The Ehems on ‘Halo,’ Self Love & The Importance of Eyebrows

You wouldn’t think music inspired by playing “Halo,” checking yourself out in the mirror and ripping Juuls would be good. The Ehems are here to prove you wrong.

The Ehems, “Eh Eh Hem”

Matthew Ebrani (vocals/bass), Matias Quarleri (guitar) and Mateen Pouyafar (drums) have known each other since they were teens, but only started making music as The Ehems couple of years ago when Ebrani (maT) and Quarleri (Matt 2) got together for late night jams. The band’s chemistry arose from this easy friendship fueled by Juul pods, 12 packs of beer and playing the videogame “Halo 3.”

Earlier this month, they released their debut music video for “Eh Eh Hem” off their EP Bad Enough to be Terrible (2018). Shot on 16mm film, the video introduces a band with a vintage aesthetic and a modern sound.

Listen to the entire EP Bad Enough to be Terrible and read the rest of the interview with The Ehems below.

BTRtoday (BTR): You guys are pretty new, so let’s get the basics down first: How did you all meet and come to form The Ehems?

Matthew Ebrani (ME): We’ve all known each other for a bit. Mateen and I have been DJing and producing together since we were 15, and we’ve known Matias for a while now too. About two years back, Matias and I started writing music together in his home studio every week. None of what we’ve done so far was part of a plan, it just happened.

Matias Quarleri (MQ): What maT said.

Mateen Pouyafar (MP): MaT missed one part of the story. Mat 2 [Matias] made a song called “Slipping Away.” After he made that we knew we had to meet him. It all went south from there

BTR: Why the name The Ehems?

ME: Whether there’s something stuck in your throat and you need to get it out or you just want attention, Eh Hem.

MQ: Also what maT said.

MP: Because it’s SICK.

BTR: Tell me about the Bad Enough To Be Terrible album. What was the creative process like?

MP: maT and Mat 2 would get together late at night, buy a pack of Juul pods, some weed and a 12 pack, and play until they ran out. Most of the music was terrible. I had to sit and pick the good ones.

ME: We wrote it before we considered ourselves a band and before we knew we were The Ehems. It allowed us the freedom to explore and develop an initial sound without being bound to any idea of what we needed to sound like. We wrote like 40 songs in a year and ended up choosing five for the album—that really helped us form a starting point.

BTR: What’s the band’s writing dynamic like?

MP: It’s amazing. We jam until it gets boring. Then we play a few games of “Halo 3.” Then we jam. And a song is born. Probably in a 1:1 ratio.

ME: The first album was written in a pretty open manner. But the process has changed since we’ve formed this idea of what The Ehems are. I think we’re thinking more about how we can play these songs live now and what instruments and limitations we need to consider. It gets boring once you get complacent, so we’re just trying to keep it hoodrat.

MQ: I’m usually pretty calculated when it comes to writing or producing. I enjoy things having purpose and meaning in a song, sometimes too much. Writing with maT has helped me to change it up a bit. I’d dial in a tone with my pedals and start playing and he’d creep up behind me and blast everything to 11, which gets results I normally wouldn’t go for.

BTR: What inspires you guys?

MP: When I look in the mirror I get pretty inspired. I think it’s really important to love yourself. That’s something I really think The Ehems embody.

ME: New York, people, art, other music, films, talking to people, life, Matias’ hair, Mateen’s eyebrows. They say having unique eyebrows is the most important feature in determining a person’s success.

MQ: Yeah, duh.

BTR: Tell me about this dashing young lad as your FB profile pic—is that one of you guys?

ME: That’s Mateen as a baby. He used to be cute.

MQ: I must say I’m proud of Mateen for exposing himself so much. But yeah, that’s changing soon.

MP: Thanks. I wonder if I still look as innocent as I used to.

MQ: Well at least you have your eyebrows going for you.

BTR: What’s your favorite thing about The Ehems so far?

MP: [Playing] “Halo” is by far the best thing and will always be.

ME: “Halo.”

MQ: Playing “Halo.”

BTR: What reaction from listeners would warm your heart the most?

ME: I don’t care. Hopefully, people like it. If they don’t, fuck ‘em.

MP: If someone used our music to fall asleep. That’s a goal for me, I don’t know why. I feel like that’s an intimate space.

BTR: What should we keep an eye out for in the future of The Ehems?

ME: Love songs.

MQ: An organized studio.

MP: “Halo” live stream.

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