What does one think of when looking back on the good ole days? We think of pizza parties, summer time anthems, the shore points, late nights with friends, and of course, our awkward phase. For some of us, we grow out of these times and for others, we still relish those days with our friends over our favorite pop punk albums; Enema of the State, Last Stop Suburbia, Ocean Avenue, and Sticks and Stones to name a few. Today, the pop punk realists from Pittsburgh, PA, Eternal Boy bring us those feelings from our youth and remind us how we may get older but to never forget who you are. Through blistering opening riffs, bouncy choruses, and a more technical style of playing, Eternal Boy’s album Awkward Phase portrays exactly that.
I got to sit down with Rishi Bahl, the lead singer and guitarist of Eternal Boy and discuss the writing process of this album, the state of the band, and how things have progressed since solidifying the lineup with Joe Harbulak on bass and Andy Mayer on drums a few years ago. Throughout our conversation, Rishi opened up on how having Joe and Andy in the band provided a more cohesive writing process; a process that involved everyone’s thoughts and not solely relying on the back of Rishi.
Both Andy and Joe come from other bands and past recording experiences. Joe, who has a studio and works as a producer, provided a more recording based mindset into the songs. Andy, coming from bands such as Cali Ac, provided a more breakdown and heavy feel to the songs. This helped balance out the levels of pop and heavy for each of the songs. Perfect example from Awkward Phase would be the song “So Pathetic”. This song starts off with a catchy pop punk bounce of an intro into a breakdown rhythm of a verse. With relatable lyrics in Eternal Boy fashion the song rips through the verses and choruses into the bridge. Through the healthy balance between the members, each was able to add their own flare to showcase the heavy side of music the band has while still harnessing the traditional pop side of pop punk. Finally, ending with a chorus written to scream at the top of your lungs while crowd surfing to the stage.
The biggest take away from the conversation with Rishi was how a cohesive band allows for more courage from the members in all aspects of a band. Rishi opened up about feeling more confident in bringing parts of a song to Joe and Andy that may not have been as accepted in past lineups. Additionally, taking chances on shows and tours such as the UK with Patent Pending was a huge step up from recent years. Knowing that you and your band are all on the same page with a desired goal allows for more risk-taking with songs, lyrics, tours, and any other areas that come with being in a band. No matter what happens in the end you know you will always have your bandmates to fall on and hold you up when times get rough and you will always know you did exactly what you and your bandmates wanted regardless of anything else.
Eternal Boy is forging paths and setting examples that all bands can look up to. The importance of finding the ones you feel most connected to in all aspects inside and outside of music, taking chances whenever you can, and always remembering who you are and not being ashamed. People want realists in music — those are the bands that give us the courage to be who we are and to work towards what we want regardless of what others think. Check out their song “So Pathetic” below along with the rest of their LP Awkward Phase.
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