Jeff MacLeod is no stranger when it comes to making music. He first felt the pangs of success from playing drums in Cape May, along with side projects with friends in the music community. Hook & Eye’s first release, North St., was a solo project in which he wrote all the songs and played most of the instruments. The five-song EP was all recorded by him after a terrible break-up with an ex-girlfriend.
The new album, Light Sleeper, was a team effort for all three members of the band. “We met Jeff, because he dealt drugs,” Stephen Burchill, Hook & Eye’s bassist, says jokingly. “He kept asking us to join his band and always had instruments lying around when we stopped by.” Drummer Carl Davison joins in on the joke. The reality was that MacLeod met Burchill a couple years back and took environmental studies with Davison, he explains over email. “I don’t think Jeff had even heard me play drums, he just wanted me to give it a shot, and it fit,” says Davison.
With the new album embracing a new sound, each individual offers their own style to the songs. “We were sure at first what the sound would be like after North St., but once we started, it was completely a different band,” Burchill says. “Jeff writes the heart of the song and we write our own parts, with each other’s input and suggestions,” Davison adds.
MacLeod describes the sound of Hook & Eye as “loose punk spirit of not really wanting to belong to anything specific — taking cues from thrashed-out noise, ‘90s post-rock.” The band has moved away from indie rock to create a unique and fresh sound. On top of that, he just released his first novel, Music for Cynics. One can imagine that spending a day in the mind of Jeff MacLeod is most likely loud and very busy.
“I think Hook & Eye has a lot in common with The Cape May mood-wise: it’s dark, minor chord stuff, but it’s like the sped-up, heavier version. For me, it’s accomplishing a sound I’ve basically been working towards since I was 16, growing up in a post-rock scene in Portland in the mid-‘90s. Isn’t everybody’s favourite music that stuff we listened to through our teens?” There is a familiar embrace it the flow that Light Sleeper holds. You can’t argue with your favourite music being the stuff you grew up on — it’s like your first love, something that is impossible to shake, but you can never really relive.
Just to be clear, MacLeod has never dealt drugs, he just found the right two guys that can bust his chops and share the same vision in making music. The three of them have managed to find a direction and sound that stands out in originality when a lot of artists are playing it safe with what is popular. They are honest, heartbreaking songs that truly remind the listener what writing music is about.
Hook & Eye will be having a release party for Night Sleeperon May 16th at The Palomino.
By Danni Bauer