Five years ago, when Johnny Deezal was living in rough-and-tumble New York City, he traipsed from sublet to sublet with one constant in his life: his portable home studio setup.
“I guess I went there to discover myself musically as a solo artist. Everywhere I would go, I'd take my home studio setup with me, and I started to write and produce tracks just for my bedroom. When I decided to move back to Miami, I figured I had all those songs.” He wanted the songs to evolve past a solo pet project into full band arrangements while retaining creative control of the project. He cites Trent Reznor’s leadership of Nine Inch Nails as a model.
That's when he approached drummer Matt Gossman about collaborating on the project, which would come to be known as Eons. Though the music was electronic, Deezal wanted a live backbeat to drive the duo’s music. “I wanted Matt to play live drums to my songs. Then he started getting more involved with the production as well, and writing.”
Eons’ new single, “See You Soon,” represents the latest iteration of the band after having added bassist Camilo Velez and backup singer Ariel Morer. Asked if the lineup is permanent, however, Deezal takes the opportunity to talk about the experimental and open ethos of Eons.
“‘Permanent’ is a strong word,” he says. “It’s interchangeable. I find that Eons is a kind of interchange depending on what show it is. If it's a smaller venue, maybe I won't have a four-piece band. Maybe it'll just be me and Matt or something like that. It's good to have a different exchange — a collective with different musicians I know — and I can switch it around however I need to.”
Deezal finds that when bands are too precious about lineups and roles within the band, inflexibility can stifle creativity. “I've played in bands in Miami before where there are four or five people in a band and everybody is a really solid member, and you can't really function without one of them or it's different without one of them. But not with Eons. It can function just as well.”
On “See You Soon,” Deezal sings longingly of the hope of reuniting with a loved one from whom he's grown apart. “Now that you are back again, we can try to reconnect,” he sings sleepily. Then a statement of determination — an affirmation: “I'll see you soon.”
Deezal believes the melancholy yet hopeful tone of the song is relatable and needed these days. “It was actually something that I realized myself even after the song was done — that it's this ode to people who you have some sort of connection to, and when you don't have them anymore, you really appreciate the time you had together. Especially this year with all the celebrities who died and people we lost, somehow that vibe transcribed into the song without me even really realizing it. When you hear it, it's kind of this will to want to be with someone again, not just a relationship, but it could be a family member; someone you really hold dear to your heart.”
“See You Soon” will likely be on Eons’ forthcoming release, but Deezal says they're keeping their options open. “There are about seven or eight songs that are ready to go. There's another handful that still need to be touched up. The new stuff is shaping up to be even more modernized. It's tending to be a little bit more kind of like trap beats with '80s chord progressions — always with that Eons vibe, which is kind of nostalgic and chill and atmospheric. ‘See You Soon’ also has that going for it, but it's more straightforward, like a pop track. And there might be some stuff like that on the album too. I just kind of like to wing it. Who knows? The beauty of it is that I can change my mind.”
Keep Miami New Times Free... Since we started Miami New Times, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Miami, and we would like to keep it that way. Offering our readers free access to incisive coverage of local news, food and culture. Producing stories on everything from political scandals to the hottest new bands, with gutsy reporting, stylish writing, and staffers who've won everything from the Society of Professional Journalists' Sigma Delta Chi feature-writing award to the Casey Medal for Meritorious Journalism. But with local journalism's existence under siege and advertising revenue setbacks having a larger impact, it is important now more than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" membership program, allowing us to keep covering Miami with no paywalls.