DUBAI: What do you get when you take a group of self-taught musician friends, throw in a passion of creating music leaning towards progressive-rock, and a burgeoning local music scene? EYE or Empty Yard Experiment.
Anyone who has been following Dubai's home-grown rock music movement has either seen EYE on stage or heard about them. Responsible for bringing a new brand of music to a city largely dominated by hard rock and heavy metal, they have been touted as "the best progressive rock act" in Dubai. And come May 6 the band will finally launch their long-awaited debut album - with a live performance at Music Room.
Formed in 2006, the band have come a long way from their first self-organised gig at a private party and are now getting offers to perform at various venues.
"If you're good, you're automatically on the music scene. It's talent and not connections," says keyboardist Gorgin Asadi who, along with bassist Kaveh Kashani, spoke to XPRESS ahead of the launch.
"We're a bunch of regular guys who live in Dubai and happen to play music too," summarises Asadi, giving us a sense of how it all started out. "We were friends who would hang out together and one day realised each one of us played an instrument required to form a band," Kashani recalls.
Also comprising Bojan Preradovic (vocal), Mehdi Gr (guitar), and Sasan Nasernia (drums) with Sami Al Turki bringing the visuals, the young band (all in their late 20s) initially got together "to have fun and do something a little more creative than our ordinary lives", says Asadi.
While most bands establish themselves by drumming out covers alongside a limited collection of originals, EYE took to composing their own material early on. The move was also helped by the fact that each member came from different musical backgrounds and influences as varied as Tool, Tiger Lillies and Bob Dylan.
"We discovered we could actually write songs, we liked it and then never went back to covers" explains Asadi. "We might do covers once in a while if someone asks, but it's not a part of our set. As EYE, we mostly think about originals," adds Kashani.
The song writing process is a very organic and collective one for the band, according to Asadi. "It's never ‘I have a song, let's play it', it's ‘I have an idea' and everybody works on that idea until one day we understand that it's complete."
Their music, in their words, is largely "experimental". "Every song has both light and heavy parts; every song has more than one meaning," says Asadi.
The band's biggest challenge, according to Kashani, is the time constraint. He is still in university while the others all have full-time jobs. "That's the biggest challenge we have: Time to get things done and to get them done well."
All members of the band are Iranian, except Preradovic who hails from Serbia. Notwithstanding the transitional nature of expat life in Dubai, these friends are fully committed to keeping the band in one piece and any of them leaving the country is hardly a cause for concern. "Physical distance or not, EYE as a project will always remain and will still be worked out no matter how far apart we may be in a few years. It's a decision we made ages ago. EYE will continue."
So what's their dream? "The dream is big. As far as anyone who has ever had a band can dream, as far as you can imagine," says Asadi wistfully.
Watch EYE live as they celebrate the launch of their debut album. Support acts by Absolace and Spiral Out.
-EYE tracks to catch: Paranormia (featuring Gayathri Krishnan) and East
-Worth a listen if you like: Porcupine Tree, Opeth
- WHEN: Music Room,
- Majestic Hotel
- WHEN: May 6
- TICKETS: Dh60
- CONTACT: 050-113 9873
The writer is an intern at XPRESS