Smile Politely

Raw and honest: An interview with Euriah

In a city known for a flourishing music scene, there are a lot of new acts coming out of the woodwork. The make-or-break tenets of these bands seem to be their emotional tenacity and on-stage energy. While there are many incredible bands making the rounds of the Champaign-Urbana music scene, perhaps one of the most exciting new crops of musicians is Euriah.

Having just formed last fall, they are already making an impression on the local musical community. Euriah’s shows have been met with a strong amount of audience engagement. At any given moment during a Euriah set you’re likely to see swaying bodies and bobbing heads as the band slowly draws the crowd in with their unbridled passion and enthusiasm for their music. Mixing raw, emotional honesty with electrically energetic songwriting they’ve already become one of my personal favorite acts to see live. I’ve heard it said that it’s unwise to meet your heroes, but after sitting down with the guys from Euriah to talk about their start here in Champaign-Urbana I’m extremely excited to see them continue to grow musically.

Smile Politely: You guys are new to the Champaign music scene. How did you come together?

Kyle Scott: Austin and I started playing together wanting to start a shoegaze project. We thought about it for a while and started jamming out. We knew Eric from [working at Black Dog] and one night I drunkenly asked him to come jam with us on a Sunday. So then we brought Eric in and really enjoyed it, it meshed really well with our guitar styles. We looked for a bass player and tried out one of Austin’s friends for a minute.

SP: So there was another bass player?

Austin Hill: He…couldn’t come to practice.

Scott: [laughs] He showed up once, I think, out of like ten tries.

Hill: And that’s sort of indicative of a lack of commitment.

Eric Stanley: He got into a car accident one of those times though, didn’t he?

Scott: Yeah he got into a motorcycle accident once on his way to practice and couldn’t make it, so that one was legit.

SP: So according to Google, there is no info about the meaning of “Euriah” other than that it is a rising baby name in the US. How did you guys come into that name?

Scott: It started off as a song, we just needed a title for a song. I think it’s a pretty name to begin with. But it’s also spelled U-R-I-A-H, it’s a biblical figure. He’s a man who, King James slept with his wife and he ended up putting Uriah on the front lines to try and get him killed. He was kind of a blind servant and got screwed over in every way possible and was still loyal. I guess the “E” comes in as just a prettier way of looking at the name. It comes off the tongue well.

SP: I think it’s a great sounding name, I just couldn’t find any Wikipedia article or vague references to aliens or anything like that.

Hill: [laughs] Well that’s too bad.

Scott: With the “U” spelling, there is an actual old hard rock British band named Uriah Heep. I was kind of afraid people would think of Uriah Heep. But then, no one’s heard of Uriah Heep [laughs].

SP: So a couple people have described your music to me as emo. Do you think that’s a fitting description? I mean, how do you guys characterize your music?

Hill: Yes.

Mark Wyman: In my opinion, it’s like second-wave emo or, you know, throwback emo.

Scott: “Midwest music” is how I like to describe it.

Wyman: Whenever I have to say, “What kind of music do I play?” to…my mom’s friend, or whoever, it’s like, what do you say? It’s like, “Hey, we’re an emo band,” but they don’t have any context for that.

Scott: It’s such a broad term to begin with.

Stanley: You think of like, Atreyu [laughs].

Scott: I think of Rites of Spring and shit like that, and that sounds nothing like us.

Wyman: Yeah, it’s pretty broad, but Midwest, I think, is a great way to sum it up.

SP: Do you guys draw influence from that kind of genre?

Stanley: For bands from this area, I mean, American Football and Braid. Spent a whole lot of time listening to those bands. More recently, there is a band called Options in Chicago that’s pretty sweet. There’s a band from Florida, Dikembe, that’s pretty sweet. They’re like the newer side of that for me.

Scott: And I’ve never heard of either of those bands that he just said [all laugh].

SP: Do those bands affect your writing style?

Scott: Sure.

Hill: But at the same time I think a lot of it is per chance. It’s unintentional rather than emulated. It’s more natural. And I think that’s why the bands that just so happen to sound similar to each other in this genre, I think that’s why there’s so much camaraderie between those musicians if and when they get to know each other.

Scott: They grew up on the same shit.

Hill: Yeah, it’s just so relatable. I don’t think it’s just a coincidence that a lot of it happens in the Midwest and the bands sound like they’re from the Midwest.

SP: So you guys didn’t start out with the intention of being an emo band? I mean, you said that you were trying to start a shoegaze project. So it just kind of congealed that way?

Scott: Yeah, it’s always the musicians. Every person brings something to the table. It’s like a big soup when you throw it all together. Every project has their own thing and how everybody plays together and interacts is always unique.

SP: When you guys are writing is it more about the emotional aspect of the music or the experimentation of what you’re doing?

Wyman: Both. I mean, right now Eric has tons of material and is pumping out material that is personal to him. Which, with the emotional standpoint, these lyrics mean something and the music is all pretty well thought out between the four of us. When we get in a room we think about what’s coming through lyrically and does the music mesh with what’s being said, does it make sense to be playing this kind of part when the lyrics are focusing on this or that topic.

Scott: A strong word for this band is just being honest and trying to keep it as honest as possible. Make it relatable and real and don’t try to go off of something that you don’t know. People can connect to something if you’re telling the truth. And that plays through lyrically as well as musically.

SP: How do you guys see the response from the local music scene?

Hill: It’s great, I think people are into it.

Scott: Very supportive.

Stanley: I’m already overwhelmed [laughs]. I mean, I’m newer to town here and it’s great to come to a town where the genre that I’m most into is something that’s going on. Notably the show at Mike N Molly’s with Hop Along, I felt just overwhelmed at that show. There were so many people that came up to me and were just so nice. That was a $13 show and we’re a new band and we had a ton of people watching us as a new band.

SP: Yeah there were like 20-30 people up there at any given time which is a lot in the smaller room at Mike N Molly’s.

Hill: Yeah, that’s huge.

Stanley: I mean, I had expected, you know, the show started earlier and we’re new band, people are there to see Hop Along. I expected there to be three or four people there.

Wyman: Yeah, we like to set ourselves up for failure and work our way up [all laugh].

Scott: We like to be pleasantly surprised.

SP: You guys put out an EP and did the recording at Earth Analog. What was your studio process like?

Wyman: We kind of hammered it out in two days, which is something for itself I think, to record six songs in two days. That’s a helluva job that I’m pretty proud of.

Scott: We wanted to archive the beginning of the band.

SP: You guys did the recording before you even played your first show right? Was that intentional?

Scott: We just wanted to get what we were doing and get something out.

Wyman: I think it’s probably easier to record. I mean, I’ve done some recording around town and so I can go put my name down on the calendar over at Earth Analog which is just super convenient. To have that going for a band is a huge advantage for the recording process which is always tedious and always drawn out. So the end result of that was us recording before we’d even played a show. It was easier for us to record first so that’s what happened.

Hill: I think we wanted to have something to kind of support at the shows. Something to bring, something tangible that people could take away.

Scott: You connect quicker with a band if you have something you can always listen to.

SP: Do you guys have intentions to do a full-length recording?

Scott: We have an idea for a second EP, like a four-song EP that we want to put out, and then maybe work on larger ideas from there. Nothing too grand. We’re still figuring out our sound and what we want to do.

SP: I’m assuming you guys are excited for Friday’s show?

Hill: Yeah, the touring bands are all really great. It’s our first show without Mark’s mullet though [all laugh]. I don’t know how to feel about that. The dynamic with the hair tossing is gonna be different.

Wyman: I’ll just have to turn around more for you.

SP: What’s your favorite thing about playing at Mike N Molly’s?

Scott: It’s intimate, it’s a small space, people are close, it sounds great.

Stanley: Carrying my amp up there [all laugh]. Just taking our gear from our upstairs practice space and bringing it up there.

Scott: I think we’re playing outside.

Stanley: Are we? Then that’s why I’m excited about this one [all laugh].

Wyman: Playing outside is awesome there. It’s a great experience. Sucks when it rains because the plans change quickly but if everything works out this will probably be one of the first shows outside which is nice. By default it’ll kind of be well attended.

Scott: Well attended in that everyone downtown can hear us.

Wyman: But yeah, Mike N Molly’s is kind of like a little home base for most musicians from Champaign. It’s the watering hole I think, the old standby. Everyone goes to Mike N Molly’s.

Euriah headlines Mike N Molly’s with Bitter Cannon, Holler House, and Donkey Donker on Friday.

Related Articles