In addition to WWJD, the site also features such diverse acts as surf/flamenco fusionists, The Good The Bad; critically acclaimed trance-poppers Warpaint; ambient experimentalists Rumour Cubes; Canadian electronica combo Holy Fuck; and the wholly unique Adebisi Shank. Not content to sit back on their verdant laurels, EyeSeeSound has recently undertaken a thorough restructuring of their site, making it more user friendly and all around groovy than ever. I caught up with site honcho Julian Bowman to learn more:
DICK: The new site looks impressive – tell us a little about the changes.
JULES: We've given our site a facelift and paid for a new bespoke video player which allows us to sub-categorise all our different sections into genres which makes the site easier to use. It has also been streamlined and simplified and is now basically a little haven for discovering great new independent and DIY music, short film/animation, as well as – hopefully – to be entertained.
We feel – in fact, we know that no-one is doing what we are doing the way we are doing it, both in terms of execution and ethos. There are sites out there that offer access to unsigned bands but they are all open to anyone in the hope that quantity brings traffic, and so there is no quality control. If you spend 30 minutes on our site you'll discover a whole load of great songs and bands you've never heard before because we have quality control – even if that is based on our own tastes.
DICK: EyeSeeSound has always been inherently visual, could you explain a little about these formats for those poor souls who are not yet familiar with the site?
JULES: Yes, the visual element is important to us, not least because I'm a film maker and Simon is a graphic designer and motion animator. But also because in the modern day there is no excuse for not being able to see and/or hear a new band on the web, rather than having to simply rely on someone's subjective opinion.
Formats on the site include a 25 minute web TV show based around irreverent comedy, music, short film and other little bits and bobs (which we've just been asked to deliver via Paradigm Shift on Sky channel 202, which is kind of exciting). The ‘Live Sessions’ are recorded by us using five cameras with high quality audio and edited and graded to make them look more than a cut above the quality level of anything other than live shows recorded at high cost. ‘HeadsUp’ offers snapshots of three great songs based around a genre so in under eight minutes you can find something new, and all the music videos featured in different formats are also hosted in full.
We have seven track mix tapes based around genre, again to present something new in a style the user will like and a 60 minute podcast which is irreverent comical chat mixed with great music. There is also a featured album which is streamed in full on a rather cute pop-up mp3 player, another pop-up player offering a 20 track compilation of featured tracks, both of which change every couple of weeks. We also have a pop up player playing every single song on the website in true shuffle mode so you only hear each song once, and songs are added to this every week.
There are other good things too, but I'm bored of saying this – so your readers are probably even more bored of reading it. There's lots of stuff. Come and see.
DICK: The site is also a good place to find interesting free downloads...
JULES: Yeah, we have a free 12 track download album of donated studio tracks by bands, complete with artwork in template form so you can print it off and make a CD, with a new 12 track live session free download album almost ready and a second studio one in Spring. Free legal great music.
We're also going to have links to other great free music we find, for example by a band called Clown Parlour from Ireland who have given their really rather good debut for free via Bandcamp. Again, this section won't be a free for all or have links for the sake of it, but will be to EPs and LPs we really like – so again, quality controlled.
DICK: The site features a broad range of genres, what would you say was the sites unifying ethos?
JULES: The short answer is a true love of real music. And a championing of the underdog.
The longer more convoluted answer is because we believe in the independent and DIY scene and were frustrated that there weren't many outlets for bands who were great that didn't have a PR company behind them, or didn't know the right people in the press. We know that you, the user, can, if you have the time and inclination, scour MySpace etc to find new bands but it is exhausting doing that. We also know there are sites like Spotify that 'recommend' other bands that are similar, but again these sites are weighted heavily towards established bands and the whole back-slapping mentality of the music business.
So, we have created a space, an online Media channel, that is only for lesser known and unknown bands, but we retain a quality control because we find and choose to feature bands, rather than letting bands upload their content. We do the legwork on MySpace etc., so other people can just stop by and know that in 20 or 30 minutes they've discovered something great.
We were once called ‘fairy godmothers to independent bands’ because we go out of our way and put our hands in our pockets to champion and support truly independent and DIY music. That was very flattering and a lovely testament to what we're trying to do. And despite what we've done over the last two years taking up serious amounts of our lives and costing us a small fortune, we not only don't regret a single thing but truly believe that www.eyeseesound.tv is both important and necessary for real music lovers.
DICK: What would you say to encourage the nervous and shy to visit EyeSeeSound?
JULES: Visit us once a fortnight, once a month and you'll enjoy your visit and find something you love. And if you support those bands you discover by buying their (usually low priced) CD, DVD, mp3s etc., then you've something great for a small cost and you've helped keep real music alive. Oh, and we kiss well.
Interview by Dick Porter 27/01/11
Images taken from the web site