Eyes of Others, the studio alias of Edinburgh based John Bryden, a self-christened ‘post-pub couldn’t get in the club’ producer, have today shared the video for “Once, Twice, Thrice”, the latest track to be taken from their self-titled debut album, which will be released on Heavenly Recordings on May 19.
Talking about the track, John said: “Once Twice Thrice is a series of skirmishes I had with a cheap and nasty deodorant, not once, not twice, but thrice. I thought I smelled good but I didn’t. I never learned and lost loves over it. Once, Twice, Thrice is a tale of love’s contempt for itself.”
Having announced their signing to the label last November with the release of a 10” vinyl-only 6-track EP, Bewitched By The Flames, which sold out immediately through independent shops and mail order, the beautiful video for this latest track is the final in a trilogy directed by Niall Trask following “New Hair New Me” and “Big Companies, Large Tentacles“.
Once again shot somewhere in Norway by Rob Jarvis, John said about the video which sees him immersed in an ice hole for the duration of the song: “This video began as the mad and bad idea of our Norwegian host at The Betty Fjord Clinic – Simon. He had a mate who had an ice hole in one of the neighboring lakes. Niall phoned me up in advance of the trip, asking if I’d be up for getting in the water for the duration of the video. I said yes, yes I do my own stunts. Niall was brief and to the point with his instructions. I repeated to myself my ‘don’t worry about it’ mantra and slipped into the water. It didn’t feel cold, it didn’t feel like water as I’d known it before. And in 4 and half minutes we were done.”
Marrying the anything-goes, freestyle magpie tendencies of Beck and The Beta Band to the electronic stylings of primetime 80s New Order by way of the spacious moods conjured by King Tubby, Eyes of Others debut’s whimsical demeanor is the perfect sonic balm to the utter confusion of the outside world. As is its sense of almost Balearic musical freedom. Such a mindset is fundamental to the music according to Bryden.
“In so much of life you don’t feel free,” he laments. “There’s so many varying constraints and music is the place where you can do what you like. That’s your space for expressing yourself. I suppose I feel a bit emotionally repressed in some ways. In music I can react to the things in life that I find difficult, reincarnate those messy feelings, and create my own world within a world.”
The bewildering qualities of modern life are also neatly – if somewhat inadvertently – captured in the name. His first release under the moniker came in 2017 with the I See You in the Shrubs 12-inch (replete with a magical reworking by one Andrew Weatherall) on local Edinburgh label Paradise Palms. Prior to its release he had a few names vying for contention until he eventually hit upon Eyes of Others.
“I’d obviously seen it or read it somewhere,” he recalls. “It just felt right. You can read different things into it. Particularly the way we use online stuff, we’re always judging other people and looking at one another through each other’s eyes and all this stuff.”
The challenge of meeting his vision of musical freedom has not only been met on the album, but expectations have been exceeded. Coming in at a brisk 41 minutes, the album reveals its manifold charms immediately, but also does so in a meandering, nuanced and irreverent fashion
“I was thinking where’s my spot?” Bryden reflects about the pick & mix quality of the album. “The music is later than a gig but it’s not full-on early morning club fare. It’s the in-between space where I was imagining where my music works.”
But his beguiling tunes are perfect for the music soundtracking the afters too. As the dawn breaks and the sun begins to rise. “Maybe there aren’t enough venues opening at 7am!” he laughs, before quickly adding: “I don’t think it will catch on unfortunately.”