Concept albums these days might not sound the same as the epic rock operas that many music lovers grew up listening to, but that doesn't mean that the days of well thought out releases are dead and gone. Take Salt Lake City's Eidola for instance. The progressive post-hardcore band is just on the cusp of releasing To Speak, To Listen, their third album and final chapter in a trilogy of complex and stunning releases. Following the plot of the their first two albums - 2012's The Great Glass Elephant and 2015's Degeneraterra - To Speak, To Listen takes on a more personal storyline and serves to tie all three concept records together into a cohesive series. The result is an epic three part journey that needs to be heard to truly understand.
Later this month, Eidola will hit the road with Hail The Sun, Capsize and Limbs in support of To Speak, To Listen, out June 2nd. The band recently talked with us about the album's storyline, their plans for the rest of the year and more.
Interview by Shannon Shumaker
You guys are just getting ready to release your new album, To Speak, To Listen in June! What are you most excited for listeners to hear when they listen to the record for the first time?
James Johnson [bass]: I can't wait to get this album out for everyone to dig into! There are a lot of moments that I am excited for people to hear, but if I had to pick one thing overall it would be the amazing job that our engineer/producer Dryw Owens did helping us bring this to life. His passion and attention to detail really brought out the best in us and made this record something we are very proud of.
To Speak, To Listen marks your third full-length album as a band. Going into this one, did you have any major goals in mind?
James: With this being our third album, we wanted to make sure that we had a good balance of trying new things while maintaining the vibe we have built with our previous releases. We really worked on refining what we think an Eidola record should sound like.
How do you feel you’ve grown or evolved between Degeneraterra and To Speak, To Listen? Are there any sonic changes that listeners can expect?
James: I feel that we have all grown as people and musicians immensely. We recorded Degeneraterra in 2014. Since then, we have been touring pretty consistently and really pushing ourselves to be the best band we can be. I feel like that time and experience really shows on To Speak, To Listen. People can expect a refinement of the sonic landscape we have been building toward with all of our releases.
Leading up to this album, you’ve released two concept records. Does this one follow suit? Were there any stories that you wanted to tell on To Speak, To Listen?
James: I'll let Andrew jump in for this one...
Andrew Michael Wells [vocals]: Hey, great question. This album does actually follow suit and serves to tie all three concept records together into a cohesive series. In The Great Glass Elephant the protagonist is born as a common man, who is exposed to loss and hardship early on in his life and struggles to find meaning and purpose throughout the entire story. By the time the listener reaches "What Lies Beneath The Mountains" our protagonist is perceived as either dead or transcendent of his body. In Degeneraterra, we move into the protagonist's observational state of the realms of yin and yang, duality, and consciousness. This allowed us to explore the broad, overarching content that Degeneraterra had to offer and personify it within the protagonist's transcendent experience. Moving forward with To Speak, To Listen, we wanted to tell another very personal story, something that took all the metaphysical and spiritual concepts of Degeneraterra, paired them with the personal connection and character development of TGGE, and made them both practical and subjective. So we gave our protagonist the opportunity to be born again, as a divine conduit experiencing the lives of other divine beings throughout human history. Our protagonist gets to vicariously and consciously envelop himself in the dharma of Siddhartha, bask in the possibilities of great minds like Alan Watts, and ultimately try to save humanity from itself through this shared transcendent awareness. Each album's story was approached in a different way to try to discuss a different narrative, and I feel like To Speak, To Listen is a very mature continuation of that core story.
Were there any big challenges you had to overcome when working on the album?
James: This was actually the smoothest process we have ever had from start to finish. Every album comes with its share of challenges, and this one certainly did as well, but nothing is really standing out as something big we had to get through. I guess we did have to stay in our van outside of our producers house while making the record. That was challenging.
On the opposite end of things, were there any specific moments that you just knew that it was going to work?
James: The first thing that is coming to mind is when we started getting rough mixes back from Dryw. I was always confident in what we were doing, but actually hearing how everything was coming together was pretty overwhelming.
You recently released “Amplissimus Machina” from the album. What inspired this track?
James: The vocal content of the song deals with the idea of the mechanization and digitization of our world from a few different perspectives. Technology has made the impossible possible and improved all of our lives immeasurably, but it's also clear that we are losing something in the trade.
Along with the release of the album, you’ll also be hitting the road with Hail The Sun and Capsize later this month! What are you most excited about on these upcoming tour dates?
James: I can't wait to get back out on the road! Especially with this lineup. We have known the guys in Hail the Sun for a few years, so it will be a blast to hang out with them for a month. I'm most excited to play these new songs for everyone. We have been working on them for a long time, and it will feel great to let everyone share in what we have been making.
Do you have any other big plans for the rest of this year?
James: We are planning to spend the rest of the year touring to support To Speak, To Listen. We have a few things lined up for later in the year, but for now we are just anxious to get out there with Hail the Sun, Capsize, and Limbs.
Thank you for taking the time to chat with us! Is there anything else you’d like to add?
James:Thank you so much for having me! Stay tuned for a new song and music video on the 9th. Love each other and be safe!