Overcoming the Cycle: An Interview with Matt Hines of The Eastern Sea
With a new band line-up and a fresh perspective, songwriter Matt Hines of The Eastern Sea is ecstatic over the release of his band’s debut full-length, the provocatively-titled Plague, and with good reason. The word automatically paints a dark picture with negative connotations, but after experiencing rather challenging moments during the making of the album, on top of immersing himself in Albert Camus’ The Plague (1947), Hines redefined its meaning and saw it within a completely different context that he, and others, could relate to. It was about overcoming obstacles that lock people into seemingly hopeless patterns, especially at a point when they feel most vulnerable and unable to cope.
Hines began The Eastern Sea as a solo project in 2005, while experimenting with different sounds and using them as building blocks in his creative process. Over the course of endless songwriting and several band changes, Hines and company managed to release two self-titled EPs and always maintained a steady momentum forward.
Cut to 2011: Plague was already primed for recording, but one catastrophic thing after another put a halt to the proceedings. Switching studios in mid-production (not once, but twice), financial constraints, technical problems, band members quitting, and mounting tension added to what felt like an insurmountable task. It was enough to put Hines into therapy. However, the album was finally, and triumphantly, completed. In this exclusive interview with KUT, Hines shares his impressions of the meaning behind “plague,” and what he hopes his music will achieve.