Quality music is often the result of years of perfecting the art. This perfection doesn’t come easily, and when it is finally heard it is unmistakable.
The members of Eyes Open, a local rock band with roots at the U, have created a sound that mimics popular artists who have come before them, yet the group manages to make the sound its own.
With an easy flowing rock style similar to bands such as U2, Eyes Open is clearly brimming with talent. This is audibly apparent even through the unpolished sound of an unmixed demo.
From the pounding beats of its remarkably talented 15-year-old drummer, Devin Wolfe, to the swaying bass lines of Scott “The Rev” Hurst, to the perfect mix of growl and smooth vocals of lead singer Stephen McRae, Eyes Open is a deep well of musical genius just waiting to explode onto the scene.
Perhaps the most interesting story among this gifted group of musicians belongs to Eyes Open lead guitarist, Nazly Purba.
An international student from Indonesia, Purba is as deeply American as a musician can be when it comes to musical inspirations.
“Music is everything for me,” Purba said. “I was influenced by a lot of post-hardcore rock music, but I used to listen to the blues, jazz, all the classic stuff.”
Purba said from the age of five — or as he put it “before I could even spell my own last name” — he used to hang around his uncles and listen to a lot of American metal music.
“I was heavily influenced by American culture, especially the rock music culture,” Purba said. “I may have lived 15,000 miles from here, but my mind and my soul was formed by the [rock music] magazines I read as a kid.”
Hurst said when he and his fellow bandmates began looking for a lead guitarist, they listened to a lot of musicians, but he knew Purba was the right one the moment he first heard him.
“There’s something that’s just really exciting and energetic about [Purba’s] playing,” Hurst said. “This guy plays everything I enjoy and he plays it really well and that was my initial hook.”
The band was officially cemented just over a year ago after Purba joined the group. For Hurst, the impetus for creating the music and much of the enjoyment it brings comes from having the opportunity to work with other talented musicians such as Purba.
“More than anything I enjoy the collaboration,” Hurst said. “I’ll practice at home and enjoy it, but it’s nowhere near as enjoyable as when I get to play with other people, especially when they are really good musicians. There’s just something about that collaboration that then makes the art just that much more powerful to me.”
The experience has been similar for Purba, allowing him to grow and flourish musically here in the United States. He said working with Eyes Open has allowed him to branch into a more positive side of his own musical style, to write “less lethal” hardcore metal and maybe bring some happiness to others through his music.
Eyes Open will be performing at the Battle of the Bands at Liquid Joe’s on Nov. 30.