Eisley band sisters singing, recording, raising kids


The DuPree sisters pretty much do everything with one another: sing, write songs, tour the world, have babies.

For the three female members of indie pop family band Eisley, of course having kids would be something that they did together.

All at once.

“We were all pregnant at the time we were recording this record, so it was kind of crazy,” chuckles singer-guitarist Sherri DuPree. “I feel bad for the guys, almost. They had to deal with all these hormonal girls.”

Eisley is currently on the road in support of the record that DuPree speaks of, “Currents,” the band’s fourth, with all their young’uns in tow.

Sounds like some serious work, right?

Are they traveling with a U-Haul full of Pampers?

“It’s been amazingly fun, surprisingly,” DuPree says of touring with a clutch of infants. “It’s been way less stressful than we all anticipated.”

This absence of stress is also palpable on “Currents,” the band’s most adventurous, uninhibited and fully realized album.

It’s an Etch-A-Sketch kind of a record, where Eisley shakes things up and starts anew.

“I couldn’t find the secret to survive / To grow old safe and sound,” DuPree sings on “Millstone,” and so she doesn’t try to play it safe at all on “Currents,” and the rest of the band follows suit.

Alternately haunting and hopeful, the album is sweeping and symphonic, a superb headphones record, with Sherri and sisters Stacy and Chauntelle singing of fate, the passing of time and finding redemption in love with voices that hover above the songs, occasionally intertwining in beatific harmonies.

The band’s well-honed pop sensibilities are still present, but at the same time, Eisley let’s their songs unfold at a more deliberate pace on “Currents,” focusing more on mood and atmosphere than attempting to pen radio hits.

Part of this is attributable to how the record was made, with the band producing the album themselves for the first time and tracking it in their newly built home studio.

“We had complete creative freedom and control,” DuPree says. “There weren’t time constraints and the stress of knowing that you’re paying thousands of dollars a week for a studio. Without all of that, we were really able to focus on the songs.”

This setup also enabled the two dudes in the band, brother Weston (drums) and cousin Garron (bass), to play a larger role in the making of the record, and you hear it in the end result, as “Currents” is the group’s most textured, lavish-sounding disc.

“Previously, when we recorded, the producer would typically focus on Stacy and I, since we’re the songwriters,” DuPree says. “They would just have the guys come in, lay down their parts, and kind of be done with them. This was the first time that the guys were in the studio the whole time. I think that’s part of what made this whole record just more lush in general.”

Another big shift for Eisley on “Currents” was that it was the first album that the group recorded for indie Equal Vision Records, which the band signed to after departing major label Warner Bros., who released their first two records and financed their third.

“Not being on a major label, we were able to shake off the whole mindset of, ‘OK, we have to make something for radio,’ ” DuPree says. “When you’re on a major label, there’s always that pressure, because that’s what they need from you.

“In the past, we would write a bunch of songs, go to record them and then at the last minute, the label would be hounding us, ‘We need another pop song,’ ” she says. “It ended up being more piecemeal on the last couple of records. With this one, we were able to sit down and look at it as a whole project and just be like, ‘How can we make it feel like a piece of art instead of just a bunch of songs put together on one album?’ ”

Basically, Eisley didn’t overthink things this time by worrying about commercial expectations, which dovetails with how the group came together to begin with.

The DuPrees, home-schooled kids from Tyler, Texas, never really thought of starting a band when they began penning tunes for fun.

“We just started writing songs together and we loved it,” DuPree says. “It never occurred to us to be musicians.”

Sixteen years later, they’ve since grown up on the road.

Now, their children will get the chance to do the same.

“It’s just so fun being a parent,” DuPree enthuses. “All I can hope is that I make music that my kids will some day listen to and be proud of.”

Contact reporter Jason Bracelin at jbracelin@ reviewjournal.com or 702-383-0476. Follow on Twitter @JasonBracelin.

 

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