Monster Mash with Double Eyelid

For episode 86, we are featuring Toronto-based band Double Eyelid and their song “dead is better”. Singer and songwriter Ian Revell is the creative force behind Double Eyelid, who described their music as being “dark and glamourous and demented.”

In addition to Ian, Guitarist Karl Mohr provides backing vocals, Benjamin Mueller-Heaslip plays keyboards and piano, and Amanda Penner rounds out the group as a frequent guest performer on viola. Ian also plays some keys and does some drum programming. Of his bandmates, Ian said that “aside from their unique musicality they all bring their friendship and moral support. Karl Mohr also brings his considerable technical/recording expertise to the table, which has been of great value. Live the lineup varies depending on the show, we sometimes perform with all 4 of us and sometimes just with two.”

Their song, “dead is better”, gets its title from Stephen King. As Ian put it, “any true Horror Addict will recognize the title ‘dead is better’ as being a quote from one of the classics of horror, Pet Sematary. So this adapts that line to use it as a metaphor for going back to a toxic relationship that would be better left for dead.” Right now, “dead is better” is available as a single with a B-side cover of Christian Death’s “Spiritual Cramp”, which Ian added was “a pretty radical re-interpretation of a classic.  We are hard at work on a lot of new material and planning a bigger release this summer.”

When I asked about the band’s name, Ian explained that “‘Double Eyelid’ is actually an expression that was coined by the Chinese and is used by most East Asians to describe the difference between the eyelids of a Westerner and the eyelids of an Asian.  The Westerner’s eyelids are generally much fleshier, so the Asians refer to them as ‘Double Eyelids’.  I was living in Asia for several years and that’s when I first heard this expression.  Years later this had stuck with me — perhaps because it described something that made me ‘different’ when I was a foreigner in a strange land.

They haven’t toured a lot, but so far the gigs have been good. “Ottawa in particular has been good to us and we’ve made some fans and good friends there.  I would love to tour all kinds of places, in particular the US, South America, the UK and Europe. We’ve done some interesting gigs.  One of the most special was one we did in an art gallery as part of a launch for our video.  I was so thrilled with the quality of the imagery in the video that I pulled a bunch of stills from the master the director gave me and made them into these huge photos, then stuck them up on the walls so it was a whole exhibition.  It was a great time, a very unique event.”

Ian has been musically active since he was about seven or eight years old. He added, “We make music because it’s fun and we are compelled to. I like all kinds of stuff, garage rock, gay disco, Bach cantatas, dead divas.” Amongst his favorite bands are Sex Gang Children, Bauhaus, the Cult, Rozz Willams, and David Bowie. As for other styles of music, “there’s nothing I’m dying to try though I do want to keep expanding the Double Eyelid sound in gradual ways.”

He did add that he listens to podcasts, especially those “that feature good music.  I don’t think he’s actively doing it anymore but George Demure used to do a podcast, you should look it up, very funny.”
Amongst his other creative outlets, he said, “I’ve done a lot of photography and was pursuing that quite seriously for a while but I have basically stopped that because I only really need one outlet at a time.”

Next up for the band is to finish their first full-length album, and then “send it all over the world and try to put together a decent tour.  And definitely make another video, we have formed a strong creative partnership with Steven Cerritos (director of our first video) that I value very highly and look forward to exploring further.”

When it comes to advice to other musicians, he wants you to ask yourself, “What is your legacy going to be?  If you aren’t doing something new, it’s not worth doing.  If I want to do something and there is a single other band out there that can do it already, I won’t do it.  Make your mark and make it yours.”

To find music from Double Eyelid, they are available for download all over the place – iTunes, eMusic etc.  He HIGHLY recommends Bandcamp, and added they will soon have merchandise for sale there, and may even do some Bandcamp-only releases. Check them out there at DoubleEyelid.bandcamp.com/. Other than that, their main website is DoubleEyelid.ca, which lists tour dates, etc. He did suggest that if people get in touch via Bandcamp or Facebook and say they heard them here on Horror Addicts, “I guess we could give them a treat … ;)”

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