Who Upset You? EP is out now
Ben Broyd/Jessie Atkinson
10:00 24th June 2022

Who Upset You? It's the title of the new EP from New Zealander October and the Eyes, who first caught our eye in, fortuitously, October of 2020 with 'All My Love', a track from her trippy debut EP Dogs and Gods.

With a two-year break between releases, October finally returned this year with 'Spiral' — a desert rock banger — before punching again on the psychedelic wormhole of 'When I Was Your Girl'. Both appear on today's new EP Who Upset You?, which features three further tracks. 

It's a mind-bending release, one that will have you wondering how this artist could be so new to the scene. Touching on childhood solitude, being "naughty" on the Yves Tumor tour and finding her "musical comrades", we found out more about October in this getting-to-know-you chat. 


Gigwise: How do you feel growing up in New Zealand influenced your musical style?

October: I grew up in a very small town called Blenheim. I think the isolation alone was enough to encourage to do something creative to stave off the boredom. [I was] always an insular child who preferred solitude, which led me to teaching myself a few instruments but most importantly, how to record and produce my own music. Although I’m in a band now, my approach is very much the same: writing and producing the music remotely before bringing to my band mates to flesh out and play with actual talent and ability (ha).

GW: Do you feel as though moving from New Zealand to London perhaps altered your sound?

O: Definitely in the sense that moving to London spurred the instigation and formation of my band. Weirdly enough, I used to make industrial pop, and I couldn’t stick to that very long without feeling it was at complete odds to the kind of music I actually longed to make. I was lucky in that I found my musical comrades fairly quickly, and they each bring their own unique flavours to the October sound. Also in the sense that my subject matter very much revolves around my London life now which is often far too fun, debauched and chaotic in the best way possible.

GW: Who were your biggest musical influences growing up?

O: This is easy to answer (it’s always the same answer!) My father was a big fan of The Doors and they were my favourite band since I was 11 years-old (and still are!). He also raised me on traditional blues: he was a big fan of BB King, Muddy Waters, Buddy Guy. That’s not something I really appreciated until I left home and did my own rediscovery of the genre. On the other hand, my mother was always listening to the likes of Rachmaninoff, Chopin, Debussy, Liszt. She was a music teacher and would always ask me from a very young age about what time signature I could hear or what instruments I could list or whether it was in a major or a minor key. I suppose that was rather instrumental in the formation of my musical brain

GW: Are there any current artists you are particularly keen on?

O: Yves Tumor. Really into Working Men’s Club, Bar Italia and Iceage to name a few. 
GW: What were the main inspirations for ‘When I Was Your Girl’?
O: Sonically it was probably the revisitation of all the classic blues artists that my father raised me on. Also a heavy dose of The Cramps resides in there for sure. Lyrically, a painful break-up and all those awful memories we like to torture ourselves with in the wake of such pain

GW: In relation to ‘When I Was Your Girl’, you said on Instagram - ‘When you got the blues, you gotta write the blues’, do you often find that you can vent your emotions through creating music?

O: Weirdly, it’s not something I often like doing cause I don’t like feeling vulnerable, especially when you know a bunch of people are gonna hear it after the fact. But in this case I think it was a necessary catharsis that I had to go through. I prefer to write about experience and ideas over emotions.


GW: Is there anything in particular that you do when embarking on the creative process when producing new music 

O: First off i have to clean my room, then I light my candles and burn some jasmine oil too. I also have to be completely alone. After that, anything goes. 


GW: What can we expect from Who Upset You?

O: It’s darker than the last for sure. It’s angrier, seething and more cynical too. A few more industrial elements sprinkled in, and I think the lyrics are more considered.


GW: What was it like touring with the incredible Yves Tumor?

O: Too much fun and very, very naughty. Our first tour and even better that it was my good friend Yves Tumor. It was exhausting though, perhaps spurred by the fact that we weren’t exactly very good at putting ourselves to bed and drinking far too much (among other things). Would do it all again in a heartbeat.


GW: What was your favourite UK city to visit when on tour with Yves Tumor?

O: I loved Glasgow! Maybe it’s my Scottish heritage, but I felt very at home there and loved Nice N Sleazy’s. But the crowd in Brighton were the most fervent of the lot.


GW: And you also recently opened up for The Horrors, do you feel like you learn a lot when being around these incredible artists and bands?

O: Not so much learning, but just getting to know them and getting up to no good together is always the best part. That feeling of musical camaraderie is next to none. I had wanted to meet Faris in person for a while as he’d reached out to me on Instagram after seeing a video of us performing. He’s a very soft and contemplative soul and i’m looking forward to our future musical collaboration that’s hopefully in the works there.


GW: How excited are you for your headline show on the 29 June at The Lexington?

O: It never quite hits until you’re about to go on. I hope people show up cause I think it’s going to be a goodie.

GW: You were recently supported by Jack Saunders on his BBC Radio 1 Future Artists show, how does it feel to get this kind of recognition?

O: I don’t really think about it all too much. I still feel like I’ve got a lot to prove. I think it’s that constant dissatisfaction as artists that keeps us creating and wanting to outdo ourselves. I think I’ve got better songs in me yet


GW: You recently were asked if you could keep one record forever it would by Iggy Pop’s The Idiot. How and why is this record so important to you?

O: It’s one of those records that still sounds so futuristic to me, like it could be released tomorrow and it would still sound so relevant. I think it’s Bowie’s production that really excites me, especially on Mass Production. I was actually listening to it the other night just sitting in bed with my eyes closed in awe. Never gets old.


GW: You come from a very musical background, how do you feel this helped in forming the artist you are today?

O: As I said, my father was a huge music fan and my mother was a musician and music teacher too but alongside this, my brothers were also incredibly musical too. They were in a million bands growing up, and they would always rehearse at ours as we had a dedicated ‘playroom’ decked out with all the instruments, amps and equipment. The fact that mum and dad were quite happy for us to make a racket means multitudes now.
Sometimes we’d even have a family jam which makes me laugh so much now. There’s this picture of me as a 10 year-old on the drum kit, with my mum on bass, brother Sam on guitar and brother Josh on keys. Dad took the photo and cheered on of course, ha. I think becoming a musician was pretty inevitable due to my upbringing, and mum and dad had been supportive since day dot. I always felt a sense of creative freedom because of them, and I’ve carried that on through my entire life.


GW: How important is fashion to you in forming your image as an artist?

O: It’s not so much about forming my image as an artist, but how it has formed who I am as a person. There’s no separation or front. Fashion has always been another form of expression (as cheesy as that is) and I hold a certain kind of reverence for the transformational powers of clothes.


GW: Your musical style has been described as ‘collage-rock’, how would you define this genre?

O: For me it’s always been about collecting certain tropes or pieces of inspiration from a vast array of artists and genres and collating them all together to form what my overall sound is all about. Those influences are always changing too. 


GW: When it comes to your music videos you’re very hands on and involved in the process, is this something you thrive on?

O: I’ve always just preferred to get my friends involved and have it be an open discussion between us from beginning to end. I know what I like visually, and It’s incredibly rewarding being able to make that happen with the people you admire and trust the most. Why would I need to outsource when I have the world's best talent at my fingertips? 


GW: What does the rest of 2022 hold for October And The Eyes?

O: More shows, including Manchester Psych Fest, writing more songs and refining/redefining the sound more, and hopefully KEEPING IT REAL.
Who Upset You? is out now.

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Photo: Press