80’s Music Rules ~ Criminally Underrated Artists/ Bands ~ Eight Seconds

es1Eight Seconds was a Canadian New Wave band that formed in 1982 in Ottawa, Ontario. The original band members were Andres Del Castillo (vocals, guitar), March Cesare (bass), Frank Levin (keyboards), Marc Parent (guitar), and Scott Milks (drums).

 

The band first gained recognition for their original song “Where’s Bula” taken from a 5-track EP Ottava Rima which earned them a winning spot in CHEZ-FM’s homegrown contest. Eventually, they caught the attention of Rupert Hine who ended up producing their first full-length album Almacantar. Hine had the band re-record “Where’s Bula” and another up-and-coming track “Kiss You (When It’s Dangerous)” for the new album. “Kiss You” ended up being the song for which the band is most noteworthy.

 

At the time, Hine was also producing a band called The Fixx. Similarities between The Fixx and Eight Seconds abound. Both lead singers possessed the same, earnest raspiness, both bands were guitar-driven and heavily rhythm oriented, yet only one band went on to international stardom while the other continued to work especially hard to be heard beyond North America.

 

Eight Seconds created another album of first-rate material in 1987 called Big Houses for ATCO, but shortly after its completion, the record-company filed for bankruptcy. Big Houses languished on the shelf until it was eventually released in 1990 by WEA. The length of time between releases had taken its toll, however, and Eight Seconds ended up disbanding.

 

Kiss You (When It’s Dangerous) via YouTube user Maxi470:

 

 

 

Where’s Bula via YouTube user JSBX5 (unfortunately, very poor sound quality):

 

No Picasso via YouTube user poptoonz:

 

A complete history of the band, along with a drive to re-release Almacantar can be found at The Almacantar Project, lovingly organized by a loyal Eight Seconds fan. Meanwhile, if you can get your hands on any Eight Seconds tracks, you will not be disappointed. This is a band that showed great promise, had all of the talent necessary and beyond, yet couldn’t catch that ever-elusive break to catapult them into international stardom.

 

es1Almacantar

 

Tracklist:

 

 

 

01 Sincere

02 Kiss You (When it’s Dangerous)

03 Call and a Cry

04 Just Pretend

05 Commissioner St.

06 Where’s Bula

07 Zoë

08 Wings

09 Listen

10 Land of the Monster

 

 eight_seconds_-_big_houses_front

Big Houses

 

This one is unavailable – if you can find it, it is a rare gem.

  

 Tracklist:

 

01 Here Stood Troy
02 No Picasso
03 Tell Diane
04 Chopin’s Heart
05 We Set Him Free
06 Thorn In My Side
07 Beyond The Shock
08 Happy Endings
09 Moving Day
10 Picture
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15 thoughts on “80’s Music Rules ~ Criminally Underrated Artists/ Bands ~ Eight Seconds

  1. Eight Seconds definitely was a great band. I used to record a weekly TV show of music videos back in the 80s with my Betamax machine. One of those was 8S’ “Kiss You (When It’s Dangerous)” and it really caught my attention. At that time, I couldn’t afford to buy the album which was available in a specialty store with imported vinyl records. So I had to settle to recording the audio from the music video which was actually in mono. When I discovered ebay/Amazon, I found the price of the CD quite expensive since it’s OOP and just hoped there would be a re-issue. Then, I think it was in 2006 when I found out the song was included in the Retro-Active series by Hi-Bias Canada…and the very rare Extended version at that! So because of this song, I ended up buying all the Retro-Active series. As for the 8S albums,while I like Almacantar better, Big Houses is also good and would have done better if it was released in time. It would be cool if the Almacantar Project succeeds and that the re-release would also include songs from the 2nd LP. 🙂

    McDoC

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  2. Hi McDoc 🙂
    Thanks for the *great* information. I am always amazed at how much you know about the underrated bands that I present here. You really have kept up on your 80’s music! The Retro-Active series sounds wonderful. I’ll definitely have to look into it. Yes, let’s hope that the Almacantar project is a success. The world deserves such vital music. Have a great week and thanks again for the information.

    Hugs,
    MissP
    x

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  3. Miss P

    Any chance of linking the songs you list to zshare or something similar? I know you are a busy person and all and understand if you can’t!!! LOL… Anywho, thanks in advance if you can and if not NP.

    Willy

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  4. Hey Willy,

    I tried to email a response to the address you used to leave a comment, but it came back. We’ll have to figure out a way for me to get in touch with you.

    Hugs,
    MissP
    x

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  5. Hi. I appreciate your knowledge of this band’s history. I have a burning question; I have recently met a person who claims to have sung with Eight Seconds in the 80s. I just wondered: was there another lead vocalist, maybe briefly, who isn’t named, because of lawsuits, or something? Just trying to verify this information. Thank you.

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  6. Hi Heather,

    All I know is that their second album languished on the shelf for two years due to “management and red tape issues.” I have no idea what that means, but both Wiki and Canoe Jam state it in their articles. If you find out otherwise from a reliable source, please let me know.

    Thank you and *Cheers*
    MissP
    x

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  7. Thank you, so much, MissP, for answering so promptly! Ha! It’s quite hair-raising to be dating a musician who claims, and who’s never lied before, that he was, at one time, also the lead singer for Eight Seconds—but that his departure happened BEFORE their achievement of real fame; he chose to leave for family reasons, and this briefly brought down the entire enterprise, while they regrouped. Tempers were flairing, but he maintained his position, because his sound was not the sound they wanted. But they threatened a lawsuit, for breach of contract. He went on to do other things. Does this explain the “red tape”, that is not publicly known? Or was he just VERY briefly, at the helm? One problem: he would have been only 15, in 1982–but he HAS admitted to being underage, in bars they playing in. A mystery, eh??

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  8. Hey Heather – you’ve got quite a mystery on your hands! I’m not in the habit of giving out advice (trust me, I am totally unqualified) but one can only hope that you know him well enough to determine if what he says is true.

    Perhaps you could contact Andres del Castillo through one of the networking sites (MySpace – or even YouTube – someone claiming to be him commented on a fan-video I once put up there for Eight Seconds) and ask him if anyone preceded him. Or, “Canoe Jam” is a great Canadian music reporting site. One of their staff may know. If you find out, please don’t forget the “enquiring minds” here at Rave and Roll. 🙂

    All the best!
    MissP
    x

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  9. Ha, ha! Thank you, MissP. We’re exactly on the same page! He’s never been the slightest bit strange or pathologically liar-like, AND he’s a professional guitarist around town. I actually believed him, totally, until I was curious last night, to see what hair style he had in the 80s (!), and so began some research…. The irony is that I, too, am a professional musician, but in a different field, so it’s real easy to find out, actually. I think….! Yes, I began searching for contacts to Del Castillo, a moment ago. I can also ask writers for Jane Siberrry–they might know. Again, thank you for your attention! I love mysteries! I’m just glad I’m not marrying this guy!

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  10. 😀 I admire your attitude. I love a mystery, as well. That’s why if you find out anything different than what you’ve been told, I’d love to hear the results. Again, thanks so much for your visits and posts – they are very much appreciated!

    Happy and Healthy (and productive!) New Year

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  11. Ha, ha!! Will do, MissP! And thank you. People often DON’T admire my attitude. 🙂 And yes! This’ll give me something juicy to do over the holidays. I used to be a reporter, and the muscle is a-twitchin’!!

    Happy, healthy New Year to you!

    Heather

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  12. This band was a lot of fun. They really started going places when they got Marc Parent on guitar. There was a guy before but he was fired and the band was great after that.

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  13. Heard “Kiss You When It’s Dangerous” on the radio again for the first time in years. I never knew before who the band was behind the song.

    Having now heard some of their other stuff, my opinion of The Fixx has gone up and Rupert Hines gone down (i.e. I’m not sure Hines deserves all that much credit for the success of The Fixx).

    To me, Hines did an excellent job producing “KIss You” but the other tracks I listened to, I don’t think his production brought out the full potential of these tunes. I kept thinking “Pretend,” “A Call and a Cry” and that “Bula” song could’ve rocketed up the charts had they been arranged and produced differently. All the songs were well written but I think “Kiss You” was the only one that was performed, arranged, and mixed beautifully. So I’m not surprised they were a one-hit wonder, though they didn’t have to be.

    I feel that Eight Seconds were held back by bland arrangements and mixes that didn’t show their songwriting chops in the best light. Now I wonder what a producer like their fellow Canadian Daniel Lanois could have done with their stuff. Lanois produced Peter Gabriel’s SO and several of U2’s most successful albums around this time. I wonder if they even attempted to hook Lanois, or if they’d always set their sights on the British Hines?

    A shame as they clearly demonstrate real songwriting ability and Andres del Castillo’s voice and looks could easily have propelled him to heartthrob status (when you consider how many pop stars manage to become sex symbols without being either good-looking or good-sounding).

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