You can see their neck muscles straining even from the middle of the May 26 gig at the Artist CafÃ©. And once you get into the music, it’s a little like watching rain drops scatter down through sunshine. It’s a stoic, agitated peace. A stormy kind of peaceful.
“It’s peaceful but then it’s got a bite to it,” said Levi Mazurek.
Meet the lead singer of the new band Echolalia – a trio of Eastern music majors out to make good music, flirting with the influences of Simon and Garfunkel and Creedence Clearwater. Their late May gig had them performing several original songs, including “Everything’s Going to be Fine,” a folk/classic rock splurge that beautifully showcases Echolalia’s stormy peaceful vibe.
They can also pull off sweet covers on songs like “Zombie” and “Say It Ain’t So”, an extremely difficult range made possible by Mazurek’s half enlightened, half angst-driven boy voice. And half the fun of Echolalia is watching these guys in person. They are college swank personified. Mazurek’s got this crispy, jazzy funk style going on, mixed with some tostled hair. Drummer Brian Mueller showed up for the group interview charmingly sunburned and slightly musk-ish from playing volley ball. Bass guitarist Matt Loiacono is in graduate school and kept bringing up the fact that playing on a non-academic basis is “stress-relief.”
All those personalities fused to make clear harmony both onstage and just hanging out.
“If we’re not all playing together, no one’s going to want to listen to it,” said Mueller. “You can play the right note, but if it’s not in the right spot, it’s a wrong note.”
“Not the right spot in time,” adds Loiacaono.
Mueller suddenly announces he needs to go put on some deodorant.
“He was playing volleyball earlier,” Loiacono explains patiently. Mazurek fidgets in his chair a little, then spills an answer on what it feels like to perform. “I definitely get a physical feeling when I play any show. There is a physical feeling that happens in my core. I usually relate it to my stomach,” he said.
“It’s that warm, fuzzy feeling you get when you experience love or a passion for something or somebody.”
Mazurek was inspired to start the band in April after he heard saxophonist Tim Ries, who toured with the Rolling Stones, speak at EWU. The man asked the students if anyone had a band outside of school. “Nobody raised their hand. It was sickening,” said Mazurek. Thus began Echolalia.
All three men originally came to Eastern from small, Northwestern cities. Mueller is from Marysville, WA, Loiacono: Kennewick, and Mazurek: Polson, Mont.
It is possible that their smallish town background sows seeds in the music. There is faint friendly, intimate jocularity present.
You get the impression that if you happened to walk by when the guys were sledding, they’d invite you on the sled for your own run down the hill. For the summer, they’re into playing gigs around Cheney, with a hopeful eye on eventually sliding into the Spokane music scene. Come August or September, they’d even like to have their first album out.
“I just want to get people hooked on my music so I can have a job when I’m 30,” Mueller jokes.
Check them out at www.myspace.com/echoalianation