Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania’s Eternal Boy will release their new album, Bad Days Are Over, April 30 via their own Four Chord Music. It’s a pop-punk gem with a seriously positive outlook, that manages to simultaneously reflect on the past and look toward the future.
Surprisingly, or maybe ironically, Bad Days Are Over was recorded before COVID-19 made its impact. “We finished the record a week before the pandemic started,” says frontman Rishi Bahl. “We record right near New York City, so it’s about a seven-hour drive away. We finished the vocals and we drove back [to Pittsburgh], and then a week and a half, two weeks later the whole world shut down. But we didn’t have to endure the whole stress of having to record during a pandemic.”
Being a completely independent band – Rishi is the brains behind Four Chord Music, and the band funded their album through a Kickstarter campaign – Eternal Boy had different challenges when it came to recording Bad Days Are Over. The band couldn’t have been more psyched to get back in the studio after the three years since recording Awkward Phase. “It takes a lot longer for bands like us to get music out,” Rishi says. “It was awesome though, in the studio. I think that going into the studio, other than playing shows, is the most fun thing to do because you have this vision in your brain of what it will sound like. [And] I really think that the songs ended up way better than anybody thought [they would]. It was exciting, it’s always nerve-wracking, but overall, I live for that nerve-wracking excitement.”
This album was more of a collaborative effort than previous releases too, as Rishi elaborates: “Normally I do a lot of writing, but this time we worked through the ideas more together. And then we’ll work through it with our producer, and we record it. It’s a pretty simple, pretty punk, pretty plug-and-play-type writing process.”
“We’re not trying to reinvent the wheel, we’re not trying to be groundbreaking and create a whole new genre, we just want to play the music that we like. We’ve made progress forward, but we didn’t progress so much where we’ve alienated our entire [fanbase].”
Fans can expect an album filled with sunny, pop-punk jams, even if this time around the guys are showing their age a little more. “It’s a summery record,” he smiles. “All of our records seem to be summer records. I hope that it will be a soundtrack to windows down, friends in the car – masked up, if that’s the case. I hope that people get out of it a sense of comfort. There’s stuff that you’re going to want to rock out to, and stuff that you’re going to want to drive around at night listening to. I hope that people get the whole spectrum of emotion out of it.”
“When you’re in your 30s, you’re not really writing about the same stuff as before. We’ve had more life experience, you know. The longer you live, the more you have a different perspective on the world. The title track, “Bad Days Are Over”, is a really, really heavy song in the sense of the lyrics. [It’s] about depression and holding grudges, and getting over those grudges. Trying to be free of your demons, so to speak.”
Rishi considers the album what the band have been building towards since their early days (mid-2000s) as The Spacepimps. “I think that it’s culminating in a sense of it’s pulling from all of that [experience],” he comments. “It’s not just about this person that you fell in love with – though there are songs about that, there’s a real cheesy one on it called “The L Word” – but it’s more of a comprehensive picture of the band. We have the heaviest stuff we’ve ever written musically on it, we have the lightest stuff we’ve ever written. We have the most mellow stuff, and we have the most aggressive stuff. It’s culminating in the sense of pulling from all of the influences that we have.”
“There’s a song on there called “Promise” that we already released. It’s an acoustic track that we have cellos and violins on. It’s about a shooting that happened in our hometown, at a Jewish synagogue. [When we released the single,] all the proceeds went to that particular event. But that is a super heavy song. I don’t even know how it came out of my brain sometimes when I think about it.”
“I just hope that [listeners] run the gamut from track one all the way to the end.”
Pop-punk is notoriously aimed at teens, with angsty lyrics about love and leaving your home town. But what are we to do when us OG pop-punk kids hit 30+? Eternal Boy have the answer as Rishi explains: “I think that people our age really can empathize with the song we just released, “Thirty Something”. Again, it’s a coming of age about the first time you figured out that what you love [is being] passed along through generations”.
“‘A Long Year’ [will resonate more with] 18 to 24-year-olds, who were probably frustrated with the pandemic. So I think that you’re going to get something different depending on what point in life you’re in. But in the end, I don’t like saying ‘this song is about this, so you’re going to think about it this way’. Sometimes people can listen and get something completely different out of it which is cool.”
The band were lucky enough to work with acclaimed engineer Ted Jensen, who mastered the record, along with returning longtime friend and collaborator Chris Badami taking on producing duties. “Chris is like the fourth member of the band in many ways,” Rishi gushes. “He has the sensibilities needed in order to like say ‘oh, well, why don’t you try this chord instead of that chord’, or ‘why don’t you play this drum fill instead of that drum fill’, changing things that we didn’t think about. Whether it’s a chord, a post-production thing, or an effect on a vocal, he just gets it.”
“Ted is the biggest icon in rock music. He’s mastered Green Day and Nirvana… That was done during the pandemic so we, unfortunately, were not able to go to the studio when he was mastering the record, but we were going back and forth with different mixes and different options. He’s really cool, he’s really nice, he’s really down to earth. And, having his name on [the record] gives us a sense of legitimacy with some of the industry as well.”
Instead of looking to the very much uncertain future, Rishi and the rest of the band are focussing on the now, but that doesn’t stop them from dreaming of the day we’ll be able to go to shows again. “It’s so hard to think about the future,” he deliberates. “We’re always looking to the future, but [right now] it’s very hard to appreciate our future. I am very excited obviously, and it goes without saying, being able to play shows and play the songs. We’re doing a live album stream on May 1, to celebrate the album release, which I’m excited for.”
“I never thought that I would miss playing in a tiny club with 50 people, I’m just so looking forward to that. I’m really looking forward to going to shows, not even playing shows. I’m a huge proponent of supporting our scene here in Pittsburgh, with the [Four Chord] festival that I run, and the label. I just want to go see a show with my friends, and see the scene and the community. I just want to see people and play shows.”
“I also really want Four Chord [Festival] to happen.”
Until then, though, Eternal Boy are keeping themselves busy promoting the album. “I’m really looking forward to the week the album comes out,” Rishi says. “We’ve worked so hard in different ways, now that we can’t tour to try to get people to buy the record, what we’ve done up to this point is a banner release like pre-orders and the pre-releases and the Kickstarter. It’s exponentially more than we did for Awkward Phase. So, in that sense, it’s a big success.”
“We’re shooting a music video this weekend for the big single which we’re going to radio with actually. It’s called “The L Word”. [It’s a ] big theatrical one, we have a director coming from Los Angeles to come film it. Then the day the album comes out we’re releasing a video for the title track “Bad Days Are Over”, which is going to be a really cool video. It’s a documentary-style video where we’re kind of parodying the “Rock Show” video. The money that we get we’re donating to a charity, and we’re spending the whole day with dogs at shelters.”
Rishi’s final words are of a man itching to get back on the tour bus and hit some stages: “We’ve no scheduled shows, there’s nothing in the works, other than Four Chord. I’m turning to TikTok, that’s how pathetic I’m getting.”
Check out the video for Eternal Boy’s latest single, “Thirty Something”, below, and grab a copy of Bad Days Are Over or a merch bundle here.
Images courtesy of Eternal Boy.