Ethan's the Owl-Eyes of the Music Scene

Owl-Eyes is the solo project of artist Ethan Paul Teel. For years, Ethan has been writing and recording his own music. Not until recently was he given the chance to record the music on a professional level. When he did so, Ethan discovered that a band name was more marketable than just his name; Owl-eyes was born.  Ethan says "I am weird, I love being weird, I’m fascinated about those who are weird, like a pair of "Owl-Eyes."" He went on to write and record for a debut EP "Wild Child" combining all genres of music, experimenting as much as he could with everything, from pop, jazz, heavy metal, alternative, metalcore, hip-hop, punk, and so much more. Ethan Teel also plays regularly in several other bands and can be seen playing live in Kansas City and other Missouri towns whenever a chance appears. Ethan has come forth to discuss this release and the plans ahead.

1. Please tell us about the history of your band and its members.

Ethan: The Band has always been me; first and foremost. What I mean by this is that the concept for this band began when I was 12 years old. I decided to dedicate my life to the arts - whether it be film, writing, or as I find myself now - music. Everything you hear on my two EP’s is all me. The guitars, the drums, the bass, the pianos, and vocals were all provided by me. The instruments were played live in the studio, and then we just overdubbed each track as each instrument was added. No Appleton or Pro-Tools trickery.

I started officially recording when I was 15. I grew up in a small town in Missouri and all the music scenes were at least and hour in each direction, so playing live shows was virtually impossible. But every opportunity I had to record, I took it. By placing my music online, I got in contact with people that helped me shape out my career in the direction I wanted to go, as well as help me find the right places to record my two EP’s. They helped me create a website, a social media presence, and a brand for my band. I can’t thank them enough for that.

On top of that, I played in The Kansas City School of Rock, so that helped me get my name out there.

But now, 4 years later, I am a student at McNally Smith College of Music in St.Paul MN. It’s here that I FINALLY found some people to join my group permanently. All of them are involved in several different bands that can be seen playing in the Twin Cities area. I trust that these guys can learn an hour long setlist within a week, cause honestly, that’s how fast everything works up here.

And at the end of the day, The Owl-Eyes is just the name I've given to any musical project I find myself attached to. I’m basically doing the same thing Trent Reznor does for Nine Inch Nails. As long as I exists, The Owl-Eyes will continue to make music and play live shows. And when I die, I hope whatever I've created lasts forever.

2. Why did you pick the name that you did for your band?

Ethan: I always love this question. A lot of people tell me not to talk about what the name stands for or it’s origin, because they think it’s better to keep things mysterious. But I like talking about this stuff, because my hope is that if I lift the veil, it will make others think more deeply and artistically as well. It kind of goes with my band name as well, as you’ll soon see.

The name comes from a minor character in the novel The Great Gatsby. The character is found in Gatsby’s library, amazed that Mr. Gatsby actually has REAL novels in the study, and not just props. However, as the character points out to the protagonist, Mr. Gatsby hasn't actually read the novels. He just keeps them in the study.

The point of this scene is to prove that Mr. Gatsby is a pseudo-intellectual. He seems smart on the outside - with his vast amount of books, wealth, and worldly experiences. But all of this is a front to trick people into think he’s smarter than he actually is; and it took a pair of “Owl-Eyes,” (Owls being a symbol of wisdom) to point this out.

Pseudo-intellectualism is horrendously large in the music world these days. There are multiple bands naming themselves after great philosophers, works of literature, a passage of scripture, etc; Yet their music, sound, and identity has nothing to do with the name at all. The name is basically a way for marketing to promote the band to teenagers who want to listen to something other than mainstream pop. The kids believe they are getting music with substance because of the name. But the only substance they are getting is blast beats or corny lyrics.

How does this connect to me? I hate pseudo-intellectuals, even though I am one. Pseudo-Intellectual’s talk out of their asses all the time to impress people, and while I recognize this as a pet peeve I hate, I do this literally ALL THE TIME. I figured, “what if I made myself to be the BIGGEST PSEUDO-INTELLECTUAL OF THEM ALL?!? I’ll be the hyperbolic mirror held up to the masses, so that people can look upon me and go, ‘Oh, I get it now.’ and then we can go on to bigger and better things; while also enjoying the music I create.”

And that’s why I called the band “The Owl-Eyes.” We are going to be the mirror that reflects to the world what we have become.

3. Where is the band based out of and what is your music scene like there? Are there any local bands you could recommend?

Ethan: While I’m from Pattonsburg, MO; the band itself is based out of St.Paul MN. The music scene here is very independent and grass rooted. But, unlike the music scene back home (which was so grass rooted it was almost non-existent) the grass root shows here have a strange professional characteristic to them. There’s no since of unpredictability. Back where I’m from, even if you got a club owner to agree to book you, you could literally practice for a month and then the week of the show the gig is canceled because the owner says “I just feel like I’m not drawing that big of a crowd.” Whereas, up here, if you book a gig, 9 times out of 10, you’ll get the gig.

To put it more simply; back home, the music scene was based out of house party’s and grass roots recordings. In St.Paul, the music scene is based out of clubs, venues, and college party’s. There is a difference.

The music scene up here is HUGE! There are so many local acts I could recomend. I mean, when Prince and Bob Dylan are both from the Twin Cities, how can you not recommend local acts.

Some local acts that I like and hope to perform with are “timisarocker,” “Remo Drive,” “Doomtree,” “Madd OSO,” and finally, “Sodey.”

Back from Missouri, some local acts I’d recommend are “Generation of the Forgotten,” “Collecting Moths,” “Now I know for sure,” and “Until the Worlds End.”

4. How would you describe your style? Which bands influenced your music?

Ethan: My musical style is full of variety. For example, all three songs on my first EP, “Wild Child,” are radically different in genre, yet all have a weird Art Rock/Alt Rock vibe to them. “Wild Child,” is very much an “Iggy and the Stooges,” track recorded in the modern age. “Broken Strings,” is what “The Black Keys,” would be doing if they dropped all their blues roots. Finally, “Hopeless,” sounds like something you’d hear off a “Coldplay,” album.

And that’s just the First EP. The Second EP has more of an Alternative Metal vibe to it. At the end of the day, I don’t want to make it easy for people to put me in a box to describe my music. I want to show how flexible I am so that more than one type of venue would want to hire me. Need a funk band? You got it! Need a metal band? We’ll break out the “Slipknot,” cover tunes.

BUT….if I had to describe a particular vibe/sound that my music gives off; I’d say it would be called “Alternative Art Punk.” With a side of “Alternative/Progressive Metal.” Think….if Sonic Youth recorded a Dream Theater album.

All of the artists I have ever listen to have influenced my sound and writing to some degree. To prove this, here are my top 20 Artists of all time (in order). See if you can hear the influence in my sound.

20. The Rolling Stones
19. The Kinks
18. The Pixies
17. Dream Theater
16. Lamb of God
15. Slipknot
14. Death Grips
13. Sonic Youth
12. Gorillaz
11. Led Zeppelin
10. TOOL
9. Nine Inch Nails
8. Rush
7. The Black Keys
6. Mewithoutyou
5. The Flaming Lips
4. Primus
3. Radiohead
2. The Beatles
1. Pink Floyd

5.  What have you released so far and how were your releases received by the public/media?

Ethan: I have released two EP’s so far: “Wild Child,” at the beginning of this year, and “Schizo Girlfriend,” in the fall of this year. My releases from the people who have heard them have generally been well received. That said, my social media presence is not that large, so there have been very few people who have got to listen to my EP’s, even though they are available for free streaming on my website as well as Spotify. Which is why I’m really looking forward to playing live shows and doing interviews. I can’t thank you enough again for this incredible opportunity. It is my hope that the readers of this will go and listen to my music and spread the word. With any luck, world domination will be at hand.

6.  Do you play live as well? What do you have planned in terms of shows and touring, if any?

Ethan: We want to play live so bad; it’s just a matter of establishing ourselves and our fan base first before club owners feel confident enough to book us. Our hope is to hit the open mics in St.Paul to get some people noticed in us, and then hit up some local bands about opening for them. Once we get more of an established fan base in the Twin Cities area (though the open mics and sharing a fan base with a more established artist by opening for them in clubs and such) then we will go back to the club owners we have met previously and be like, “Yo, can you book us.” That’s usually how these things start on the ground level. We are all super stoked and can't wait!

7.  What should labels/zines/promoters know about your band? Why should they be interested in it?

Ethan: The major things that promoters should note is that we are extremely flexible with our sound, so you wouldn't have to worry about poor programming. Give us the band we are opening for, and we can fashion our sound to meet the audience expectations. That said, we would love to play the underground indie rock/punk rock circuit. A major thing that they would be interested in is that the band is all one guy: ME! If you need more recordings, I’ll bust my hump to make that a reality. I can turn out a song in 8 hours. All I need is a producer and a studio.

8.  What plans do you have for the near future as a band?

Ethan: More live shows, more recordings released on iTunes, Soundcloud, and on the website. More blog posts. More “One Man Band,” videos. MORE MORE MORE!!!!!!!

9.  Where can we listen to your band and where can we buy your stuff?

Ethan: Go to and click on the tab “music,” to stream both my EP’s for free. With every song, there will be a link to iTunes right beside them; so if you like what you here, please throw in a penny. Also, on the same bar where you’ll find the “music” tab, if you move the mouse over to the right, you can find my Facebook, YouTube, and Sound Cloud accounts posted. Hit me up! Like the page, share a video, do whatever you can for wold domination to take hold!

Also, in the near future, there will be an online store where you can buy physical copies of T-Shirts, CD’s and the like and have them shipped to your home.

10. What is it you’d like a listener to remember the most when hearing your music for the first time?

Ethan: “Men have called me mad: but the question is not yet settled, whether madness is or is not the excellent intelligence - whether much that is glorious - whether all that is profound - does not spring from disease of thought - from moods of mind exalted at the expense of general intellect.”- Edgar Allen Poe

OR to put it more simply - “If you’re normal, the crowd will accept you. If you’re deranged, the crowd will make you their leader.”

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