February 22, 2007

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Drums, beware
Harder rockers give slamming stage show
By Erica Febre efebre@hippopress.com

Sometimes it can take a while to find a group of musicians who can all work well together.

For Ellis Eye, based in Manchester, the material has been in the making for more than two years, waiting for the right match

“I went through quite a couple different members and a couple of different band names over the years. I even did some acoustic solo gigs, just to figure out more what my sound was,” guitarist Andrew Castellucci said.

After turning over a few members and finally finding two matches, Ellis Eye is hitting the scene full force.

Ellis Eye is Castellucci on guitar and lead vocals, John Dascoulias on bass and Aaron Hutto on drums.

“The ’90s alternative has a very big influence over the music. Andrew and I both are very big grunge fans and it definitely reflects in the music. The stuff that we’re known for is the harder alternative, edgy rock. But a lot of our new stuff has been moving into a more ambient sound, a little more Pink Floyd influenced at points, mixed with punk,” Hutto said.

Ellis Eye aims toward alternative hard rock but they avoid getting into the seven-minute epics sometimes typical of hardcore metal and rock bands.

“This is definitely one of the harder sounds I’ve had. But I still try to keep it as dynamic as I can, without getting too busy or distracting. A lot of technical drummers are just distractions. I analyze the music and have specific drum parts, instead of just thrashing through the song,” Hutto said.

Ellis Eye can play within the dynamics of a hardcore rock band but they prefer the elements of constantly changing dynamics — clean slower verses, then very fast at some parts, or sometimes heavier distortions and choruses.

“I’m a very simple guitar player. I write simple riffs. I focus more on my voice than my guitar,” Castellucci said.

“A lot of metal bands are just straight up distortion every song — hard, heavy, heavy, complex times all the time. But we change it and mix it up,” Castellucci said.

Castellucci also said they’ve seen way too many rock bands in their time that take the stage and do nothing but stand there, as if there were no audience.

“Dynamics and stage presence are both very important. That’s what keeps your attention. The dynamics are prominent. It goes back and forth, from clean, distorted slow to fast, distorted hard, at a moment’s notice,” Castellucci said.

You’ll never see Castellucci standing still on stage. In fact, chances are he’ll most likely be slamming himself through Hutto’s drum kit, which he’s done on several occasions. (Hutto said he had to replace that drum set, which he’s had for more than 10 years now, and he swears to keep Castellucci away from the new one.)

Ellis Eye plans to release a debut album in the spring, Disassociate.

I heart Eye
Who:
Ellis Eye
When: Friday, March 9, at Mark’s Rock Club w/ Mongrel, Skulltoboggan, Hollow Image, Automatons, Wretched Asylum and Terror in the Midnight Sun; Monday, March 19, at The Steppin’ Out Lounge w/ Mongrel and Blitzkid
Where: Mark’s Rock Club, 390 S. River Rd., Bedford; The Steppin’ Out Lounge, 342 Lincoln St., Manchester
For more information: A complete schedule and song samples are available at myspace.com/elliseye.