90. profile: eternals

we're always thrilled to share new music with our readers, especially when it is a great local artist. eternals are boston-based and combining folky songs with dreamy synths, the four have been working on their second record and exploring new sounds in the studio. we sat down with singer/ songwriter stephen konrads to chat about the band's musical inspirations and to get some inside perspective on their upcoming record.

what has been your most recent unexpected source(s) of inspiration? 
we were finishing up our new record this last weekend. one of the songs we were working on has a shuffle feel, "everybody wants to rule the world" kind of vibe. our bassist wayne suggested we add a super, super clean guitar part. like on a quincy jones record. so we ended up plugging eric's guitar into a solid-state amp from the 80's and it made his guitar sound like glass. it was perfect. but i think two or three years ago, we would never had considered doing that.

what made you choose "out of context" as the first single from your upcoming lp? 
it's a digestible sample of the new sound we've been working on. in essence, it's a simple folk-rock inspired song. leo melanson's pedal steel parts are just gorgeous. the versions that we had early on in tracking with just that and the band sounded great. then i added some generative noise and a really bright sounding synth. it's a pretty constant song dynamically, and i think you can get lost in it's lushness.

what was the inspiration for your recent single artwork?  
i love how artist ben styer uses really vibrant, warm colors against black backgrounds. the erupting volcanos in the artwork for "out of context" remind me of the higher frequency synths that we used. there's a real honesty and immediacy to his art, and i think we try to achieve the same thing. if you don't follow his instagram, you should.

this is eternals second record. how did this album differ from the first in terms of process, recording, and outcome? 
on the first record, i had a lot of the arrangements planned out prior to production. some of our new songs went through two or three completely different arrangement before we settled on one to record. the process has been very collaborative and very creative.

what kinds of sounds/feelings do you pursue in your music? 
on this record we were trying to strike a balance between the more natural sounds of the four of us playing in a room and the synthetic and hybrid sounds i've been messing around with. we wanted to make something that sounds expansive, but still sounds achievable by four people.

who are some of your major sources of musical inspiration and why? 
we definitely take a lot of cues from records that were recorded before we were born. it's pretty hard to deny that influence because those records work. this last winter, i was listening to a lot of ambient, stagnant music. that personally influenced my approach on the synthetic elements of the record, but it doesn't really define it though. those textural elements are there, but we're using them to serve a song. that's the thing that comes first.

how do you see the band's music changing over time? 
now that this record is really done, it gives us a lot of freedom to mess around with new ideas. we'll probably learn a bunch of covers and mess around with new gear and new instruments. but yeah, it's hard to say what that means in terms of evolving the sound. we put a lot of energy into these songs and making them sound right. maybe we won't change a thing.

what would be eternals' dream project? 
collaborating with an artist who made records in the 60's and 70's. like how mavis staples has been making records with jeff tweedy. there are so many great records like that that have come out in the last few years. i think we all wish we were the ones playing sideman and cowriting the tunes. if we can't do that, i guess we'll settle for a split 7" with steely dan.

what is the best piece of creative advice you've ever been given?  
i had a teacher who taught me how important it was to go into writing with an idea in mind. it could be something really simple like a rhythm or a feeling. or you might have a larger concept you want to tackle. i think that's always been really helpful for me.

what is the best piece of creative advice you have to give?
first thought, best thought.

take a listen to the new single "out of context" here and be sure to follow eternals for the next chance to catch these guys at an upcoming show.

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