Introducing… Penny Eyes

Words by Alex James

Penny Eyes are an indie pop/rock band made up of 4 mates from the UK surfing capital Newquay, Cornwall.

The band consists of Harry Bird (Lead Vocals/Rhythm guitar), Jack Clinton (Drums/Backing Vox), Adam Barbery (Bass/Backing Vox) and Ed Perkin (Lead Guitar).

Harry, Jack and Adam all went to school together in Newquay whilst Ed, who’s originally from Bristol, moved to Newquay a few years ago and completes the band. Penny Eyes was formed in late 2018, when the boys got together for a long overdue catch up and jam, and things have accelerated from there.

In September 2019, the band launched their second EP ‘How Do You Feel?’, consisting of another four original songs (How Do You Feel?, The Gardens, The Story and Set It Off). Accompanied by a new self-made music video for ‘How Do You Feel?’ The songs were all featured on BBC introducing, described as “treading the fine line between infuriatingly catchy and really soulful” as well as the title track being played multiple times on BBC Radio London.

Now into 2020, the band have already leapt out of the starting blocks, having recorded two brand new singles ready for release in Spring this year, as well playing their first gig of the year supporting iconic frontman of the Happy Mondays, Shaun Ryder, at the Frome stop of his Q&A tour. “Our aim this year is to tour areas of London, the north and south west UK, building an army of followers both nationwide and across all of the southwest!”

As a band who are your musical influences?

Wouldn’t know where to start we’re influenced by all sorts of new and old! We grew up with a really wide range of music, Les – Jack’s dad especially helped with that! There’s the whole surf/skate scene down here and a lot of artists we listened to as kids come from a lot of the surf films or games like Sunny Garcia’s or Tony Hawk. Bands like Grinspoon, Sublime, Taking Back Sunday, Blink, 28 Days and Sum41 have to have rubbed off. There’s a sh*t load of iconic artists though from Steely Dan to Isley Brothers, Stevie Wonder to Guns and Roses, Red Hot Chilli Peppers to The Strokes that are all in the mix, lots of Oasis and Arctic Monkeys but genuinely we could go on for days here! Haha
For the record the new Parcels live session is on repeat at the moment, Tom Misch, Khruangbin, IDLES and Franc Moody too, those guys instantly get us to pick up our kit especially right now in lockdown! As far as ‘our sound’ though, guess we’re influenced by the likes of Sam Fender, The Verve, The Kooks, Oasis, Arctic Monkeys, Stereophonics, Kings of Leon, Ben Howard and Catfish to name a handful. Music’s great like that, inspiration everywhere!

Who in the band has the worst musical guilty pleasure?

We all have some filth in the mix, nothing as bad as Vengaboys though! Suppose there’s some more mainstream stuff in there, Harry loves a slice of Ed Sheeran but gotta hand it to the guy he’s a pop song writing machine! Depending on the mood some 80’s Journey definitely has its time and place… we all have that guilty pleasure for 80’s cheese really! On the plus side we can confirm that even on the darkest day… there’s still no Nickelback in the mix so every cloud and all that.

If you could bring back any band or artist dead or alive who would it be?

The more predictable ones obviously have to be MJ or Queen, but there’s a lot in there that would be so sick to see now or better still see back then! Hendrix, and Zeppelin would be nuts, but loads of the iconic big bands like Fleetwood Mac, The Beatles, The Doors, The Clash, Talking Heads, Isley Brothers, Pink Floyd and ZZ Top would also be in there.

Nirvana would have been mental and other bands like that who just represented a time! We’ve been lucky enough to go and watch some of our childhood bands Papa Roach, Sum41, Linkin Park but also a lot of time spent watching the older legends live like ELO, James Brown and Prince! We actually had tickets for Carlos Santana at the O2 before all this Covid crap kicked off, hopefully that can be rescheduled. A band that stands out years ago we went and watched Third World playing randomly in Newquay, these guys toured the world with Bob Marley …that was genuinely a once in a lifetime artist to see! Always remember mid song the lead singer walked off stage for a smoke, came back a good 10 mins later and finished the same song, the band never stopped just kept the groove going, just too cool to care!

Who in the band is the worst influence?

Harry… next question! Haha

All the money in the world, what would be your dream set up?

We’re pretty open to trying new kit, there’s a lot we’d love to get the opportunity to try and experiment with for sure! For now though…

Harry – Fender Strat through a Fender Hotrod or a big Marshall stack.

Ad –  Fender P Bass through a big Orange or Aguilar rig… anything big and loud would be pretty sick!

Jack – Any form of floating drum riser would be splendid! With the amount of sticks that get broken though…maybe just some sticks would be handy!

Ed – Fender Jazzmaster through a Vox AC-30. Currently using the AC-15 would be pretty cool to try play somewhere big enough to crank a 30!

It was a pleasure getting to know Penny Eyes a little more and we look forward to seeing them kick up a storm in the not so distant future!