We met up with Euriah frontman Eric Stanley to talk about the Urbana emo band’s beginnings, their upcoming EP, and Stanley’s journey back to music after years away from performing.
Ghost Track: Tell us a little about how Euriah started. It seemed like it all sprung up out of nowhere in 2015.
Eric Stanley: Yeah, it kind of did. It’s interesting, I hadn’t been in a band for a few years and I always played in various bands in Southern Illinois. Various jobs brought me to Champaign and a girlfriend I had at the time. She knew a guy named Kyle Scott – he was one of the first members in the band – and he was starting to play with Austin (Hill) who’s our drummer. It kind of facilitated me for joining them for a practice session and it clicked really well, that’s kind of how it started. We went in there and they had one song written. I decided I liked it and wrote a ton more songs for it and it’s kind of turned into this.
Ghost Track: It turned into the self-titled EP?
Eric Stanley: Yeah, absolutely. The song I sat in on in at the first practice was the beginnings of “Loose Ends.” We kind of pieced that together structurally. It was a lot different when it started. It was kind of cool, that’s the only song so far in the band that I had music to write vocals on top of. I kind of like that because I feel like I’ve got to do less work (laughs). But yeah, I went home and really wrote the rest of the EP in the matter of a month. Then we went and recorded before we even played a show.
Ghost Track: How long were you out of music? I know you mentioned before that it had been a few years since you were in a band.
Eric Stanley: Man, the last serious band I feel like I was in was the Transatlantic – they were actually from Springfield, Ill. What’s odd about that is one of the members is Dustin (Sendejas), who’s our newest guitar player. It’s kind of cool how stuff comes full circle like that. We did a tour on the East Coast in 2010 or 2011. It’s been a long time. It’s been nice to kind of learn how to play in a band again.
Ghost Track: Is that where you’re hoping to take Euriah? Turn it into a touring band and tour outside of Illinois?
Eric Stanley: Absolutely, I think we’re all really serious about the band. We have a lot of talks about looking at the next step. We’re recording the new EP really soon and we’re trying to figure out how to take that really seriously – put enough money into it so it’s getting to the right places, do it wisely, spend a lot of time and effort on every aspect of the song. I would love for it to be a touring band eventually, as long as we do it that smart.
Ghost Track: You mentioned two things: money and effort. Those are two things people tend to boil it down to when it comes to working towards being a successful band. Are those the things you think of when it comes to that as well?
Eric Stanley: You’ve got to spend a lot of time writing songs, man. You have to really put thought into what you’re writing, make sure you’re happy with it and make sure you’re writing something that’s quality. And it does take money. We’ve had a lot of help along the way. We’re doing this release on Heirship Records and Isaac Arms has been very gracious to us in helping us out. It takes being active. We’ve been doing the shows, it takes trying to set up the interviews and doing stuff like this, being proactive. When that record comes out, it costs money. What we do with that after, if we do a music video through any type of production company, that stuff’s going to cost money but it’s stuff that I feel is necessary.
Ghost Track: It’s kind of crazy to see how that stuff adds up when you’re trying to make things happen.
Eric Stanley: Absolutely, man. You’re kind of looking at numbers and you’re like, “Oh my gosh, here we go.”
Ghost Track: But back down to the basics of just songwriting, I feel like listening to a lot of records that I’m not interested in, it all kind of boils down to things like they over-looked the songwriting or just didn’t write a good song going into it. They can add everything else on top of it but that can’t always mask it. You guys seem to have the songwriting part nailed down, which I think is key to everything.
Eric Stanley: Yeah, it’s been nice having our newest member Dustin in the band because he got to listen to everything from an outside perspective and then decided to join the band much after the songs had been written. That’s been a nice thing because as you were saying with over-looking the songwriting process, maybe even over-thinking the songwriting process, I’ve been trying to be very mindful of putting a lot of effort into writing the songs and being open in showing friends who have good opinions.
Ghost Track: Does that happen with you guys a lot with the amount of members you have now, do opinions start to clash and you end up adding too much stuff to songs?
Eric Stanley: Oh man, I jump the gun on ideas so much. Usually if it’s too much, it’s from me. I think we’re falling into a nice balance. There’s a lot of things you learn being in a band throughout that process, it’s a lot like being in a relationship. People’s feelings get hurt and everybody’s time and effort is getting put into it. We’re really learning a balance with that.
Ghost Track: You’ve got the new EP you’re recording with Seth Engel in Chicago, do you have any more details on that?
Eric Stanley: Yeah, the record is written. We’re going to start out the tracking process at Earth Analog in Tolono, Ill. Seth Engel’s coming down for a day. We’re going to do drums there and the rest of it we’re going to do at Minbal Studio in Chicago. I think we’re spending five days on it, all day for those. It’ll be cool having a few days. With the first EP, we did the tracking over two days and even still those songs were at a very early stage and things have changed since then. As far as details of the new record, it’s something I haven’t really talked specifically about yet. It is a concept record about my brother battling a drug addiction and my thoughts throughout that process and seeing that develop over the course of several years and my response to all of it. Trying to write some songs that are honest about it and going through those dealing with that and it’s been kind of an emotional one, which is interesting as well. That’s kind of the general vibe of the record and I think my lyrics are direct enough in all the songs and it will be easy to pick up. There’s not a title for it, for the record yet. I think most of the song names that we’ve went over at shows are going to change as well.
Ghost Track: Did you find it tougher to write about such a close subject or more rewarding and cathartic?
Eric Stanley: A lot tougher. I’m kind of an emotional guy. I think, one, there was an interesting dynamic with all of them. I felt like with all of them, I wasn’t happy with them unless I had written to the point where I was in tears when writing the songs. Visiting and revisiting lyrics and making sure that every line on there is respectful to him, because he’s also a person, being honest with myself. It’s definitely been very hard. There’s been a couple practices where I’ve broken down and you have that. It’s a very personal subject that’s still going on today.
Ghost Track: In that case, it would be good to be in a band with your friends who are supportive.
Eric Stanley: They are. They’ve been very accepting and they still don’t know me very well yet, it’s only been a little over a year. Sometimes I get a little unreasonable in a band and that’s kind of heightened it a little bit – I’m kind of control freak when it comes to things. They’ve been so understanding through all of it and I think we’ve come out of it having written something, at least very meaningful to me, and it seems like to the guys as well. It seems like it means a lot to them. It’s kind of one of those things for all of us at this point where we’re just really into these songs so much that however they turn out in the studio, we’re going to be happy with all of it.
Ghost Track: Did you throw out any tracks? You said you were going over it pretty rigorously.
Eric Stanley: Yeah, I wrote 11 or 12 for a six-track EP. A lot of that was just stuff like, am I repeating myself? This is good and I like the lyrics here, but maybe the guitar part’s not as good and I want to take this out – this content – and put it in one of the songs that’s better. There was a lot of that. I would go in to Evernote and post lyric ideas and song ideas and we’ve been doing that. I’ve been writing it for a year, almost immediately after we were done with the first EP, I wrote “Carpenter’s Hands.” It’s all kind of developed from there.
Ghost Track: That was the first song you wrote for this EP?
Eric Stanley: Yeah, and it was a lot different as well. It’s crazy. Just thinking about it, you kind of prepare your thoughts before one of these things, and I was just thinking, man they all started somewhere and they’ve all changed a whole lot. The coolest thing about it is I found that with this band I’ve found that I’m very limited as a songwriter and the people that I’m playing with have added so much to it, and it’s been something that has been really, really cool.
Ghost Track: Did you know you were going to write a concept record from the get-go or did “Carpenter’s Hands” launch that concept?
Eric Stanley: The beginning talks of it – that was whenever we had past members – I had written “Carpenter’s Hands” and I had written “Trouble,” and those are the two new ones that we’re playing live right now. We talked about that. It started out as like, this could be its own little thing. This sounds different from the pop-emo stuff and it could be its own little thing. It’s kind of turned into progressing the band a lot, just as far as how content we are with it – not to say from any outside source. But yeah, it started out that way pretty much directly after that song.
Ghost Track: The reception around town since you released the self-titled EP has been very good. What is that like to have a whole music scene get behind something and be receptive to it?
Eric Stanley: It’s so overwhelming and so weird. I’ve lived here maybe six months longer than this band has been around. We were very fortunate when we started the band, the two members who aren’t in anymore had been rooted in the community for a lot longer and regardless of how things went, we got a bit of a leg up in the beginning there. There have been some shows where I’ve been brought to tears I’ve been so overwhelmed by it. I didn’t think I was ever going to be doing anything like this again and it’s really cool.
Ghost Track: Did you think it was the end for you after the Transatlantic?
Eric Stanley: Yeah, I thought that was going to be the end of me playing music seriously. I’ve always tried to do side projects here and there. I did think that it was going to be the last time that I was doing something that I cared about and was serious about.
Ghost Track: Do you think there will be a concrete end for you? It feels like people can always say, “This will be the last thing I ever do,” but you don’t just forget how to play guitar or sing a melody in your head, you know?
Eric Stanley: I love playing guitar more than anything else ever. I don’t know. It’s one of those things where I don’t see that coming to an end. I definitely, at this point in my life, don’t ever see one of my music projects becoming really successful, but it would be unreal if that happened because I’m so into it. I’m just not good at normal jobs, I’m just not good at them. I don’t really allow myself to be and I don’t really care about them as much as playing tunes. I’ve picked up a little bit of recording knowledge on the side. If bands ever end, I’ll probably go to that side of it. I’ll probably go to school for a little bit and learn recording engineering and try that route. It seems a little bit more reasonable.