Meet Eagle's Eyrie!*
*Editor's Note below.
Eagle's Eyrie has been sauring to new heights recently, from it's humble beginnings as a small, local bar band, to playing Crickhollow's biggest music festivals, this band is riding high. Crickhollow Music grabbed some pitons, rope, and pen and paper for a high altitude chat with members of this rising band.
CM: No champion starts out by strapping on their swords and heading out into the world with the full intent upon playing their favorite music for large crowds of fans. Let's fly right out of the nest, what made you decide to play music instead of just listening?
Elrintel Hawk (EH): I take this first question was directed to me...since I am the only non-minstrel in the group. (laughs) Music was always a passion for me. I often would hum some songs as I did my daily chores as a lad, and it wasn't until the tragedy at Archet when I realized that my own fate would be tied to championing the free peoples of Middle Earth. What happened along my journey as a champion has more to say why I started playing music.
It was my first ever stop in Bree where I entered the Prancing Pony and found it alive with music and song. It was a Friday night. I was filled with joy to see so many free folk sharing their talents to the delight of others. I was invited to stop by every Friday night to join in the revelry, next thing you know, I was playing a lute of ages.
CM: Since the rest of you already were musicians, when did you start playing, early childhood, or recently?
Branstan(B):I started playing soon after I learned my letters. Esilia Took taught me my letters, and Longo Borrow taught me how to grow crops. (In particular, pipeweed) One day Esilia handed me a lute and said, "You look like the lute playing type." She was right.
Rockstan Stonebottom (RS): I started hitting things hard early as a wee lad. But my pa thought I had a tempo to my hitting. So he bought me a drum, and my pa regretted it ever since.
Elfstam:(E) I can honestly say I always loved music since my pa was a musician in his own right. He gave me a theorbo one day, and the rest is history.
CM: So, once you knew that your goal was to form a band, how did you go about that? Did you all know each other already, or was there some kind of auditions?
EH: We kind of all met by chance. We all have in common a love for music and bird-watching. In fact, we all were gazing at the same bird (an eagle of course) when we ran into each other. It was the West gate bridge at Bree. I was was riding into Bree after spending some quality time in the Barrow Downs, when just before the bridge I looked up and saw this gorgeous eagle souring high in the sky.
There on the bridge was a broken down cart (full of pipeweed), and a Hobbit, a dwarf, and a man. It just so happened Rockstan's cart of pipeweed broke down, and Elfstam was just arriving with a replacement wheel (He is a wheelwright by trade) and Bran claims he was there to make sure none of the pipeweed fell out of the cart. I still don't believe that story...
Rockstan was tapping two sticks in tempo as he gazed at the eagle. Elfstam was leaning on the wagon staring at the eagle, and Bran was smoking Old Toby, staring at the wagon. We all (save Bran) watched it sail into the distance and I said, "That reminds me of a song." They all looked at me and said, "That's what I was thinking." Next thing you know, we were talking about music and how it would be something to start a band.
B: That story is true, except for it was I who said, "That eagle's wings are long." So, I wasn't looking at the pipeweed if I said that!
RS: And I said, "What else could go wrong?" I was delayed enough already. Broken down cart, now an eagle's flight to mesmerize me. BAH!
E: And I said, "This new wheel is strong." I guess we all said what we said at the same time...But we all did talk about music and playing after that eagle soared away.
CM: Who decides what songs are going to be on a set list? Do you have a particular song that you enjoy playing more than the rest, either a signature song or just the one you like the most? Is there a song you like that you think "sounds" the best?
EH: We just play what we think sounds good with the instruments. There are all kind of songs from every genre that appeal to these instruments, and it is a matter of arranging...that sort of thing. Since we are a 4 piece, we need to be creative. It is obvious if you ever heard us, that we tend to like the aggressive rock type songs, and I think that may be due to the fact that I am a duel-wielding blade berserker. We do have a song that is our signature song.
CM: We're pretty sure we know what that song is, but go ahead and name it, for our readers who may have missed you playing it.
EH:We have a song entitled "When Eagles Fly" that we use as our anthem.
CM: You just said that you all like "aggressive rock type songs". What are your influences? Do all of you enjoy the same music, or do each of you bring something different to the table?
EH: I like the distorted instrument sound, and a few bands come to mind like Mithrillica and Eveningwish...Also, we like to mix it up with some classical pieces as well. But overall, we are pretty diverse in our music selection. We could probably play a wedding reception or two.(laughs)
CM: Some bands seem to stick to certain instruments or completely ignore others, some like experimenting with a variety. Are there certain instruments you prefer to use? Any you avoid?
EH: We use what instrument sounds good with the type of song we are playing. Since we are 4 piece, e.g. we use would lute of ages as a guitar, bass, and piano. I would love to use a theorbo in every song, but sometimes you have to make due with what you have. One combo we like for the distorted sound is the Bardic Fiddle/Horn combo.
CM: Every band has bad days and good days. Tell us about the best time that you've had so far playing as a band.
EH: I think every time is the best time. I am just happy to play, and I hope those who listen to us enjoy our music.
CM: That's short and sweet. So, tell us then, about the very first time that you performed together as Eagles' Eyrie.
EH:We performed at a Bread and Jam event, and I know we sounded a little raw. I was a little nervous, but I think it went "ok" overall.
CM: Any not-so-best-of-times? Have you had your Spinal Tap moment yet?
EH: Probably at Frerin's Court Round Robin one afternoon. We (I) could not decide what song to play, and before you know it, it was my turn. So I ended up playing two different songs at the same time...not once, but three times in a row until I said..."Pass".
CM: It happens to the best of bands. Just a few more quick questions to wrap things up. Does Eagle's Eyrie have an Ultimate Goal or End Game or Grand Plan? Where do you see yourselves in a few years?
EH:I never thought of an End Game plan, but I think we may expand in the future. Either recruiting more musicians or a just hiring more. I have thought of a larger band with more instruments would be fun to play and I believe you can get a better quality sound from adding more instruments. And maybe one day we would like to host an event. We recently purchased a Kin-house in Havenhold, Bree-homesteads, and it would be exciting to host an event there.
CM: And lastly, any of you have any advice for any up-and-coming bands or those who just recently caught the music bug?
EH: First and foremost, respect the Free Peoples of Middle Earth by presenting music and lyrics that reflect the spirit of Middle Earth. ((Keep in mind that there are codes of conduct which protect the well-being of other players. I highly reccomend that you refrain from any actions or lyrics which would be inappropriate for young teeangers, or adults for the matter. )) Find your own creative style too! It think it would be great to see a band perform every night in Bree. I am just as big a fan of dancing and listening as I am performing. The more bands, the merrier!!! Have fun! See you at the Prancing Pony!
Shortly after doing this interview, we recieved notice through Elrintel's agent, that Elrintel Hawk had moved to Harad and the band has been disbanded. Their music will be missed.