Warehouse Eyes takes to the dance floor

Jackie Renzetti

While they were working on their latest EP, Jennie Lawless and Christopher Williams of Warehouse Eyes made it a regular habit to dance in their living room. 

A simple glance at the movie title “God Respects Us When We Work, But Loves Us When We Dance” spurred the idea. 
“We’re not religious by any means, but something about this just really warmed our hearts,” Lawless said. “I think it’s easy to take yourself too seriously in music, and we just wanted to bring some of that fun energy into what we make.” 
The local dream pop band formed in 2012 and released their first EP, “Carvings,” in 2014. Since then, the lineup has shifted and now consists of lead vocalists  Lawless and Williams, guitarist Matt Vannelli, bassist Kevin Scott and drummer Alexander Young. On Friday, the group will release their second EP titled “Prisms” at the Icehouse. The EP release party doubles as a send-off for their first tour, an eight-city stint along the East Coast and in the Midwest. 
The band formed as an expansion of Lawless and Williams’ duo project, which began after Lawless moved to Minneapolis in 2012.
“It was pretty accidental,” Williams said. 
Both Lawless and Williams, who are married to each other, went to school for music and performed prior to the project. Williams graduated from the University of
Minnesota with a bachelor’s degree in music performance in 2010. 
The two added synthesizers to their pallet of classical skills, which played a key role in developing the band’s sound. 
“I was a piano player forever, and then I gradually sort of found myself knee deep in synthesizers,” Williams said. “We spent so long playing acoustic instruments, and then the idea of being able to make any sound is so powerful.” 
Their first EP, “Carvings,” emanates chill vibes with dreamy melodies and captivating lyrics. 
The band cites Leonard Cohen and Bob Dylan as lyrical influences and Cocteau Twins, Broadcast, Low and FKA twigs as musical influences. 
Lawless and Williams said their newer music embraces more electronic beats and grooves made for jamming.
“I think the more we started performing live shows, the more we realized that it’s not about just having a cool, chill, pretty song,” Lawless said. “I started thinking about the physicality. I want to move more on stage, and I want to watch people move more. So creating beats that people could move to was definitely integral to this.” 
Lawless and Williams typically create the framework for songs, which the band builds on afterwards. Though Williams historically has written the majority of the lyrics, Lawless recently cut down on her day job hours to write as well. 
The track “I Think I Can Live With It” exemplifies the band’s goal to use more electronic beats to get people dancing. The tune features strong bass and rhythmic
loops under a mesmerizing melody.
The line, “I won’t be afraid … of what I’ve done or how I love,” makes up the chorus. 
“I think what that’s about is coming to terms with something you’ve done. If you’ve done something you regret, you just don’t want to be the person you were in the past. You can’t really run from that person; that person still kind of exists inside of you,” Williams said, adding that other storylines within the song exist as well.
The band will release at least two music videos with their new EP, including one for “I Think I Can Live With It.” 
For the month of August, the band will hold a Wednesday night residency at the Kitty Cat Klub. 
“Sometimes, you go to a show and people glare at you for dancing. I don’t want that vibe around. I think dancing can bring people together,” Lawless said.