When Larry Eichhorn, the sole creative force behind Lo-Fi Eyed, describes the musical venture as a “home recording project” he’s not exaggerating in the slightest.
For more than 15 years, Lo-Fi Eyed existed solely in the musician’s Pittsburgh bedroom, and no one outside family members and a few close friends had been exposed to his music before he played his first shows in July 2013.
“People have asked me, ‘It’s been 15 years and you’re just starting [to play live]?’” said Eichhorn, 35, who relocated to nearby Chillicothe last summer to attend the Recording Workshop. “And maybe that’s why I book so many shows now. Maybe I’m making up for lost time.”
Little else has changed about the project. Eichhorn still layers his shoegaze-leaning songs with gauze-y, reverb-laden guitar, and the music still sounds endearingly scruffy, as though it’s gone weeks without a shave. It’s an aesthetic the musician developed partially out of affinity (he’s always been drawn to lo-fi acts like Sebadoh and early Sonic Youth) and partially out of necessity.
“I think when some people hear me they don’t think I know how to play guitar. They’re like, ‘This guy can’t play in key,’” Eichhorn said. “But a lot of it comes for the same reason Sonic Youth started out with their [off-beat] tunings: I’ve got really crappy gear. I have a Gibson, but it’s like a $300 model from the ’80s, and it doesn’t sound so good in standard tuning.”
In general, Eichhorn approaches Lo-Fi Eyed songs as though he’s manipulating oil paint on a broad, blank canvas. First he’ll record a basic track with his favored guitar — a four-string, custom-tuned Gibson — and then he’ll layer other guitars atop this base, building and shaping the track until it takes on completed form.
These sonic collages will take center stage when Eichhorn brings Lo-Fi Eyed to Ace of Cups for a concert on Tuesday, April 15 — one of a handful of shows he’ll play in and around southern Ohio this week alone. But while the guitarist has undoubtedly become more comfortable in a live setting, he still aspires to maintain a home-recording intimacy in his own material, much like his musical idols.
“When I started getting into early Sebadoh … that was a big influence on me,” he said. “Those albums sounded like you were just there hanging out in the living room [with them], and you could create whatever you liked. That’s what I wanted [with my music].”
Photo by Meghan Ralston