By Sean O’Grady


It has been a busy 2016 for South Australian blues band Lazy Eye, beginning with a trip to Memphis to represent their home state in the International Blues Challenge, where they reached the quarter finals. To top it all off they performed at the famed B.B King Blues club on Beale Street. Riding high from their time at the home of the Blues the three piece returned home with the novel idea of recording their fourth album in the studio in front of an invited audience. Pocket The Black captures the bands’ incendiary live sound, each track is superbly crafted and the band revel in their surrounds.


Talking with the Northsider, guitarist Erica Graf spoke about the genesis of recording their new studio album in front of an audience.


“We were thinking of doing something different, we had been thinking of recording a live album. Then we thought why don’t we open the studio doors and sell a few tickets to people who were followers of the band. It was also an opportunity to show people who aren’t musicians what it’s like to record in a studio.”


Pocket The Black brims with raw energy and Erica discussed the enthusiastic response that the audience brought to the sessions. “It gave people who aren’t musicians the opportunity to come into a real recording session and it was fantastic for us to do that. We didn’t realise how excited they would be to see that and I think that helped generate some of the energy you can hear on the album.”


Recording a studio album in front of a live audience comes with its own challenges and I asked guitarist Erica Graf how they approached the task of crafting the songs in a live context but within the four walls of a recording studio.


“In a normal studio process if you have to stop halfway through a take then that’s what you do. But we weren’t able to do that so were incredibly well rehearsed! We did 5 one hour sessions over a couple of nights so we only had five opportunities to get a good take, there was a fair bit of pressure so we had to be organised. We had to be very focused playing in front of an audience, but we are really happy with the results.”


I asked Erica about the writing process for the album and how the band built the melodic grooves that are a highlight of the new album.


“Evan Whetter is the key songwriter, he writes the lyrics and most of the music. Mario and I write our instrumental parts. Sometimes I’ll come up with a groove and we will build upon that. The arrangements really come from playing live, they tend to evolve when we play them live.”


The groups’ trip to Memphis gave them a unique opportunity to perform at the birthplace of the blues, as Erica explained.


“It was incredible the Blues Foundation run an annual International Blues Challenge. Blues associations and clubs from around the world send their local acts to compete. Huge opportunities come if you win, playing major blues festivals and supporting artists like Buddy Guy.


“It was out first time playing in the U.S, it was a pleasant experience the American crowds are right with you, they show you how much fun they are having. All three of us are huge B.B King fans, it was probably our favourite performance whilst we were over there.”


With momentum from Pocket The Black building,  Lazy Eye are hitting the road.  You will be able to catch them in Melbourne and surrounds through October and November. Pocket The Black is out now.

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