phpiSLFamPM.jpgDepartment of Eagles, comprised of Fred Nicolaus and Grizzly Bear's Daniel Rossen, have been around for quite some time, yet are only just getting around to playing their first show. Prior to their highly-anticipated debut album release tomorrow, they'll be taking the Bell House stage tonight (and we hear Nat Baldwin will be joining the band for the set). Before checking them out tonight (or tomorrow night at Bookeaters), take a gander at their performance on Conan from last week.

How long has Department of Eagles been around, how did you get together? We've been making music in one form or another since 2000. We met as freshman-year roommates at NYU.

Where did the band originate? The Weinstein dorm on University Place. Fourth floor, end of the hall. On the A side of the building.

Since you've formed the band, has the sound gone through many changes? We started as a jokey sample-based duo with goofy aliases and now we're...I don't know, chamber pop or something? We've always just been two friends who like to write music together. Our tastes have changed a lot but that basic set of circumstances has remained constant.

When was the bulk of the material on the debut album written? Well it was spread out over a couple of years. Some of it was from as early as high school, before we even knew each other, say 1998. But most of it was written in 2002.

What can fans expect from you first show ever?! In honor of the presidential debates I'm going to try and soft pedal expectations. It's our first real show. We're not a road-tested cadre of hardened pros, and we're not Grizzly Bear, which is one of the best live bands going right now. That being said, it should be a fun night. We're going to play some of it as a full band and some of it Newport Folk Festival stripped down style.

Have you put the DoE on the back burner due to the success of Grizzly Bear? That's probably more for Dan to say, but yeah, Grizzly Bear's schedule has kept us on the back burner a bit. I was kind of laboring in obscurity for a while, writing songs and emailing them to Dan when he had time off from touring or recording.

What bands are you currently listening to? Fleet Foxes is great. The new Walkmen album is great. Shugo Tokumaru is pretty singular. I like Dirty Projectors and Vampire Weekend. Randy Newman as always.

Please share your strangest "only in New York" story. A couple of years ago, on a very snowy day, my iPod fell out my bag on Flatbush Avenue. I didn't realize it until I got home, and looking in the snow was hopeless, so I wrote it off as gone for good. A year later a young woman emailed me out of the blue saying that she had found my iPod. Apparently she had picked it up on Flatbush the day I dropped it, taken it home and plugged it in, but it had only shown up as "Fred's iPod" on her desktop so she claimed it as her own. A year later she got involved with the making of a documentary about bisexuality and was looking for music. Scrolling randomly through the iPod, she came across some of our songs on it, and she thought they might fit, so she looked up the band on the internet. Lo and behold, there was someone named Fred in the band. She put two and two together, I got the iPod back, and I think she ended up using a couple of the songs in the movie. Weirdly enough, three months later I ended up throwing the iPod against a brick wall in Stuyvesant Town. But that's a different story.

Which New Yorker do you most admire? David Remnick.

Given the opportunity, how would you change New York? This is obvious, but affordable housing would be cool.

Under what circumstance have you thought about leaving New York? When it is any month other than September, October or May.

Do you have a favorite New York celebrity sighting or encounter? Many years back a friend of mine saw David Cross walking by and said "you're David Cross." Without breaking his stride, David Cross did like a little spin, snapped his fingers, and said "Yes I am." It was good.

Best cheap eat in the city. Kati Roll on Macdougal in the village. I very frequently end up taking a completely illogical subway route to get where I'm going in order to stop there on the way.

Best venue to see music. The Bell House, hopefully!