South of Eden
Real magic arises between the screech of a guitar solo, amplifier feedback, drum vibrations, and vocal echoes. A convergence of these elements incites a feeling only found in tried-and-true rock ‘n’ roll- South of Eden invoke the same magic.
The Columbus, OH quartet—Ehab Omran [lead vocals, acoustic guitar], Justin Young [lead guitar, vocals], Tom McCullough [drums], and Nick Frantianne [bass]—channel timeless rock ‘n’ roll energy through a modern perspective. Performing alongside everyone from the Foo Fighters to System of a Down, the group reinvigorate rock on their forthcoming 2020 debut for LAVA/Republic Records.
“We want to open up the doors for rock in the modern era,” exclaims Ehab. “We want to sound the way we hear rock in our heads—vintage with a sprinkle of today. We try to give listeners the feeling of discovering the genre for the first time. We think now is the moment to be a rock band.”
The boys certainly paid their dues to reach this point. Growing up in Columbus, their paths crossed throughout middle school and high school in various local groups, often opening for each other in local music venues. Originally from the country of Jordan, Ehab primarily listened to the Arabic music his parents would play addition to superstars like Michael Jackson, Phil Collins, and James Brown, to name a few. After meeting Nick, he was introduced to eighties and nineties rock via the song “Rocket Queen” by Guns N’ Roses and created a few different bands together drawing inspiration from Iron Maiden, Red Hot Chili Peppers, and Alice In Chains. At the same time Justin and Tom launched their own band under the influence of Van Halen and Black Sabbath and despite informally meeting in the local scene, it wasn’t until after high school that Ehab and Tom formally linked up and began writing. In the meantime, Justin becan perfecting his craft at Berklee College of Music, and Nick followed him to Boston in order to perform in other groups.
They made the most of a winter break when Tom introduced Justin and Ehab. Justin remembers, “The first jam was crazy. He came over with Tom and just listened for a while. We had the riffs to songs, and he just immediately started singing.” Justin proclaims, “I had gone to music college to find people I could mesh with stylistically, only to come back home and find that my best friend and a singer that I had already known about were all I needed!”
Ehab, Justin, and Tom formed Black Coffee as a three-piece in 2017. “We didn’t have a bass player at the time, bass amp, or a bass,” laughs Tom, “Ehab wrote most of the bass lines on guitar. We grooved so well. We were a band for like a week before we had booked our first show two weeks out. We ended up borrowing equipment, and we became a three-piece.”
Recorded “to tape in a vintage way with no click track, pitch correction, copy-paste, or any of that nonsense,” their independent debut Take One made waves locally as they shared bills with Puddle of Mudd and Red Sun Rising and graced the stage of rock mecca Sonic Temple and Epicenter in 2019. LAVA founder Jason Flom caught wind of the band and signed them the same year.
Welcoming Nick into the fold as “the missing piece,” Black Coffee evolved into a four-piece and reintroduced itself as South of Eden. With Ehab now again a front man, the stage show grew.
The musicians headed to Los Angeles to record with legendary GRAMMY® Award-winning producer Greg Wells [Adele Twenty One Pilots, Deftones]. “When I first heard the band, it had its own original identity,” explains Greg. “That was something I had waited years to find. I emailed them back saying, ‘I want to be your Mutt Lang’.”
“It’s a mixture of a lot of things,” Ehab goes on. “We’re very classically influenced, but listen to so many different genres and eras that there are a lot of different feelings in our music.”
With more music and touring to come, rock lives and thrives within South of Eden.
“When you hear us, I want you to walk away thinking, ‘That was honest and different’,” Ehab leaves off. “We’re just doing what we do. We’re proof you can do anything you want and shouldn’t compromise your dreams.”