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First off, I have to admit, we’re all kind of obsessed with this band here at BTRtoday. In fact, you can catch them on our latest episode of BTR Live Studio tearing it up. Seriously, they know how to fucking tear it up!
The first time I experienced Stuyedeyed live was a night to remember. They walked up on stage with comforting, smiling faces—however the second they started playing they raised hell! I was mesmerized, not only by their amazing musical talents, but also by just how genuinely nice all the members are. They might play music that paints a dark and chaotic scene, but they’re also sweet as pie.
Their debut EP, entitled “Funeral,” will be coming out March 10, but before that they’ve graced the world with another single off of it entitled “Pearl“—just to drive us wild with even more anticipation. Their sound is fast and unsettling, but in the best way possible. It’s filled with maniacal laughs, robust guitar solos, and hard and heavy melodic beats that not only get stuck in your head, but also become the soundtrack to your darkest inner desires.
Front man Nelson Espinal stirs the crowd into a tornado frenzy when he performs by thrashing his full head of heavy curls around, staring into audience members’ souls, and fearlessly jumping into the crowd while singing.
The band recently won NYC The Deli Mag’s “Best Emerging Garage/Slacker Rock NYC Band,” by the way.
We chatted with Espinal about Stuyedeyed, life, and how Modelo seriously needs to sponsor them already, I mean come on! Also, if you’re in the area, I highly suggest catching Stuyedeyed’s EP release show March 10th at Sunnyvale with The Parrots, and Comatides–it’s sure to be a riot.
BTRtoday (BTR): Every time I think of your band name I have to really concentrate because the spelling is confusing—where did that name come from, and why?
Nelson Espinal (NE): Honestly, I think when we were doing some of the original Stuyedeyed demos we were just walking around Bed-Stuy, because that’s where we were recording—Time Castle Studios, and we were just kind of stoned… I think it was Bert and I, and we had our first show that same night and we were a three piece at the time, and we were just like, “shit, we need a name for this show! What are we going to go as?” Then we just started rhyming off words—there’s no crazy story to it. Maybe there’s a deeper meaning to it, to what the name means now, I guess, but yeah…
My thing was that I was super stoked to start the band and the recordings that we were doing at the time in Bed-Stuy, because I was raised in Bed-Stuy with my mom off the Utica stop, off the A-train. It made sense, it was like, “oh yeah, yo, I’m from here and it’s cool that my band is recording here!”
BTR: What is your background like in music? Did you grow up playing music or did you recently learn?
NE: Music was something that was always around in my family. My dad plays congas, My grandfather used to sing; a lot of my family are percussionists. Nobody ever did it professionally, but when I was in high school, that’s when I got into playing bands and doing shitty Strokes covers in the cafeteria.
BTR: Nice! So what did you listen to growing up? The Strokes? It’s funny, because right now I’m actually wearing a Strokes shirt…
NE: I knew it! [Laughs]. The Strokes I got into when I was in high school. I grew up listening to a lot of Spanish music, a lot of salsa and merengue. Something I have a pretty strong tie to is this style of Puerto Rican folk music called “Aguinaldos,” which is pretty much Christmas folk music. I just grew up with my grandfather always playing it on tapes and him always singing along and listening, with his brothers and sisters coming over and them just playing it. I mean, aside from that, I grew up listening to a lot of shitty early 2000’s nu metal—you know, as all angry kids do. System Of A Down is probably one of my favorite bands…
BTR: I absolutely loved your last single, “Funeral.” I saw somewhere that you guys are releasing another single soon, is that true?
NE: We played a show on Feb. 18 with Flatbox; they put on a show where we could release one last single before the full EP drops on March 10.
BTR: Ah! How exciting! Can you elaborate on the EP—what are some themes, inspirations, etc.?
NE: To start, the name of the EP is “Funeral”—that was a song that I had written entitled “Funeral” and it just kind of plays into everything else. The theme of the entire EP would probably be just like the dying of my youth. In a weird way all of the songs are about rebirth or something. The EP is called “Funeral,” but the idea that there’s all this mayhem in life and we die and we come back. There’s a song on the record called “Pearl” and it’s pretty much about that—living your truest truth, living full consciousness and all that shit, you know?
BTR: What was the creative process in making it like?
NE: The band started in my bedroom and it kind of continues to be that way. Usually, I’ll marinate on some ideas. I’ll put together the song first and then lyrically I’ll approach that afterwards. I’ll bring it to the band and most of the time my parts wind up sticking through, but there’s times where the band comes together and pull some crazy-ass parts that I have no idea where they came from. A perfect example is Andrea’s part in “Funeral”–I never wrote a lead part for that, and she is a wizard on guitar and did some crazy stuff!
BTR: Yeah, she’s seriously awesome! How did you guys all meet?
NE: Bert and I used to play in a band together when I first moved back to NY when I was like 17—I lived in Florida for five years, but when I moved back I tried to join a band immediately! I went on Craisglist and was like, “I need to play music!” I found myself in this electro-pop dance band, and Bert happened to be playing bass in that band. Then I kind of just started coming into my own as a writer and I did that thing.
Andrea and I met at this basement show in NJ that I played with that old band, and then we just got close and cool. She started playing with us at our second show. Luis is the most recent addition to the band, it’s been a year exactly since he started playing with us; he started in January of last year. Ever since then we’ve just been on a fucking rocket ship to the moon!
BTR: Awesome! So what are your future intentions with Stuyedeyed?
NE: To piss people off and to make them really uncomfortable with themselves and to dream a little bit bigger and turn the volume up a little bit more.
BTR: [Laughs]. Sounds amazing! Anything else you want to add?
NE: I’m not a cool person. I really love chicken nuggets—that’s not just something I put on the internet. What else…. Luis wants me to say that he needs Modelo to sponsor us. I think that’s pretty much it…