The Brooklyn indie/punk scene is a wasteland littered with talent. Bands struggle for survival while the fit stand tall in the sandstorms. Join me as I talk with Alyse Lamb, singer of local rock outfit EULA, one of the few alpha-bands on the scene.
Dingus: Can you briefly narrate Eula’s history?
Lamb: I met Nathan and Jeff at music school in New Haven, CT. I had recorded a bunch of demos at the recording studio on campus, so I hesitantly showed them… I was super shy about it. They ended up really liking the demos so we formed EULA. We actually started as a 4-piece. I was playing guitar, along with Nathan, with Jeff on bass and a series of non-committal drummers. Nate eventually hopped on drums and we have been a 3-piece ever since. Early on we played and toured around the Northeast incessantly, all the while writing and writing. We kept getting invites to play Brooklyn so we eventually moved there in 2011. I love Brooklyn’s kinetic energy and really supportive DIY music scene.
EULA is a sporadic project that constantly shifts energy. Where does this personality derive from?
I think our shifts in energy can be attributed to our wide-ranging of musical influences. When I was growing up, my mother always took me to the ballet or theater, so I was exposed to classical, romantic, neo-classical music (Satie, Debussy, Stravinsky etc.) at a very young age. When I would get home from the ballet, my brother would be blasting Wu Tang, N.W.A, Tribe, and my sister would be blaring Lisa Lisa or Duran Duran (she only listened to artists with two names apparently). So my youth was musically-diverse. I love the energy and movement of hip hop or straight up new wave dance pop but I also love the beautiful and cerebral classics. I think this comes out in our performance as well as songwriting.
The genre combination, which I’d dare to call a car crash, creates a very unique personality and sound. The songs on Maurice Narcisse are, without question, tied by aesthetic while remaining dynamic. Is there a significance to their arrangement on the album, contextually, poetically or compositionally?
I think one of the greatest things a band or a group of musical performances can do is weave through genres effortlessly. Some artists do it from album to album, but I wanted to create a 10-song composition that had dynamics while remaining aesthetic. ”Maurice Narcisse” is a character I created that represents our society’s scary obsession with narcissism. ”Me me me” mentality is really frightening to me, so these songs are sort of an alarm call. Alarm calls come in a variety of different forms, so each song on the album is written in a different style or arrangement.
Do the songs each address specific issues? Are the issues cultural or personal?
There is a healthy mix between cultural and personal on the album. For instance, “Honor Killer” was written about the honor killings happening to gay men in Iraq, and I believe it goes straight back to a person or group of people thinking the insane notion that their “way” or viewpoint is the best “way” or viewpoint. It’s disgusting. And then tracks like “Hollow Cave” and “Canyon” deal with very personal narcissism, how humans have the capacity and power to negatively affect another person’s life if they choose to exercise that power.
In one line, what is the main sentiment of the album?
Never be indifferent to the plight of others.
(First three Photographs by Eric C. Groom)
Lets lighten it up a little bit. How does EULA compose?
As of late, I’ve been writing and recording songs in my apartment, quietly, then I bring them to Nate and Jeff and we flesh it out with drums and bass at our practice space. I guess this is the tiny-brooklyn-apartment way of writing. Originally, in Connecticut, we had a huge space and lots of room and time to practice, so it would be a mix of Nathan and I writing together and separately, which was a lot more organic. So strange how your physical surroundings totally affect the writing process. I think these new recordings will reflect a much different vibe than our last record.
What’s in store for EULA’s future?
We are going to release a 4-song EP within the next couple months, followed by a few five-show mini tours up and down the East Coast; perhaps out West a bit. And, in the not-so-distant future (I hope) I want our asses playing in Europe. However I think my booking abilities only extend to the U.S. so signing on with a booking agent would be most delightful.
(Photograph by Chris Mather)