing.]
Sherri: Yeah, I don’t know what I’m saying anymore. It’s really all our own. We did it ourselves, and worked on it and produced it ourselves, so…
Eric: That’s great.
Chauntelle: Is that coming from outside?
Sherri: I don’t know what that is.
Eric: I sounds like it’s back, or… oh, it’s probably below us.
Sherri: I think it’s the other band, like an opening opening band that’s not usually been on the tour. Sounds good. [The opening act was Jessi Teich, a jazzy piano rock singer from Philly.]
Eric: You’ve been making music for ten years now, is that right? Close?
Chauntelle: Um, actually… Well, yes. We’ve been a band for about thirteen.
Sherri: But writing songs, writing music since then.
Chauntelle: Writing music since then, yeah.
Eric: How would you say that you’ve grown over that time?
Stacy: Musically or personally?
Eric: However you want to take it.
Chauntelle: We’ve definitely just been through some ups and downs personally, that were, you know, I think it definitely…
Sherri: It affects your music. It affects your writing always. Like whatever you’re going through personally at any phase in your life, it affects your songwriting.
Sherri: We’ve definitely become more self-assured as a band and as a team, and… [Trumpet starts playing again] …we work together much better now than we did a couple years ago. Everyone’s kind of…
[All fail at trying to hold back their laughter.]
Stacy: It’s like the background music for your interview.
[A few more laughs, and then all regain composure.]
Sherri: I think we’re less self-conscious, as far as the music industry goes.
Stacy: When we first got signed we were so young, and like Sherri said we were very wooed by everyone, and I think now [Starts to laugh as the trumpet continues to play.]
Sherri: [Claps twice, as if to say, “Keep focused.”]
Stacy: We’re not so much worried about meeting this expectation.
Sherri: Yeah, you’re not afraid of meeting other people’s expectations. You’re more set on meeting your own expectations.
Stacy: Like, doing what you were made to do, and set out to accomplish that.
Eric: So over that time, what would you say is your favorite Eisley song and favorite album?
Sherri: Ummm, favorite song…
Chauntelle: On the new record?
Chauntelle: Oh gosh, I don’t really know. That’s such a hard question.
Sherri: It really is.
Chauntelle: Honestly, I can’t really pick one off the new record. I mean, if I was forced to, then I would pick…
Stacy: I like “Sad.” Kind of fun.
Chauntelle: I like playing “Sad” because I get to play a guitar solo in it.
Stacy: I get to play guitar.
Sherri: Yeah, Stacy gets to play guitar in that one too. That one’s really fun to play live. I don’t think I have an all time favorite Eisley song. I mean… I just don’t.
Eric: Okay, that’s fine. I remember reading an interview or a feature story or whatever when your band was just starting out, and one of the things that stood out to me was that your parents were very involved then. Is that still the case?
Eric: I mean, obviously it’s not to the same level…
Sherri: Not to the same level. Definitely there’s still involvement. Like our dad still handles all the managing parts and the label and…
Sherri: Yeah, he’s very good at that kind of stuff, and everyone loves him. He’s great. And he helps a lot with the art and stuff, and websites, so it’s cool. You know, Mom is just there for us, she’s very supportive. She’s stable.
Stacy: Always supports us.
Sherri: They’re both very passionate about what we do, never been pushy. Just very supportive, which has been good.
Eric: That’s great.
Sherri: Not like stage parents, like, “You’re gonna get this! You’re gonna go out there, and you’re gonna do this! Get up there! I don’t care if you’re…” you know, blah blah blah. They’re cool.
Chauntelle: They’re not pageant moms.
Eric: I know at least two of you are married to someone who is also a touring musician.
All: [With a sigh.] Yeah…
Sherri: It sucks.
Stacy: Me and Sher… [Stacy is married to Darren King, drummer of Mutemath, and Sherri is married to Say Anything’s lead singer Max Bemis.]
Sherri: It doesn’t suck. It’s just…
Chauntelle: It’s just hard having to wait.
Stacy: It sucks living separate lives.
Sherri: You know, Chauntelle’s husband was smart. He figured out that he could tour manage us, so he could come with us and be with Chauntelle.
Chauntelle: He wasn’t in a band. He’s a luthier. He builds all our electric guitars, so when he’s not doing that he’s…
Stacy: He’s awesome to have on the road.
Chauntelle: I’m really lucky. I feel really bad that they don’t get to have their husbands…
Sherri: Oh, it’s okay. It’s just…
Stacy: No, we just joke.
Sherri: We totally both are so supportive of our husbands’ music too.
Stacy: I would never ask him to quit…
Sherri: And we’re both big fans, so no way.
Stacy: …Nor would he ask me.
Sherri: And it’s cool. I mean, whenever you’re not touring, and you can get time off together, you just can completely hang out with no nine-to-five responsibilities. You can just enjoy your time with each other. It evens out.
Stacy: I think it makes for an even more romantic relationship because there’s the being apart and then the coming together [Puts her arms out to motion coming back together with a hug.]
Sherri: [Laughs] It’s like never ending, but it’s the best way.
Eric: How long do you usually go without seeing each other?
Sherri: I haven’t seen my husband in like, three and a half weeks, probably. The longest I’ve gone is a month without seeing him, which is hard, but you make it work. You just constantly stay in touch…
Stacy: You reach your limit.
Sherri: …Like, don’t even go an hour or two without talking.
Stacy: The hardest part is probably not knowing how you’re gonna get to see each other again. Like, when is your next opportunity gonna be?
Sherri: Yeah, like this tour I wasn’t gonna see Max for the whole month, but then we found out he’s playing a show an hour away from where I’m playing a show tomorrow. So we’re gonna drive an hour out of the way; we’re gonna spend a few hours together, and we’re gonna…
Stacy: See, that’s what I’m saying…
Sherri: You just make it work. You just do little things, whatever you can do.
Stacy: It’s very exciting.
Eric: Okay, well that is all I had. Is there anything else that I missed, that’s going on that we should know about?
Sherri: Um, no. We’re gonna be touring, just non-stop touring this year for the new record.
Chauntelle: We’re playing some festivals.
Sherri: Yeah, doing some festivals. Just, you know, kids, keep coming to the shows. That’s all we can ask. That’s all we need, is just them to keep coming to shows and being supportive ‘cause there’s no reason to do it if no one’s coming.
Stacy: No reason at all.
Sherri: Really, I don’t want to travel across the world if no one wants to come see a show.
Chauntelle: It’s not worth it.
Sherri: Yeah, so…
Chauntelle: And the new record comes out March 1st. It’s called The Valley.
Eric: Alright, great. Thanks.
Sherri: Well thank you. I guess we’ll see you down there. We’ll be on in a little bit, are you gonna stick around for the show?
Eric: Yeah, definitely.
Sherri then turned to Chauntelle to ask if her cell phone case smelled like blueberries, because she just noticed the jellybean on the back of it. Chauntelle said it did and that her daughter gave it to her before she left for the tour. As I walked downstairs to the concert area, I saw an open door with a trumpet player inside.