Shallou, Hazey Eyes
Shallou is an experimental electronic act formed in March 2014 in New Orleans where he attended college. He was inspired to create electronic music in a city where it is extremely underrepresented. He released his first track, "Waves" in March 2014, receiving attention from Yours Truly and Hype Machine blogs. Shallou was asked to do an official remix for the indie pop/rock artist Andrew Belle, released in October 2014. He has since been supported by Fader, Earmilk, Indie Shuffle and other major blogs. While working on his first EP, he has done remixes for Cruisr and Miamigo. His track "Surface" has crossed over 100k plays since being premiered by Fader in April.
There's a certain power to music, a magic that allows the listener to be transported into a new place where their fears and needs are understood. Itǯs that spellbinding quality thatǯs at the root of Hazey Eyes and his new EP, ǮSome Reasonǯ, a record thatǯs as much a comfort blanket as it is a cushion to sit back and reflect on past and future experiences. Growing up between Philadelphia and New Jersey, the twenty-one year old artist is classically trained in a slew of instruments: from violin to piano to upright bass. DzWhen I was a kid I hated practicing,dz Thomas explains, but he was pushed onward by a musical family (his dad plays saxophone, clarinet and piano) eventually ending up being rated in the Top 5 players in his state. Music began early for Hazey Eyes. As well as his work in the classical world, in high school he formed a heavy metal band. Though itǯs a far cry from the subtle, relaxing sound he makes now, the name Hazey Eyes is a subtle nod to his heavier background –itǯs taken from a lyric in the first chorus on Taking Back Sundayǯs debut album. Once high school was over Thomas moved to university, where he studied to become an electrical engineer. At this point the EDM bubble in the United States had yet to burst and he became entrenched in the burgeoning scene. DzI started producing with my metal band but I didnǯt try any other instrumentation beside guitar bass and drums. When I went to college I heard electronic music and it changed my palette.dzThough there are subtle nods to his electronic background in the music, Hazey Eyes sits in a place of his own – one of comforting reflection, somewhere between the hours when night time begins and the day ends, all compliment with strings hinting at his orchestral background. DzWriting music is a way for me to blow off steam,dz he says. DzI come home from work and play the piano and see what comes out. I donǯt open Ableton with a goal in mind. I think itǯs really important to let my ears guide me.dzThe result is an EP centered firmly in the realm of heartbreak. DzItǯs focused on relationships, the darker side of them,dz Thomas says, hinting at each of the tracks on the record. Dz If you know me personally Iǯm an upbeat person but this is the outlet for when Iǯm by myself, personal reflecting on things. Itǯs a little bit of reflection in the darkness.dzCompleted with a selection of vocalists Thomas scouted out via Soundcloud –DzI take pride in the random messages I send on theredz–itǯs a record of full vision, coloured with the shifting pain and revelation that comes with being heartbroken and left to pick up the pieces of something thatǯs been lost. Title track DzSome Reasondz, featuring FEELDS, is at the root of the fall out. DzLet something be my light,dz he sings above a subtle rhythm that slowly builds into an emotional crescendo. Itǯs not exactly EDM as anyone has known it before, itǯs a slightly different moniker: Emotional Dance Music. Finger clicks, synths, piano, cymbals, everything builds to the final statement: Dzfor some damn reasondz. DzMy first EP I didnǯt get a chance to work with any vocalists,dz Thomas says of his decision to bring singers on board. DzIǯm a lot more interested these days in the whole meaning of a song, the story they have and the message they can portray.dzAs the EP builds we begin to get a sense of the changing emotion with third track DzSkylinedz seeing singer Claire Ridgely ask to be Dzlifted up above the skylinedz. Itǯs a uniquely euphoric moment, tinged with the sadness of the past and a desire to be moved forward. Meanwhile closing track DzRun Fordz– which Thomas created on Christmas Day and features Violet Skies – ends with a satisfying and triumphant conclusion, a powerful knowledge about a relationshipǯs end, sandwiched between orchestral strings. Life can often throw curveballs, upending a once-pleasant situation and clouding it with darkness. In these times the music of Hazey Eyes is important: a way to feel less alone, to reconsider things, to even find a kind of happy solace in the sadness – all of which is important to move forward. Part of that comes from his heavy metal background, some of it comes from his dabbling with EDM. Ultimately however, this is a new sound, a new feeling – a fresh light on the world.