Get To Know The Lazy Eyes
This Australian four-piece is bringing back psychedelic rock.
I’m prepared to give you an opportunity quite prized amongst the hoity-toity music scene: the chance to get in with a band before they blow up. The group in question is an Australian four-piece called The Lazy Eyes. There’s Harvey Geraghty on keys, guitar, and vocals. He’s the one with bleach blonde hair and the shaggiest cut (which in this band is a highly competitive race). Itay Shachar, who sings and plays guitar, is making a strong case for guys to start rocking bobs, bangs included. Noah Martin, the drummer, somehow found a way to combine a bowl cut with a mullet while Leon Karagic, the bassist and most recent addition, is strongly reinforcing their allegiance to striped tees.
In theory, four 20-year-olds with wild hair and gym shoes trying to evoke 60s era psychedelia sounds iffy. That is, until you listen to one of their songs and realize it is honest-to-god really good. Not in a retro-copycat way, either. The Lazy Eyes, for all their vintage flair, hold their own as an entirely modern act. Put all together, the styling choices exude a hip, youthful earnestness that wouldn’t be out of place in a Brooklyn club.
The boys met as teens at school just outside Sydney, where they formed The Lazy Eyes. Now with one EP out and another on the way (set to drop next spring), they’re playing their first headlining shows across Australia. “Cheesy Love Song,” their aptly-named, mellow first track blends effortlessly with the more upbeat “Where’s My Brain???” I caught up with the band on Zoom recently, with each calling in from their separate homes. Even if the world has gone online, I had to know what it’s like for them to be “one to watch.”
I would love to hear a little bit of what your friends from home think of you guys actually playing shows and doing the band thing.
Harvey: I feel like they’re just really wigged out or confused sometimes. Like the other day, Elton John played us on his radio show and I sent it to one of my friends and he was like, “Is that the real real Elton John?” And we were both just like laughing about it like WTF.
Leon: Yeah, cause I remember Itay sent me a screenshot of some Instagram post and I’m like, “Surely that’s not real.”
Noah: I woke up to that message and I was like “What?” So random.
Noah: I feel like our friends and family are definitely excited, but another thing is like, a lot of our friends are musicians as well. They’ve just seen us play music like they have, so it’s just kinda like same old, same old, but we’re getting more traction.
Harvey: Supportive friends and family for sure.
So your parents are like, “Yes, go pursue your music dreams.” Or are they like, “But also maybe apply to some colleges and keep that on the back burner?”
Itay: Our parents are so important. Cause for ages, when we wanted to play shows, we were under age, so we couldn’t even do it without them. And we didn’t have our driving licenses, so they had to chauffeur us to the shows and help us out.
Harvey: And they still do that.
About your shows, are you super picky about things like where songs are in the set list or do you think about how to create energy at shows? What are the conversations like before going on stage?
Harvey: I feel like we’ve been playing these songs for so long that we’ve probably tried the set in like every different formation it can be. So we kind of tend to lean towards like this set list that like, you know, it seems to flow the best these days, but it, it kinda changes a little bit and—
Noah: I feel like we’re not super picky, but we are super picky?
Harvey: Yeah, just write that! We do a pre show ritual. Aw, can’t really explain it through words though.
Itay: It’s confidential. It’s a musical, uh, chakra alignment.
Okay, um, very informative.
I did read that you guys aren’t the biggest fan of the first EP now just cause it’s pretty old. How do you think you’ve changed your sound since then?
Harvey: It’s pretty much just, like I said, we were in the middle of high school when we did the first ones. We were just kind of learning how to record during that. So you would expect for us to, you know, get a little bit more experienced after that. It’s like with anything, like if you start painting or something, you’re gonna look back at your first paintings and think it’s terrible, you know? But we still like the charm that it has. It’s just like, now we know we can do a little bit of a better job, but we still enjoy the nostalgia of it.
It was funny when I read that because I think it’s such a good EP. It’s always kind of funny to hear how musicians feel about their own music and how it differs from when you’re listening to it. Who do you guys listen to that you think influences your sound?
Itay: Leon, I feel like you haven’t answered much yet.
Is he the person with really good music taste?
Leon: Yeah. They tend to like, I mean, I haven’t done many of these yet, but whenever there’s a music question, they pass it on to me. I tend to try to listen to a lot of different things, but I’d say consistently I really enjoy newer manifestations of like a psychedelic sound. So bands like Flaming Lips, Animal Collective, of Montreal, that sort of thing where it just uses a lot of wacky synths and technology and I don’t know, just more of an explosive sound.
Harvey: Nailed it.
You know, I’m from Chicago and I know kind of what the music scene is there, but I’ve never been to Australia and I would just love to hear what the music scene is like in Sydney, what kind of music your friends are making.
Leon: When I think about friends of mine that are in bands, it does vary quite a bit. I would say that there are a few bands that I really like right now in Sydney that are in a bit of a sixties revivalism hearkening back to, or even like seventies, sort of smooth rock. This band that opened for us during our Sydney shows not so long ago, they’re called Noodle House. They kind of harken back to things like Steely Dan and, uh, what other bands would you guys say?
Harvey: I don’t know, like America or something?
Leon: Yeah, Americana, which is kind of funny considering we’re trying to describe the Australian music scene. There’s quite a few bands around like that, kind of bringing back these sorts of aesthetics, but by the same token, I have friends that are in bands that are more towards the post-punk end of things, a bit noisier and harsher. I’m not sure if it’s living on too much now, but it had this sink or like egg punk, which is, you know, bands like R.M.F.C. It’s just very sort of rudimentary, back to the basics. Like, you know, just hammering away at the drums and guitars, kind of along the same vein as Ty Seagal.
Noah: I would definitely say that in Australia there’s a heavy indie scene. The main radio station here is Triple J. There’s a lot of indie rock that gets played, not singer-songwriter, but just very simple, sing along type stuff, which is cool. I feel like that’s pretty prominent.
Are there any places where you and your friends would play, like small venues?
Harvey: Well, we went to school in Newtown, which is really lucky because only when we turned like 18, did we realize that that was like the most happening suburb where people go out these days. It’s got a bunch of venues down the street, so we’ve done the pub crawl down there, or the gig crawl I guess. Even if it’s just like just two speakers, it could be a stage, which we’ve definitely played before as well. Some of our best venues would be like the Lansdowne. Um, maybe just the Lansdowne.
Leon: And that’s just outside of Newtown.
And how big are the shows that you’re playing now around Australia?
Harvey: The capacity is like a hundred to 150.
Noah: I would say a hundred to 200, nationally.
Leon: A lot of venues have cut the capacity, usually in half, because of current COVID restrictions.
Harvey: So you’ve got to dance in your seat these days.
Leon: But it’s kind of interesting because each state has very different regulations and stuff. So in Sydney and New South Wales, all shows have to be sitting down and it is really weird to play to a crowd like that. But when we played Melbourne about two weeks ago, in Victoria, the state that Melbourne’s in, they allow you to stand up in the gig, but the only catch is that you have to wear a mask unless you’re drinking. But since everyone at the gigs already has a drink in hand, no one had a mask on standing up. So it was like playing a normal show. It was really surreal for us coming from Sydney where we’ve been stuck and any gig we’d go to, we’d be sitting down.
Noah: It was very, uh, weird.
Check out the band’s latest single below.