Eyedea & Abilities

Eyedea & Abilities

Simon McCormack
4 min read
Eyedea & Abilities
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After his adventures in freestyle jazz (with his band Face Candy) and alt.rock (with Carbon Carousel), emcee Eyedea (Michael Averill) is once again teaming up with longtime friend and much touted turntabler DJ Abilities (Gregory Keltgen) for an end of the year journey across the country. Eyedea & Abilities’ “Appetite for Distraction” tour bus will stop in downtown Albuquerque tonight for the duo’s all-ages show at the Launchpad. The freestyle battle champion was kind enough to speak with the Alibi before heading to the Duke City.

You’ve been doing a lot of side projects and working with a lot of different artists. What made you want to get back to working with Abilities?

It had a lot to do with wanting to re-establish our musical relationship. It was always fun to play together and it felt like it was time to take all these things we’ve learned from other places and see what it makes.

How does the stuff you learned from playing with Face Candy and Carbon Carousel show up in your hip-hop show?

Well, part of it is that playing in those bands has helped me learn more about who I am. When we were younger, Abilities and I did a lot of experimenting and figuring out how we wanted to present ourselves. We’d say something like, “We’re funny people, we crack jokes, let’s make a funny song.” And when you try to do that, you’re not gonna be funny. It’s taught me not to worry about what kind of song you’re writing and to just get the music out of your head.

Does Eyedea and Abilities have a new album out?

No. It would be premature to announce that we’re making an album but we are writing new music and we perform a couple new jams live.

What are some differences from your newer work as compared to your previous stuff?

Well, for me, I’m not as much out to make a rap song that sounds like a rock song or something like that anymore, I was always trying to funnel all my ideas through one little hallway and now I have three other avenues for my ideas with the other projects. As for Abilities, it’s the type of thing where he knows the song’s not complete unless the turntable can do something that’s unique.

How do you think your live shows compare to what’s on the Eyedea & Abilities albums?

We’ve always been way more true live. Every band is really. You’re reacting and responding to everything that’s happening and I’ve always enjoyed that. Nothing beats playing music for someone and, some nights, we’ll improvise half the shows. You can’t change anything on a record but you can re-create it live.

Do you have any interest in returning to the freestyle battle circuit?

Not really. It’s just so childish. It’s set up to be this freestyle thing but it’s really more of a comedy show. It’s not really that free in terms of what you can talk about. I know what it’s like to go up and make fun of someone and I’m done with that.

What’s the most misunderstood aspect of underground hip-hop?

I don’t really think about any of that stuff. I don’t even care personally. If I were some hip-hop savior I guess I’d be more interested in seeing what people think about it, but that’s not my job. My job is to create things I think are beautiful and share it with people. Nobody really knows what another person is going to attach themselves to and I can’t do anything about that.

The Appetite for Distraction Tour tonight, Dec. 4, will feature Eyedea & Abilities, Sector 7G and Abzorbr. Tickets are $15 and can be purchased at launchpadrocks.com.

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