The The Faith Hills Have Eyes

by Teri Barr
February 2014

Faith Hills Have Eyes

Faith Hills Have Eyes

They admit it. The members of The Faith Hills Have Eyes have something new, fresh, and they’re ready to put it in your face. The dynamics of their latest material ranging from a hard ballad, stoner metal, full-throttle, to an even heavier sound (the band calls it the heaviest song so far), will be on full display during their upcoming live show and CD release party.

The fearless leader of The Faith Hills Have Eyes, Aaron Miller, says get to know the songs and you’ll get to know the band.  He even claims they love when someone in the crowd wants to grab a mic and do a part.

You can get involved, or just watch it all unfold when the band officially releases their new music on Saturday, March 15th, at the High Noon Saloon. Joining them will be Thira, an industrial groove band from Minnesota; I Am Dragon, a Madison-based rock-n-roll group; and Grotto, a newly-formed band featuring members of Bongzilla and Cuda.  And before the party gets underway, Miller took time to answer some questions about his band, their newest member, and why world domination is part of their plan.

Maximum Ink: Tell me about your current project. Is it fair to call it a heavy, jam sort of band, with emphasis on heavy?                                                 
Aaron Miller:
The Faith Hills Have Eyes are a band who mixes every type of metal and rock together with even more experimentation thrown in. We bring tons of riffs, making sure each one is quality, catchy, heavy, and/or groovy. I try to do many voices, changing with the songs, often in hopefully unexpected ways.
Gordon Dale is the guitarist who first came to me with the idea of jamming and with the band name. We knew drummer Nick Bartley wanted to start something new so we got him right away. We just got our 4th(!!!) bass player Woody Davis after playing with 3 other talented, awesome guys before him. We plan on having this one stick around.

MI: So your live show is probably pretty crazy?
Our shows are all about energy and giving it our all every time. You can expect dynamic shifts that push things to the limits. Music is the most important thing to us, and we want to give the feeling back. Plus, you can heckle us—I tend to feed off that for fun.

MI: Do you have particular musical influences now, and when you were younger?   
As soon as I discovered music as a child, that’s what I cared about. I didn’t want clothes or toys, I wanted more music. Being raised by a single mother, I was definitely also raised by music and religiously watched home videos of Faith No More, Pantera, Soundgarden, Alice In Chains, Megadeth, etc. Watching these made me not even understand why a band wouldn’t go crazy on stage. All of us in The Faith Hills Have Eyes are super passionate about music, and we will always be in a band of some sort, no question. The Deftones and Every Time I Die are bands I’m inspired by right now, but it was Guns N Roses’ “Appetite for Destruction” that changed my life. Atmosphere is one of my biggest lyrical inspirations.
Gordon lists Voivod, Pig Destroyer, Saint Vitus, Gojira, Captain Beyond as inspirations, but we all have many bands we love, hence our restlessness with music we make.
Nick is more from a pure metal background like Sepultura and Despised Icon, but he also loves Bjork like me, so don’t let him fool you. He brings the blast beats, though.
And Woody likes Clutch, The Midnight Ghost Train, Converge, Iron Maiden, and Every Time I Die. He adds a whole new stage presence and bass playing virtuosity, like fast tapping, to our shows.
MI: What’s keeping your group around Madison?
Well, we’ve all lived here for years now, and it is a fun, smaller city with lots of excellent venues. There’s a ton of talented bands and friends in town who we are lucky to play with. Touring more in the future is the goal though. Bands like Phox and Masked Intruder are showing you can have Madison be your home base, while still doing things on national level.

MI: Is that your ultimate goal? Touring at the national level?
We aim to make the best heavy music out there, focusing on originality. It’s something I often find lacking from heavy music. We want to bring you something you haven’t heard before, and hope it perks you up the same way as when I heard a great new album growing up. Music is our life, and we want to be a piece of the music world that gets someone excited about it. We also want to be known as a band that will deliver quality songs and shows—no filler. And of course, let’s add world domination to the goal!

MI: Well, on your way to world domination you have a new CD coming out. How’d the recording process go?
We picked our favorite songs written over the last 2 years and recorded 8 of them. A few are definitely the best things I’ve ever been a part of and I am super stoked for people to hear these in particular. “Flash Gordon…Your Jiblets,” “Elton Johnsonville Sausage,” “Condemned to the Gallops,” and we even have a dark ballad which our former bass player Jamie Rohrbeck helped bring to fruition, “The Thing That Really Should Be.” Yeah, our song titles are funny, but I pour myself into my lyrics.
Songwriting is usually Gordon with a bunch of killer riffs. We all put in our two cents so the song, overall, is written by all of us. Changes are made here or there, parts added—do this longer, groove that out—someone else has a riff idea, but mainly it starts with riff-master Gordon hammering it out with Nick. And of course, we all sit back and say, “Would Zamfir, Master of the Pan Flute, approve?” That’s the final word.

MI: Sounds like you all have a great sense of humor and basically like working together?
Recording is always exciting and fun, and then not fun at the same time. You get much better at your songs and really get to hear it all come together away, but away from playing it. The layering of guitars and vocals is always super rewarding, so you come out of recording much stronger with your parts. But it’s then nice to get back to creating and playing live. But recording is an adventure and worth the work. Doing screams with headphones on for hours is an interesting experience for sure!

MI: What do you feel is your crowning moment, at least at this point with your band?
We are getting better and tighter, and it feels great. Woody is an amazing addition on bass. Though he is not featured on the disc, people will see him shine during our live show soon. I think with all of our mixing of styles, we are now developing our own sound. I am proud of these guys for sticking with it and working hard to make this band a force. Nothing is more exciting than when someone truly likes our music and/or lyrics.

MI: I have to ask you, is there anything that may still surprise your friends and fans?
I think people will be shocked when they learn the original members of The Faith Hills Have Eyes were killed last year by three of their biggest fans. And after some research which led to multiple surgeries to look like them, it was surprisingly easy to replace them and simply take over their lives. Luckily for Aaron, Gordon, and Nick, we are the more talented musicians, and much nicer people. Hmm. I guess Woody better watch out!

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