Chicago’s Crowning and Baltimore’s Eyelet, both well-established names in the screamo game with a collective experience of 15 years, have recently joined forces for a Zegema Beach Records / The Ghost Is Clear Records split 7″ featuring two new tracks from each band. Today, we’re giving it a closer look, with both bands sharing their thoughts on the new release, their bond with Zegema Beach Records, and some fresh new post hardcore tips to keep your ears busy!
Crowning, known for their mathy, sludgy, heavy sound, have been prominent members of Zegema Beach Records community since their debut EP in 2017, while Eyelet has been active for nearly a decade and earned critical acclaim for their album ‘The Devil Shining Out Your Eyes’.
While Crowning’s contributions were written to fit the same theme as their songs on the Naedr split, Eyelet’s tracks stand out as standalone bangers.
“The songs were written alongside the Naedr split at the apex of the pandemic.” – explain Crowning. “During that time, the world was feeling a lot like it was being held together by a single thread. In writing the vocals, Trilly wanted to encapsulate a feeling of tranquility, temporarily transporting the listener away from the turmoil of the world.”
Eyelet wrote their latest batch of songs, which includes the Cube 6 Way Split and another upcoming release, as a three-piece band. It was a new experience for them to write music in this configuration following their critically acclaimed album “The Devil Shining Out Your Eyes”. The band recorded all of their new music at Craig’s home studio, which was a fun environment to work in. They were able to experiment with Matt’s latest gear and microphones to create their unique sound.
The artwork for the split was created by Vanessa, the guitarist for Crowning and a photographer and an illustrator. “I have a lot of fun working on the artwork for our releases.” – she admits. “Hate to disappoint, but there is no real commentary or hidden metaphor for the artwork. It’s just what I was vibing with at the time.”
Speaking about the story behind this unique pairing, Eyelet commented: “So James and I have known each other for over a decade at this point, we met back in the day when Itto and MNWA did a tour together. Since then we have always stayed in touch, crashing with James when my various bands have gone through chicago. I’m pretty sure Eyelet played with Crowning in chicago at margaritaville right around the time James joined the band.”
“I don’t know how much we really hungout with all of them at that show though. Vanessa and I became friends while they were booking their tour that brought them to Baltimore and we have stayed pretty close since that time. Obviously we work with zegema all the time and thus Dave and I are in pretty regular contact because of that, so a eyelet crowning split was always something we talked about and kicked around and it just sort of finally all fell into place in terms of availability and scheduling so we were finally able to do it.”
“Trilly and Robbie actually go back like 10 years when their bands Itto and MNWA went on tour together in 2012.” – recalls Crowning.
“The rest of Crowning got to know Eyelet when we played a show with them in Baltimore on our first tour on the east coast in 2018. Everyone in the band was and is a big Eyelet fan so it seemed like a no brainer to do a split together eventually. We always seem to be lumped together in terms of bands that sound similar or fans of this band also like this band… We’re stoked to have finally collaborated on something together.”
Eyelet have been working with Zegema Beach Records for some time now.
“Love Zegema Beach. They have always been really good to us as a label and as homies. It was so sick with American Dave joined the label. So stoked to see everyone in May.”
CROWNING has a deep connection with David Norman, founder of Zegema Beach Records. Norman has released all of Crowning’s music and has become a close friend to the band. The relationship extends beyond music, as Crowning has toured with Norman’s band Swallows Nest in Europe, and band member Vanessa has created artwork for a ZBR compilation album. Additionally, the two bands released a split together and even got matching tattoos in honor of their Europe tour.
The strong bond between Crowning and Norman has solidified their status.
“We’re family.” – comments the band.
When asked about their plans, the members of Eyelet revealed that they will be announcing a tour with Massa Nera soon, returning to the East Coast after ZBR Fest. They also mentioned that they have one more release coming out this year, and that they are currently in the process of writing another LP.
When it comes to Crowning, Dave, one of the guitarists, is also heavily involved in the management of Zegema Beach Records, while also juggling the responsibilities of raising a young child. Another member of Crowning, Justin, enjoys experimenting with sound and regularly tinkers with electronic equipment. In addition to his work with the band, Justin has also launched a solo project called Iwan, which he describes as “screamo with a calculator-like vibe.”
Trilly, the band’s vocalist, is a member of the nu-death grind band Greed Worm. Although her primary focus is on the aggressive style of music her band plays, Trilly also dabbles in ambient music from time to time.
Vanessa, the band’s guitarist, is currently working on a new project with Steph from Lord Snow, although the band remains unnamed at this time. With her plate full, Vanessa is also trying to find the time and energy to pursue a third project.
As for some extra tips for new music, Eyelet confirms that there’s a bunch of new young punk and hardcore bands in Baltimore that Matt has been recording.
“There aren’t many DIY spots at the moment but the few that exist here are going really strong.” – they admit. “Baltimore has always had a pretty close knit scene which is pretty cool. Matt works at magpie cage with J Robbins and also does stuff with Kevin Bernstein at developing nations, as well as solo recording stuff, so Matt really is recording most of the bands floating around the area, it’s sick. Lots of cool young bands popping up.”
“Seems like screamo is making a comeback in Chicago!” – adds Crowning.
“There are a few new screamo bands popping up in the city which is cool to see. The hardcore punk scene is also very much alive and thriving. Those kids will show the fuck up to a show.”
Vanessa and her partner Andy run a DIY space called Empty Bliss that prioritizes hardcore and hardcore adjacent shows about twice a month.
“Lately there’s been a lot of Zoomers showing up which is heartwarming and awesome,” says Vanessa.
Empty Bliss is one of the only DIY spaces left in the city.
CROWNING’s lineup consists of Trilly as the vocalist, Justin on drums, Dave on guitar, Vanessa on guitar, and Lowell (also of Frail Body) on bass.