The last time we saw Kate Neckel, she was not only brushing bright colors onto Mike McCready and Joseph Arthur as Infinite Color & Sound stunned NYC – but creating the optimal environment for them to go wild with paint too. “It’s kind of like finding a whole new aisle in the art store,” she explained when we spoke to her and McCready before that show last year. “I just feel that one medium transcends into the other very naturally. I try to approach songwriting and playing guitar just like how I do with painting: it’s like, take your head off; don’t think about it; just feel your way through it. And Mike has been kind of like Yoda, in that way.” In 2020, Neckel is continuing to use the force with another collaborator. Eric Lilavois is the producer/musician/artist who owns London Bridge Studio, where Pearl Jam, Temple of the Dog, Mother Love Bone, Soundgarden, Alice In Chains, and Blind Melon, among others, have recorded. And Lilavois now makes up the other half of indie art rock band The Copper Trees, formed with Kate Neckel earlier this year. Their intriguing new debut single/video, “Eyes,” is a repeat-worthy treat that makes us eager to hear and see more.
As noted in the press release, the Seattle-based duo “share a passion for the city’s storied music scene and rich tradition of alternative rock” and cite Patti Smith, The Pixies, and The Velvet Underground as influences. They met when Lilavois witnessed Kate’s debut Infinite Color & Sound interactive art and music performance with Mike McCready. The release goes on to explain that “Neckel later sought out Lilavois to produce her first EP at London Bridge Studio. There, the duo quickly found that they had a natural rhythm, sparking the inspiration to further collaborate and form The Copper Trees. They started recording right before the COVID-19 shutdown, which forced remote sessions but forged deeper and stronger roots in their collaboration and shared musings.”
While singing face to face in “Eyes,” a suspenseful yet sweet slow song, the artistic chemistry between Neckel and Lilavois is palpable – and very soon, visible too. Directed by Ryan Cory, this eye-catching music video introduces The Copper Trees with a combination of black-and-white footage and bird’s-eye view painting shots in color. Between singing “Look me in the eyes” and doing just that, the pair is seen working on a large freeform painting that spreads coolly across the clean white floor. The emotive lyrics are delivered with captivatingly imperfect, minuscule pauses, as if they’re hanging on each other’s every word – clearly unafraid to toy with the tempo and rhythm ever so slightly. “Come over here / next to me / I see your heart / Know it from my dreams / Don’t be afraid / Don’t go away / Look me in the eyes, stay…” Given how much we’re digging this first taste of their work, we’re happy to report that the forthcoming album from The Copper Trees will be released later this year. In the meantime, you can follow their creative process on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter, as we plan to do.
Article: Olivia Isenhart