In the overcrowded music business, it can be difficult for a band to articulate a unique personality. With so many artists to “compete” with, musicians are doing anything they can to grab the attention of new listeners. In a city like Champaign-Urbana where emo and punk music runs through the veins of several generations of local music, it may seem redundant to form another emo rock band. But Euriah, fully conscious of the genre’s abundance, has done just that.
When asked what makes Euriah distinguishable from all of these other local bands, bassist Mark Wyman simply answered without a moment of hesitation: “nothing.”
Last week, buzz met up with members of Euriah for the first time to preview their upcoming show at Mike N Molly’s. The four-piece band – made up of Wyman, Eric Stanley, Austin Hill and Kyle Scott – is relatively new to the local scene, as they’ve only been playing shows for about half a year now, but they have each been heavily influenced by the music of C-U from years past.
“I still listen to the American Football record, or at least something from it, once a week. I’ve been listening to that record for years,” said vocalist and guitarist Stanley.
While Wyman has jokingly claimed that there is nothing distinguishable about Euriah, he also understands that an overarching and distinguished sound has grown out of C-U.
“Yeah, you sound like these other bands,” said Wyman, “but of course you sound like that and it’s fine. And people embrace it.”
With bands from the 90s like American Football and Braid, Champaign-Urbana was once ruled, and arguably still is, by a trailblazing genre involving basement rehearsals, lo-fi recording techniques, and a degree of honesty that can’t be found in any other city. “The best thing about the whole genre and everything that encompasses it is how honest it is,” Stanley continues. “I feel sad so I’m going to fucking talk about it.”
Musically, the emo genre is complex and draws from a variety of inspirations.
“It seems to be very recognizable and identifiable when you listen to it,” said drummer Austin Hill, “but it’s also difficult to describe and it encompasses a lot of different things, like poppy aspects and some slightly more avant-garde things.”
For Wyman, the local connection with emo is powerful, but it’s not the only reason why the genre resonates so strongly.
“What I always imagine is ‘would I like those bands if they weren’t from here?’” said Wyman. “And the answer is yes. There’s something that you relate to. You feel like there’s a deeper relationship with the music and the bands because you are from the same place. You see the same things and the same things are affecting you every day.”
It seems that it’s not only the emo songs that resonate so strongly in C-U, but it’s also the honest values and ideals portrayed by the artists, both lyrically and musically.
“It’s what people sit down and think about whenever they’re alone,” said Stanley. “I think a lot of that is really, really fucking cool because at the most meaningful end of it, whenever you yourself go through things like that you also feel a sense of ‘I’m not alone in feeling these kinds of things’ and there’s something really therapeutic in that.”
Stanley takes on the role of writing a majority of the songs, and at an intense pace.
“After the first couple practices,” said Wyman. “I was getting a ride home with Kyle [Scott] and we were like: ‘This kid is just pumping out songs right now. Just don’t get in his way.’ So we just let him and he hasn’t stopped yet.”
Each of the musicians contributes their own individuality in the songwriting process.
“I’ve usually fronted the songwriting in a majority of the bands that I’ve been in,” said Stanley. “This is really the first one where I have brought songs to the table and Austin will play drums in a way that I didn’t really think about in a part. I think these guys really complement each other well and it’s been fun writing with them.”
Euriah’s music reflects many of the characteristics of the emo-rock of their musical influence, yet expresses a unique personality through the lyrics and songwriting, especially on the band’s six-track EP that came out in April.
Stanley said his lyrics are inspired by “times of feeling uncomfortable” and “insecure” with himself.
“I think everybody does,” he added. “But then you find these glimmers of hope and confidence in yourself through that. I think there are a lot of areas in the EP where there’s a little bit of discontent with where I am at 27 years old and what I’m doing and what I want to do.”
The band made an effort to make the EP available through many sources including Bandcamp, Spotify, Google Play, and Pandora.
“We just want people to hear [our music],” said Wyman. “If people want to pay for it, we’ll take your money and we’re grateful for it, but at this point we just want people to have it. That’s what’s most important: just sharing it with new people.”
Euriah is a group of genuine musicians who not only understand this community’s genre well, but also share a deep, incomprehensible love for it. And with new songs written for another upcoming release, this is only the beginning of Euriah’s story.
Euriah will play at Mike N Molly’s on Friday, May 15 with Bitter Canon, Holler House and Donkey Donker. Doors at 8 p.m, show at 9 p.m. $5. Ages +19.