Before joining Eye on Attraction, Amber Sauls had never been in a band.
When the self-trained singer became the Scranton-based prog/alt-rock foursome’s new vocalist late last year, she may not have had a lot of prior experience, but she made up for it with ambition and a willingness to roll with the punches.
“I always wanted to be in a band and I had a lot of offers, but I wanted to make sure I was committing to a band that had the drive to succeed. That’s what the guys (in Eye on Attraction) are all about. They’re so passionate,” Sauls says.
“The hardest transition was just the approach to being onstage. My background is in theater, so that’s very different from being in a rock band. At first, I was a little stiff, but every show you learn something about yourself and the songs and the crowd. The biggest lesson I’ve learned is just to have fun.”
Sauls’ growth, as well as Eye on Attraction’s, continues with the release of the band’s new EP, “Staircases,” this Saturday at The Factory: Underground in Wilkes-Barre.
“We’ve always had a pretty eclectic, malleable sound,” drummer Andrew Merkle says. “People can get caught up in the genre thing, but we’ve never been into that. We’ll be the lightest band on a heavy bill or the heaviest band on a light bill; we’re totally cool with that.”
Taking influence from such groups as Rush, Circa Survive, and Coheed and Cambria, Merkle formed Eye on Attraction with guitarist Mike Trischetta and bassist Joe “Quincy” Terry in 2010.
“When we first got together, Joe wasn’t into progressive music at all, and Mike was even more into progressive music than I was. We said, ‘Let’s just write and see what comes out.’ Over the years, we’ve turned into a progressive band with pop sensibilities,” Merkle says.
“Our first record, ‘The Factory,’ the whole second half was a 20-minute-long suite, four tracks that all made one song – very ‘70s prog. After that, I said to the guys, ‘Let’s make an anti-concept record.’ It’s just four tracks that we think are great songs with great hooks, to show people we can’t be pigeonholed into the stereotypical prog rock thing. To me, if you’re a progressive band and all you do is mimic the progressive bands of old, that’s the exact opposite of being progressive.”
For Sauls, who had never recorded before, the making of “Staircases” offered still more learning experiences.
“I knew it was hard work, but I never realized quite how hard it really was. The work you put in really is what you get out of it,” Sauls says, noting that one of the things she enjoyed most was adding her voice (both literally and figuratively) to that collaborative process.
“As a band, we all kind of have an idea of what we want a song to be about and we work towards that. I’ll write my view on it and Andrew will write his and Joe will pipe in; we all have different tastes and styles, but we still have similar viewpoints. We all end up coming together to form one unique vision.”