Eons Celebrate Release of New EP Serene Machine

When New Times last spoke to local synth-pop duo Eons, keyboardist Matt Gossman told us emphatically “rock is dead." The duo's new six-song EP Serene Machine, out August 7, proves that musical philosophy hasn’t changed. The dreamy dance soundtrack harks back to the 1980s, a decade when the synthesizer dominated over guitar.

New Times caught up with Eons singer Johnny Deezal to learn which ‘80s albums are the pair’s favorites, how spontaneity is key to their songwriting, and their plans for the EP release party August 8 at the Annex. Eons will also be playing in Fort Lauderdale during the August 29 FAT Village Art Walk.

New Times: Your new EP is very 1980s-influenced, from the synth sounds to the saxophones you put on the first track. Were there particular albums/songs you studied to emulate that sound?
Johnny Deezal: I wouldn't say studied as much as I would say influenced by. It’s more than the '80s that influenced the sound on the EP. Sade's greatest hits is an album that Matt and I both still listen to all the time — going back even more to albums like Thriller and bands like Tears for Fears and Depeche Mode. But we also do listen to a lot of modern music as well, like Lemonade, Jensen Sportag, M83, and Holy Ghost! Really, it’s a mashup of both retro and modern that Matt and I mutually feel connected to which in turn is the Eons sound. 

How was the writing and recording process for Serene Machine?
Both happen pretty much simultaneously. Maybe some bands write their song and lyrics first on guitar or piano, but for us, it usually sparks during having fun with sound design. With “Molecule,” I remember making that synth patch that you hear at the intro of the song and loving how it played with a particular chord. One chord led to another, and I would start humming a melody along to it. Then Matt was like, "Oh I have an idea," and he added an arpeggio. A lot of the time, it’s like an impulse we respond to from something we hear or imagine being in the song and just putting it together. Just as the song was about to be mastered Matt was determined to have someone he met at a bar record sax to the song. Lucky for us, it was just what the song needed and fit really well. On this EP, we also achieved different production techniques we aimed for. Adding vocoders, recording spoken-word Italian vocals, recording our own claps and percussion. After we brought the songs as far as we could on our own, we enlisted Tony [Smurphio] from Afrobeta to mix and master the tunes to give it that icing on the cake.

What can we expect at your EP-release party?
We'll be premiering our new music video for "Like a Dream" to our loyal friends, family, and fans right before we play. The music video is the second out of three videos we'll be putting out for Serene Machine. Claudia La Bianca shot and directed it, and we think it looks amazing. It has been over six months since we've played live, so we have some new tunes from the EP we'll be playing as well as some reworks of older tunes. Our good friend Ray Milian is going to be DJ'ing alongside Joshy Josh & Carmel Ophir.

Serene Machine Release Party. 10 p.m. Saturday, August 8, at the Annex, 44 NE 29th St., Miami. Admission is free.

Eons. 6 p.m. Saturday, August 29, at Shade Post, 16 NW First Ave, Fort Lauderdale. Admission is free.
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David Rolland is a freelance writer for New Times Broward-Palm Beach and Miami New Times. His novel, The End of the Century, published by Jitney Books, is available at many fine booksellers.
Contact: David Rolland