Been quite some time since I’ve had the chance to do a Music Spotlight. It’s just been a very busy summer from graduation, to working full time, to getting to shoot Sad Summer Festival, and then being sick for half of August, it’s been an interesting time. But I finally had some time to set aside to bring you another Music Spotlight!
This time I am gonna be shining the light on Pittsburgh Pop/Punk local legends, Eternal Boy. Formerly known as The Spacepimps until 2016, EB has led the pop/punk scene for almost two decades since their formation. They released their very first (and lesser known) albums in 2007 and 2010 (“Turn It Up!” and “Stuck Here Forever“) through Japanese record label, Kick Rock Music. In 2013, they released their ever so popular, “Eternal Boy“, where they got the new band name in 2016. Their most recent album was “Awkward Phase“, which was released in 2017.
My introduction to the pop/punk world really started with my connection to Eternal Boy and their lead guitarist/vocalist, Rishi Bahl. He happened to be my academic advisor for all 4 years I spent in college, which only increased my exposure to the world of pop/punk music. I had the opportunity to ask Rishi some questions about the band. I started out by asking the origin of the name, Eternal Boy, and what inspired them to change their name to which he said, “if you think about your band as a brand, it would make sense why we decided to change our name. More often than not, your favorite brand went through a facelift, so to speak, albeit a logo change, color changes, what products and services they provide, etc. Similarly, our band felt like our previous name was holding us back from really reaching the people we wanted to. Truth be told, since the name change we have seen a significant increase in growth.”
(May I add that I’m not surprised he brought in a business lesson into this interview.)
I first caught an Eternal Boy show a few weeks after starting my freshman year in 2015, and man was it an experience for me. Earlier in the year I had caught All Time Low and that was my first crowd-surfing experience — no, I didn’t crowd surf. It was my first time being in a pit ever. So the EB show had a lot of crowd surfers and people moshing. This all took place at The Smiling Moose in the South Side of Pittsburgh.
The band consists of Rishi Bahl (lead guitar/lead vocals), Joe Harbulak (bass/vocals), and Andy Mayer (drums). They formed the band back in 2003 and happened to meet through their connections in the scene. “All of us were in bands in the Pittsburgh scene and were super close. Joe was in a band called Allstar, that we played with years ago, and Joe stayed on to kind of be our unofficial 4th member throughout the years. Andy was in a few bands, Lemonaid Stand, Cali AC and Red Hands, and again, he was one of the first people I met in the music scene. So it made sense that we all love pop punk, all love playing music, and all are pretty motivated to make this work.”
Throughout the conversations I’ve had with different bands over the years, as well as through my Music Spotlight features, I’ve come to find that influence from other bands who have made music their well-being as well as their passion, is very prevalent. In the pop/punk scene, I’ve come to find that a lot of the influences are the same. For Eternal Boy, that is pretty much the case. Rishi explains, “if any one listens to us, they will definitely hear the early 2000’s pop/punk scene ridden throughout our music. Early Blink 182, New Found Glory, The Starting Line, The Ataris, I think it is safe to say we were profoundly and eternally influenced by that era of music.” This is why they describe their sound as throwback pop/punk.
Every band has at least one show that sits as the craziest, most surreal show they’ve ever done — that may have even given them pre-show jitters. For Eternal Boy, it was the MIDI music festival in China that they played a few years ago. “[It was] on the beach, in Shanghai, in front of 15,000 people. It was one of those moments where you say to yourself, ‘is this real??'” On the topic of shows, I asked what their dream lineup would be for the band to play, to which Rishi said, “Oh this is tough… though it isn’t like I haven’t thought about this every day of my life since i was 15: Blink 182, New Found Glory, The Starting Line, Rufio, Eternal Boy”. Eternal Boy has played with The Starting Line, when they headlined one year of the music festival Rishi has put on every year since 2014, Four Chord Music Festival (which I’ll talk more about in a little).
Fast forward to 2019, I wanted to dig into what we can expect from Eternal Boy for the coming year. They promoted a (successful) Kickstarter campaign to help them fund their studio time. As far as the new music they have recorded, “we just got back from recording a new album in New Jersey with the amazing Chris Badami. He has done our previous 2 albums and has also recorded some of our favorite bands of all time. I think the music takes steps forward, all while not alienating those who have liked us in the past.” It seems like any current fans of Eternal Boy won’t be let down, but we can also expect something new from them. They will be playing Four Chord Music Festival 6 on October 6th at Highmark Stadium, alongside headliners such as The Offspring, Simple Plan, Anberlin, and more. You can grab tickets here.
I’ve been continuously impressed with what Eternal Boy is capable of — as well as how much I’ve come to like them, despite my reservations with heavier music. They’ve even rocked a cover of Taylor Swift’s We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together as if it were their own. (Well Rishi is a total geek for her) Every show I go to shoot or just attend feels different than the last, even if the difference is as little as a change in the setlist. They keep the crowd excited and on their feet. For a band in the local music scene, they have a large fanbase that’s only going to get larger. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve met a random band and they either idolize or have at least heard of Eternal Boy. They keep people talking, and that, as well as their immense talent and stage presence, is why I consider them legends who keep the local pop/punk music scene coming back for more.
Below are some photos I’ve taken of them over the years. You can find all of their social medias below as well.