Yesterday, in an attempt to assemble the necessary funding to press their next full-length to vinyl, Brooklyn-based heavy psych/doom trio Eggnogg launched a Kickstarter campaign. The album they’re looking to press is called You’re all Invited, and it’ll be the youngin’ act’s third behind 2010′s The Three, 2011′s excellent Moments in Vacuum (review here) and the two EPs Nogg and this summer’s Louis (review here). Atmospherically, Eggnogg‘s songs vary almost on a track-by-track basis — as Louis demonstrates — but overall, the band’s sound is forged in weighted doom tonality, stoner-funk groove, grunge-derived melodies and a quirky psychedelic oddness that’s fast becoming a defining element.
Underneath it all, however, is a core of strangely infectious songwriting. Eggnogg tracks are slow burners, but before too long, you find yourself humming along to bassist/vocalist Bill O’Sullivan‘s guttural bluesy delivery, or nodding along to any number of Justin Karol‘s riffy hooks. O’Sullivan and Karol (who also provides the band’s distinct artwork) make up the creative core of the band, but drummer Ryan Quinn has a large role to play as well, holding together their extended jams — and no doubt that will remain true on You’re all Invited as well, the first side of which is a five-part, 22-minute single track.
While raking in the dough necessary to press the album and preparing to send out a slew of donation gifts (including, for someone who pledges two grand, eating every item on a McDonald’s menu), Eggnogg will also be performing alongside Borracho, Valley of the Sun, Summoner and Shock Radar at Heavy Planet’s CMJ showcase, set to take place Oct. 18 at Fontana’s in Manhattan. In light of that, the Kickstarter, the band’s affection for song titles that end in “-og,” and the recent Brooklyn gig I was lucky enough to catch, it seemed only too prudent to hit up O’Sullivan with Six Dumb Questions, so that’s exactly what I did.
You’ll find his responses below. Please enjoy:
1. Tell me about how the band got together. When did you move from Utica to Brooklyn, and how did you get started jamming?
Justin, Quinn and I attended the same school from first grade onward, and in ninth grade we started jamming together, playing under the name Armada. Armada played instrumental compositions that Justin and I had wrote, but it wasn’t long before I started writing lyrics, and we decided to take on the new name GonZo to reflect the change in our sound. GonZo played throughout high school, and during this time we wrote a lot of the songs that we would later record and release as EGGNOGG.
By searching the internet, we realized too many musical acts were using the name Gonzo and that we needed to differentiate ourselves. In 2009 we decided to rename ourselves EGGNOGG (GonZo reversed is Oznog, which sounded close enough to Eggnog, to which we added an extra “g” for symmetry). The record that was initially going to be titled GonZo Demo III was retitled EGGNOGG’s The Three.
In August 2009 I moved from the Utica, New York, area to Brooklyn. I returned to Central New York State for the summer of 2010, during which time we recorded Moments in Vacuum. Operating a band at such a distance was very straining at times, but we persevered and managed to finish our second album, as well as the Nogg EP and most of Louis during that period, despite the inconvenience. Justin moved down to New York City in May of 2012, and since then we’ve been hard at work completing our new album, You’re all Invited. We’ve got the band going full-force again, centered down here in Brooklyn now.
2. What was the recording process for the Louis EP? Are you aware that the three opening songs on the releases since the first EP have rhymed with the band’s name? Is that on purpose, and was there anything you wanted to do differently with Louis than you did on Moments in Vacuum? Is there a particular Louis the EP is named for?
Justin and Quinn tracked the drums and some of the guitars for Louis Upstate in the Spring of 2012, and we did the rest down here in Bushwick. Most of the songs on Louis were written during the GonZo days, and we took the opportunity to rerecord them knowing what we know now.
Interestingly enough, the song “Baras Mogg” was a live staple of ours back in 2006, long before we ever had the idea to name ourselves EGGNOGG. The song title “Bog” is a Nadsat word, and “Magog” is a biblical figure. A historical ancestor of mine was named Morty Og O’Sullivan. So maybe the “og” is in my blood — it’s an interesting syllable to me, and the choice to name the band EGGNOGG had nothing to do with the word’s meaning, but rather, its phonetic sound.
Louis was intended to be a much shorter, easier listen than Moments in Vacuum. Louis is named after our old bassist from the GonZo days.
3. Each Eggnogg release seems to have its own personality. Not that they’re all so different, but it in listening, you can hear different sides of the band’s sound being played up, either consciously or not. What’s in store for You’re all Invited?
We don’t want to repeat ourselves. I’ve always made a conscious effort to write music that sounds new to me, and I have no interest in writing songs that sound the same. Each album has its own sound, and we are always trying to do something new while making sure that it fits within the context of our previous work. I think we’ve succeeded in doing this with You’re all Invited.
You’re all Invited is very heavy — in my opinion, the heaviest music we’ve made so far. But like our other albums, it will have a lot dynamics, and plenty of laid back, melodic parts to contrast with the sludgy riffs. The whole record will flow together and transition smoothly, as if it were all one extended piece. This is different from Moments in Vacuum, I think, because with Moments in Vacuum, every song had a very definite beginning and end, and each song brought a particular style. Each song on You’re all Invited will exhibit many different styles from beginning to end, but the changes will unfold very naturally, like a story.
4. Will you tour at all in support of the new album? Any other shows coming up after the Heavy Planet CMJ gig in October?
5. When will the Kickstarter for the vinyl pressing of You’re all Invited be up? Will you put the album on CD as well?
We just launched the Kickstarter campaign, and it will last 30 days. I don’t see any reason to do a CD release of You’re all Invited, because as a music fan, I’d much rather have a vinyl. But there is no reason for anyone to worry: every purchase of the vinyl will come with a free download of the album, and the album will be available for a paid download as well (via PalaverRecords.com). So people will be able to get the album in a digital form. In my opinion, the resurgence of vinyls and the ease of transferring music over the internet is making CDs obsolete.
But for people who still prefer the CD medium, I have good news. We’re finally going to put out the Nogg EP and Louis EP on CD. They will be combined on one disc, and this new Apocrypha compilation will be released as a reward for Kickstarter donations.
6. Any other plans or closing words you want to mention?
We’re really counting on the success of this Kickstarter campaign, because we wouldn’t be able to come up with the money to make the vinyls by ourselves. Help us get this new album off the ground, and you’ll get some good stuff in return.