Capping off a difficult year that saw the release of their debut album, Deau Eyes followed up Let It Leave with surprise single “Haven’t You Had Quite Enough,” a collaboration with DJ Harrison that takes a musical stand against the oppressive negativity of America in 2020.
Deau Eyes, better known as Ali Thibodeau, exudes energy of peace, love, and good vibes. It’s these attributes that made it possible for her to do everything she accomplished in the span of the hectic year that was 2020.
For reference, in 2020, Deau Eyes released her debut album, put out music videos for every single track on said album at her YouTube channel, compiled all of those videos into a video album — Let It Leave: An American Soirée — and joined up with Butcher Browns’ DJ Harrison to write and record an additional surprise single: “Haven’t You Had Quite Enough.”
All of that is remarkable in and of itself, but what is even more remarkable is that most of this was done during quarantine. “My brother Michael and I, during quarantine, have been putting together videos just on our iPhones,” Thibodeau said.
Her debut album, Let it Leave, took years to make, during which Deau Eyes endured what she called “management situations” and “label hunting,” as well as the COVID-19 pandemic completely altering her plans. “Everybody had something that they were really looking forward to and it didn’t happen,” she said. “Ours was South by Southwest, touring throughout the rest of the year, and releasing our album.”
But that didn’t stop Deau Eyes. Thibodeau tried to make the best of the situation, deciding to release the album in May despite the quarantine. “It ended up being the best possible way to end this album journey of Let It Leave, and actually letting it leave,” she said. “All the stuff that I was talking about needing to be let go, and having that sealing moment with my brother of, ‘We’re going to create these songs, our way.’”
With the exception of first video “Some Do,” released prior to lockdown, Thibodeau and her brother, with the help of a local cinematographer, were able to make all of the videos for the album with just her iPhone. And it didn’t stop there, as immediately after the videos were complete, Deau Eyes began to work with DJ Harrison on their surprise single, which is entitled “Haven’t You Had Quite Enough.”
Thibodeau said a big reason for the surprise was in contrast with the years of public waiting and planning on her debut album. “I personally waited so long on the last album,” she said.
But Deau Eyes didn’t wait at all to start working on the new single. Thibodeau quickly got to work with DJ Harrison, a collaboration she was personally exuberant about. “I look up to him so much as a musician, as a person, and a friend,” she said. “[I thought he would] make something beyond my wildest dreams and sure enough, it’s exactly what he did.”
According to Thibodeau, DJ Harrison played every single instrument on “Haven’t You Had Quite Enough,” as well as engineering every track except for her vocals. That wasn’t necessarily hard for DJ Harrison, but the remote aspect of creation, necessary due to the pandemic, is something he isn’t used to.
“I’m just used to working in the same room, and catching the vibe of the room,” Harrison said. “Having that organic energy in the room, it makes it easier for people to communicate.”
However, even working remotely, Harrison acknowledged that Thibodeau was an excellent communicator. “She did a great job of just vocalizing to me what she wanted,” he said.
But communication is more than vocalizing — it’s also listening. “The all-around importance for me is listening, being patient, and trying to understand the people that you’re working with. Whether it’s like on a personal level, musical level, or spiritual level,” said Harrison. “I can have my ideas all day, but ultimately she’s the songwriter, and I just want to make sure that I can honor her vision and be able to put my spin on it as well.”
The song that the two created, “Haven’t You Had Quite Enough,” showcases both Deau Eyes and DJ Harrison’s vision, demanding change and a better world through its words and music.
The process of creation for the song began many months ago, when Thibodeau saw news coverage of the detention centers at the border and the separation of families. “It hit me in a really intense way and just had me feeling pretty helpless,” she said.
After that, she started crafting the song, adding verses to the song anytime she found news that gave her that same sort of feeling. “I wrote… probably like 20 different verses for this song,” she said. “Because there’s just so much that I’ve had enough of, and I know a lot of the people around me feel the same.”
After all of the wrongs that have been done over the past year, working with DJ Harrison to bring the song to fruition felt like the perfect way to encapsulate that feeling of being fed up many of us have felt for quite a while.
“I think this song, ‘Haven’t You Had Quite Enough,’ is focusing on the feeling that we all have, no matter who we are and what we believe in: ‘Enough is enough,’” said Thibodeau. “We all need to seek change together and know that we have each other’s backs, because we have a lot more in common than we do differences.”
Top Photo by Matt Shofner, via Deau Eyes/Facebook