Interview: The Eastern Sea Declare ‘Weird’ The New Normal

Austin locals The Eastern Sea have the wind in their sails. The five-piece seems to beam with pride over the upcoming release of their third full-length album, The Witness, out November 13th. Following up to 2012’s PlagueThe Witness bears reflection on experiences, memories and the snapshots we (mis)remember. The thoughtful album creates pensive moments of introspection punctuated by livelier instances of self-realization. 


The Eastern Sea’s orchestral sounds have drawn comparisons to Explosions In The Sky and led to tour dates with Roadkill Ghost Choir, Dana Falconberry and more. Now the boys have been approached by Communion to play the organization’s first Austin series at The Scoot Inn on Thursday, October 29th, joining the ranks of Communion alums Walk The Moon, Vacationer, Catfish & The Bottlemen, and many more. 

Started by Ben Lovett (Mumford & Sons), Kevin Jones (Bear’s Den) and producer Ian Grimble (The 1975), Communion “introduces emergent and established artists in a creative environment known for embracing collaboration and mutual support.” Starting in the UK and having success in various cities in the US, Communion now brings the unifying series to Austin. 

Sound Dessert spoke with The Eastern Sea’s Matt Hines about the band’s upcoming Communion show at The Scoot Inn, what fans can expect from The Witness, their spirit animal and more.

Sound Dessert: How does it feel to be spearheading Communion’s first ever Austin event?

Matt Hines: It feels great! We’re huge fans of what Communion does and damn, we gotta get it going in ATX. We also like being first, it makes us feel very special…

SD: What can fans expect on the new record, The Witness?

MH: You can expect a lot of moody, funky, energetic tunes. Ten songs that cover a lot of the territory we haven’t been able to cover on our past records. I’m very proud of the tightness of the arrangements and some of the wildly unconventional tone we achieved.

SD: What was the vision or inspiration for this latest record?

MH: Much of the inspiration for The Witness came from the self-searching I went through as we began to tour more regularly and grow as a band. I wanted to take a step back and make an effort to properly frame the next set of songs with the mindset of an observer, a witness if you will. It was my intention to strip away a lot of the judgement that I have about myself, my fear, and my memory and just let it exist in its own world – a world that I’ve existed in simultaneously, but can only describe in terms of observation. So, there is a lot of observing, recalling, analyzing, and presenting of events, objects, relationships, and environments that hold extra meaning to me.

SD: How does living in Austin inspire your music/creativity?

MH: Austin is a great place to be for folks with short attention spans. There are two ways to exist in this city – being brand new/novel or being throwback/legacy. Everything in between seems to exist in this weird vacuum, and for an artist like me (I see myself as a classic middle of the road kinda person), I’m definitely left without as much of a clear path. Which is totally okay! I like the freedom that exists in Austin. I also really like the attitude about being a creative here; it’s not a weird thing, it’s what normal people do.

SD: Communion exposes fans to different genres of music. Who’s someone you’re really excited about at the moment?

MH: I’m really into Hot Chip. I know they aren’t new, but their new music is really inspiring for me. Shit, their old
music is still inspiring today. They’re one of the best bands out there.

SD: What’s the band’s spirit animal?

MH: Mongoose.

See The Eastern Sea alongside Australia’s SAFIA and Austin’s Bee Caves on Thursday, October 29 at The Scoot Inn, presented by Communion. Purchase tickets here. The Eastern Sea’s new record drops November 13th. Pre-order The Witness here.

Image source: The Eastern Sea

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