An Interview with Rishi Bahl of Eternal Boy

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Image credit: K.B. Imaging

For those of you who don’t know me by now, I’m Anthony, the resident Pop-Punk nerd, and I’m here with another great Pop-Punk interview. This time, I’ve got Rishi Bahl of Eternal Boy.

This Pop-Punk trio has been in the game for many years and just recently released their latest album Bad Days Are Over so be sure to give that a listen, I wouldn’t endorse it if I didn’t like it!

Not only has Eternal Boy been in the game for a long time, they also run the Four Chord Music Record Label and Festival, speaking of which, it’s happening on September 17th, in Pittsburgh, PA so if you’re in the area, they have an amazing lineup for the 7th annual show and you wouldn’t want to miss it if you can make it!

In this interview with Rishi we talk about Pop-Punk, the band’s history as “The SpacePimps,” as well as Rishi’s influences and life on the road. I hope you enjoy this interview as much as I did. Let’s get into it!

Anthony:
Rishi, thank you so much for doing this interview with me today, I’m a huge fan of Pop-Punk. It’s always a pleasure to chat with anyone associated with the genre. How’ve you been holding up?

Rishi:
It has certainly been a weird time to be a human being and a particularly weird time to be a human being in America over the last year and a half. Despite all of it, we are all holding up and trying to make do with that we have

Anthony:
Before we get into things, can you tell us and our readers a bit about yourself and the band? How did the three of you meet? You guys have been around since 2007 or so but didn’t become known as Eternal Boy until later on. What prompted the name change from The SpacePimps?

Rishi:
I was in The SpacePimps for a long time with two other band members, and honestly, it had just run its course. We decided a long time prior to keep the band name (which in ways really debilitated us) when we should have changed it, members were becoming more and more unreliable, and the whole thing just needed to breathe. I have known Joe (bass player) and Andy (drummer) for basically the better part of fourteen years. We all joined forces in around 2016 under The SpacePimps, but shortly after decided it was time to re-brand, and so we changed the name to Eternal Boy (the name of The SpacePimps last record, to give a trail back to who we were). 

Anthony:
So, I can talk about influences all day and there’s one distinct sound I can hear from your music and that’s a lesser-known band called Me Vs Hero, and also The Starting Line among many others. Who are some of your influences for your band?

Rishi:
Believe it or not, the band has a massive range of music tastes. Of course, it all comes back to our love for the early 2000’s Pop-Punk scene, Drive-Thru Records, and Blink-182, but I think I am the person in the band that really holds that torch high. Andy loves Bruce Springsteen as well as heavier bands like Every Time I Die, Underoath, etc. Joe loves The Doors, The Who, and is even in a Black Sabbath cover band (don’t ask). In the end, the band influences are derived from The Starting Line, The Ataris, Blink-182, NFG, Face to Face, Jimmy Eat World, etc. I mean, the year 2002 was maybe the best year ever to get into this music.

From left to right: Joe, Andy, Rishi. Photo Courtesy of http://www.facebook.com/EternalBoyMusic

Anthony:
You just released your new album Bad Days Are Over and it sounds amazing! What songs off of the album are you most excited to play live?

Rishi:
We are just so excited to be on stage in general. I had no idea that the pandemic would be this far into its second year, it is just really discouraging. However, I am super excited to play “A Long Year” and “Bad Days Are Over” during our first show back on September 17th.

Anthony:
I’m currently listening to and watching the video for “Thirty Something” and I’m loving the nostalgia factor here. I can’t wait to get my hands on the album and blast it on my turntable. I just love the energy you put into it. Can you talk about the process of writing the album?

Rishi:
So, we actually wrote and finished recording these songs right before everything shut down. We got the final mixes and masters back in the Fall of 2020, so we really had a big decision to make in terms of when/how to release it. In terms of writing, everyone throws in their two cents but it usually starts with a chorus idea or an instrumental idea and we work from there. It was just so ironic that some of these songs were written before the pandemic and ended up having so much relevance during the pandemic. 

Anthony:
I gotta ask…you’re going to be playing with one of my favorite all-time favorite bands, Rise Against, as a part of the Four Chords Music Festival. How excited are you to be playing this show? Is this going to be your first live show since the shutdown?

Rishi:
Yes! My gosh, we are so excited. Actually, the festival is run and operated by me, so we play every year. [Laughs]. I will say I was very, very bummed when Blink-182 had to cancel (they were the original headliner) when Mark was diagnosed with cancer. Of course, I understand and hope so much he recovers quickly. On the whole, it is a stressful time but I just love putting on the show and performing. For bands like us, you don’t always get these opportunities, so we decided to kind of bring the opportunity to us by hosting the fest. 

Anthony:
What do you miss most about touring? What have been some of your favorite places you’ve gotten to visit and play?

Rishi:
I miss playing shows more than I ever could have imagined. Yeah– they can be stressful, but all of this has shown me that nothing compares to being on that stage. My top-5 places we have ever played are: 1) Club Laga – Pittsburgh, PA, 2) Club Quattro – Tokyo, JP, 3) The Academy – Birmingham, UK, 4) The Metro – Chicago, IL, and 5) Vox – Wuhan, CN

Image credit: Abigail Lois Photography

Anthony:
Who are some other groups you’re most proud to have shared the stage with?

Rishi:
Oh yes, so many bands we just love. I don’t know where to even begin. New Found Glory (I got to play “Hit or Miss” onstage with them at this show), Sum 41, The Used, The Ataris, The Starting Line, Yellowcard, to name a few.

Anthony:
One of my favorite questions to ask here now: What equipment do you work with? Do you have gear for touring than with recording, or do you keep it all the same?

Rishi:
This is probably worthy of a dissertation-like response. I am a gear junkie. I have more guitars than I can count, eight or nine guitar heads, multiple cabs, pedals, etc., but when we record, we use the gear at the studio. We record with Chris Badami who has done some of our favorite bands records (The Starting Line, Early November), and he has virtually every choice imaginable at his studio which eliminates the need to bring any of our gear. On the road, I essentially use two rigs: Mesa Boogie Triple Rectifier w/ Mesa 4×12 Slanted Cab or a Soldano-slo100 through a mesa 4×12 straight cab. 

Anthony:
Do you collect any music? Vinyl, CDs, cassettes, reel-to-reels, or are you all digital? What are some albums that mean the most to you, and why?

Rishi:
I do! I have one of the strongest early 2000s original pressing Pop-Punk vinyl collections on earth. My prized possessions are the original pressings of Say It Like You Mean It by The Starting Line, Clarity by Jimmy Eat World, and Take off Your Pants and Jacket by Blink-182. My top-5 artists of all time are Blink-182, The Ataris, The Starting Line, Less Than Jake, and Jimmy Eat World. 

Anthony:
How do you feel about the current state of the music industry in regards to touring and streaming music? I’ve heard horror stories about how hard it is for newer bands to get into touring. I know streaming can make it easier for your music to be absorbed, but it takes a TON of listens to net any profit off of it. Having been in the scene for quite some time, how have things changed from when you were starting out in the 2000s vs. how things are now?

Rishi:
It is not right to pay an artist .00045 cents (or whatever fraction of a fraction it is) per stream. Can you imagine if our three million streams were actually .99 songs bought on iTunes? Streaming benefits artists who are getting tens of millions of streams a week, half of which are procured from playlists they are on. It is back into a gatekeeper scene, whereas now it is playlist curators that own the key to the kingdom as opposed to radio stations. Of course, I am cognizant that this is the way it will be so adaptation and constantly creating new content is key here, which is what we have been trying to do.

Image credit: First Angel Media

Anthony:
When you’re not rockin’ out, what are some of your other interests and hobbies outside of music? Do any of those influence your music, or do you keep your personal and musical lives separate?

Rishi:
It’s very tough to keep things out of my personal life, as I run a record label (Four Chord Music) and own and operate The Four Chord Music Festival. However, outside of music entirely, I am actually also a college professor. [Laughs]. I have a Ph.D. in marketing and teach it at a small private university here in Pittsburgh. I also love animals and am a huge advocate for the adoption of animals, Pittsburgh Sports, and Taylor Swift.

Anthony:
As we seemingly get into a post COVID world, what are you looking forward to most? What does the future of Eternal Boy look like?

Rishi:
Eternal Boy will play shows, write music and grind it out like we always do. We love the grind. I look forward to shows, friends, being around people again, and normal holidays with family.

Anthony:
Lastly, where can we find your music?

Rishi:
Anywhere you listen to music, you can hear us. Just search Eternal Boy or Rishi is Beautiful and it will pop up. 

Anthony:
Rishi, thanks again so much for doing this with me, like I said previously, Pop-Punk is my absolute favorite genre and it’s a blast interviewing artists within the genre. You guys are full of raw passion and energy, and I hope to see you guys in my area at some point. Is there anything else you’d like to add or say that we may have missed or didn’t get to cover?

Rishi:
Nope! Thank you so much! I appreciate you taking the time to reach out to us. Much appreciated.

Interested in learning more about the music of Eternal Boy? Check out the link below:

Dig this? Check out the full archives of A.M. Radio, by Anthony Montalbano, here: https://vinylwritermusic.com/a-m-radio-archives/

About Post Author

Anthony Montalbano

Anthony Montalbano grew up in New York and North Carolina. Anthony is a baker by day and a contributor to the Vinyl Writer cause by night. With a passion for podcasts, Pop Punk, video games, and more, Anthony brings a unique and fresh perspective to the team. Anthony's column is a catch-all for the things he loves most, and he wouldn't have it any other way.
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