Exploring the microcosm | Eyes to Argus

Following its screening at the Kinemastik Short Film Festival last weekend, Eyes to Argus’ video ‘Microcosm’ remains one of the more interesting audio-visual releases from local bands of late. TEODOR RELJIC catches up with the experimental prog rock band to discuss the dynamics of the video, and what makes this unique band tick

Brandon Calleja Shaw plays Pastor Benito in the video for Eyes to Argus’ song ‘Microcosm’
Brandon Calleja Shaw plays Pastor Benito in the video for Eyes to Argus’ song ‘Microcosm’

How would you say Eyes to Argus have evolved since you first formed back in 2013?

Eyes to Argus started out all those years ago as a casual side project. The band was an outlet for us to explore some of the atmospheric and spacey sounds that we all loved, in conjunction with a ton of other influences.

Fast-forward to 2019, and we’ve got a full-length album out (VEER, 2017), our new single – Microcosm, and a few years of gigging under our belt. It’s fair to say that the experiences we’ve had have made us a different band.

We have adopted an approach where sounds and genres are more of a means to an end. We’ve become a lot more conscious of the way we create narrative in our music. That means knowing when to add layers and when to strip back, or simply being a better judge of what sonic directions are appropriate for any song we write.

We are better at sounding like Eyes to Argus now, if that makes sense.

In an earlier conversation we’ve had, you’ve stated that Microcosm is something of an interim track for the band, which may or may not signal its future direction. What led you to put together a song that seems to serve as a ‘bridge’ between your past and future, and why did you single it out for the music video treatment?

Despite Microcosm being an interim track, it still is a track that we feel fully represents us. What we really liked about working on a stand-alone single release is that it gave us the chance to explore sounds and themes that wouldn’t really work on an album (at this point in time, at least). So, while Microcosm shows a slightly different side to us, it is very much canon.

Eyes to Argus
Eyes to Argus

The time to work on a music video, especially for Microcosm, seemed right. Microcosm is a song that is very much about cult-like personalities, and the megalomania that is born out of power.

Pastor Benito (portrayed by Brandon Calleja Shaw) represents the self-important, self-obsessed persona. After we started talking about the project in October with Francesca Mercieca and Jack Hayter, a few local headlines were made that really validated that the message of the song was important and that the video had to be made. We’ll let you watch the video and make your own interpretations, but we will say that listening to the lyrics adds a lot of context.

Plus, we had been wanting to work with Fran and Jack for ages. They did an incredible job on previous videos (Big Love - Bark Bark Disco and Candy - Fuzzhoneys) and we knew they were the people we wanted to collaborate with on Microcosm.

How involved were you in the process of crafting the music video itself, and what do you make of the final result?

We wanted Fran and Jack to make the Microcosm video their own. While we had lots of discussions with them to talk about the context of the song, we were happy to let them explore their own vision for the music video. The story-boarding is all theirs. We were on set as often as we could be during the filming itself, alongside a fantastic crew that we simply cannot thank enough.

“What we liked about working on a stand-alone single is that it gave us the chance to explore sounds and themes that wouldn’t really work on an album”

We couldn’t be happier with the video. From the start we unanimously agreed that Microcosm would be a bold statement, but we didn’t want it to be too obvious, edgy or in-your-face.

Fran and Jack really captured the spirit of the song, and Brandon did an incredible job of internalising the character of Pastor Benito. It is the kind of video that you might want to watch more than once to really get, which kind of was our intention.

So, now that Microcosm is out in the world, what can we, in fact, expect from future material from Eyes to Argus?

Actually, you can find the answer to that by coming to any of our shows. We’re in the process of finalising the songwriting for our second album and we’ve been testing the waters with a few of the songs by playing them live. Of course, no song is ever truly finished until it is recorded, so we’re looking forward for this new material to really take life.

“We have adopted an approach where sounds and genres are more of a means to an end”

If you enjoy the sounds you’ve come to expect from us, then we think you’ll like our new songs as well. The grooves have gotten groovier and the atmospheres have become more atmospheric – and the songs feel like they are from a different era to VEER.

Hopefully, the album will come out sometime in 2020. We’ll be keeping a bit hush about it until then.

The video for Microcosm can be viewed on YouTube here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DQ99ED1dR1o.