When Jake Berglove was 14 and making music in his basement, he had his sights set on playing the First Avenue Mainroom.
Only a few years later, at 19, Berglove and his band Early Eyes got their chance to do just that at First Ave’s 2017 Best New Bands showcase. He doesn’t often experience stage fright, but performing in front of a thousand people on the iconic stage made Berglove a little shaky.
“I got on stage, checked my mic and the screen went up, and I looked out and was like, ‘Oh….”
This show was a big step for the band, a bridge between the all-ages DIY community they grew in and into the larger Minneapolis scene. The five-piece indie-pop band—Berglove, Des Lawrence, Wyatt Fuller, Joe Villano, and John O'Brien—met as students at the University of Minnesota, and got their start playing shows at the Garage in Burnsville.
So when it came time to record Early Eyes’ new EP, the band chose that all-ages venue’s new studio because of its relaxed atmosphere and familiarity. They worked with Robert Frost, the Garage’s in-house engineer, and Chris Koza tracked the drums and add other “important bits” in two six-hour sessions. The band recorded guitars and other parts of the album in the living room of the house they share.
“Writing songs is like cooking. You’re just throwing hot shit together, and it’s fun,” Berglove says. “Recording is like baking. The difference between a tablespoon or a teaspoon ruins your cookies in the end.”
While he band members are “all into the fine details,” according to Berglove, he’s sometimes found recording a little tedious in the past. But recording at the Garage was fun, he says. The band ate pretzels, drank good coffee (“Coffee,” incidentally, is also the name of their new single) and played with the venue’s space to create reverb effects on the drums. They’re still working on the EP, and no release date has been announced yet but Early Eyes will headline a show at the Entry on Friday.
For young bands like Early Eyes, moving toward playing bigger venues creates particular challenges. Berglove says that while Minneapolis might be one of the best music scenes in the country, there need to be more resources for young people as they make the transition from teens to adults in the local industry.
“Minneapolis has a good music community, but the youth definitely need some support,” he says. “Especially right now with the general climate and everything in the world.” Sometimes underage band members can’t even be in certain venues before or after their own set, according to Berglove. They’re forced to sit outside until they can go onstage.
Berglove is a strategic communications major, which he says has helped him realize the importance of networking in a scene like Minneapolis, But he struggles to manage the band’s growth in relation to his own studies. In discussing this balancing act, he quotes everyone’s favorite fictional Libertarian, Ron Swanson from Parks and Recreation: “Never half-ass two things. Whole-ass one thing.”
“I’m kind of three-quarters assing two things at once right now,” Berglove says. This semester, he decided to take classes only part-time to focus on recording the band’s upcoming EP. Though someday Berglove would like to make music full-time, right now he’s got school on his plate as well.
“Maybe you’ll get a D on one sociology exam,” Berglove says. “Maybe you won’t be at practice on Tuesday night because of a midterm. It’s getting easier the more we have had to live and learn with it.”
With: 26 Bats! and Heart to Gold
Where: 7th St Entry
When: 7:30 p.m. Fri. Mar. 2
Tickets: 18+; $12 advance/$14 doors; more info here.