Through the generous help of their friends and fans, Kim and Alice of Eagle and Talon celebrated the victory of raising over $5,000 via Kickstarter to release their new EP, In Manila, on their very own record label BI/AKKA RECORDS. The album is available to the public on a limited pressing of 700 CDs and the music may as well be the soundtrack to a crazy celebration of the fact that yes, art fans do come together to support the creators.
On Eagle and Talon’s previous release, Thracian, the self proclaimed “leotardrock” duo began to experiment with garnishing their angular indie-pop with primitive electro devices. This trend continued in the writing of In Manila, maturing into glossy, tropical jams that still stay true to Eagle and Talon’s talent for pop songwriting. The production is crystal clear on this record, showcasing both Kim and Alice’s golden vocal talents. It is light and airy and oh so catchy. Title track “In Manila” bounces in with great energy encompassed by a wave of vintage keyboards and disco beats. The album’s moodiest song “Modified My Knife” is in perfect contrast to the dance numbers and is a nostalgic look into Eagle and Talon’s musical past.
Kim and Alice have never been the type of band to stand still in one niche sound and are continuing to move forward. We had the chance to chat about their partnership and what is next for the band.
Your sound has surely evolved over the years from being more of a rock band to more pop. How would you describe your music’s growth?
KIM: If I had to pick one word to describe our music’s growth, I would use the word organic. The
changes our sound has endured recently are all a result of the band’s dynamic changing. We also
arranged and wrote much more collaboratively on this release than in the past. On “Cares” and “Thracian,” most of the time I would bring a completed song to Alice and she would add her parts and we would arrange/produce the tracks together. This time the approach was us meeting closer to the middle, that’s probably why it sounds different. The music was created within a different balance.
What changes have you seen in your inspiration over the years?
KIM: If I had to generalize I would say my inspiration in writing went from personal issues to more general issues (culture/cities/human constructs). Then on “In Manila” I was mostly inspired by being broken down, frustrated and laying wrongful blame. Fun times!
What prompted you to experiment with different instrumentation?
KIM: Necessity. The songs were empty with just keyboards and drums; they needed more. This became especially obvious to us when we tried to play those songs live. It simply didn’t work without all of the other parts.
What was the songwriting process for In Manilla? Recording? How does it compare to previous works?
KIM: Like I mentioned, most of the songs came together while we were in the same room, so that
was a change for us. We mostly tracked with our friend/favorite engineer, Pete Min. He is very patient with our extensive in-studio experimentation, which is a huge gift. Some engineers we’ve worked with haven’t liked that side of us so much. Also, on this record we changed up the production a bit by adding horns, violin, combining live drums with imitation drum sounds and man vocals by Reggie Watts to help color things in.
How did the record label concept come along?
KIM: I had wanted to start a label for a while and we wanted to remain independent, so it just seemed like the right time. We were not looking for outside labels to release “In Manila” so it just made sense. Also, we were in a bit of a rocky place in our partnership, so I thought it would be a good way to seal what we had together.
What’s the story behind the name BI/AKKA?
KIM: Again, kind of a result of what was happening within the band but in title, a way to bind us. BI = the two of us, and “A” & “K” are the first initials of our names, pretty simple. The name suddenly came to me and eventually Alice agreed to it!
Do you plan to sign other artists?
KIM: Yes, there are a few bands we would love to sign. We have been very busy with the “In Manila” release. Once that settles down and we can afford to we would definitely like to sign some bands that we’re fans of that need help getting their music out. The only other records we’re releasing at this time are by one of our favorite LA bands, Anchors for Architects.
What inspired the AMBIENT KARAOKE PARTYTIME project?
ALICE: It’s fun to sneak outside E&T’s amniotic sac once in a while and let the songs interact with outside elements. Also, I kind of hate how lipsyncing is the standard when you make a music video. It works but I’ve always wanted to make one where you’re hearing some live sounds or seeing the singer actually singing in real space, real time. “I Want Everything” was the perfect specimen because it’s our one and only instrumental song. So, we just invited a bunch of our most unsavory friends to sing, play, and bathe over the original.
How did you find the artists? What were some of the covers that surprised you the most?
ALICE: We had tryouts. Actually no, they’re all just friends who are amazing musicians in their
own right. It was pretty great to see what everybody came up with, though nothing was really surprising. I mean, our friends are weirdos, we know we can’t control them. I will say I was surprised by what a great sport my mom is (she plays wine glass in the Mentor & Protege video). I should also mention that Fort King actually recorded a really pretty studio version of the song which you can hear here:
What’s next for Eagle and Talon?
KIM: We would both love to tour again soon if any great opportunities come up, so we are
waiting to see what happens on that front. In the meantime, Alice and I are taking a little vacation
from the band and are working on other projects). Alice is in New York doing a recording project with the incredibly talented Kono Michi and I am currently playing with LA based band “Traps PS.” Alice and I have spent piles of time making music exclusively with each other, so we think this pause will be a creatively productive one for the band.
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