Independent progressive rock band, Eden Sharmaine, is constantly experimenting. First they added a saxophone, then a violin. Now, they’re blending metal breakdowns into folk songs and tinkering with other genres in unexpected ways.
Something must be working, because on December 14th, exactly one year after their first concert at a tiny Oklahoma City venue, Eden Sharmaine opened for national electro rock band 3OH!3 at the Coca-Cola Bricktown Events Center.
“We put a lot of soul into the music we play,” singer and guitarist Evan Crowley says. “I think our ability to stay true to our initial feelings about our music has really helped us make an impact on audiences and anyone who is willing to listen to what we have to say.” Crowley has been playing locally since he was 15 years old.
“Most of our lyrics come from personal observations,” Crowley says. “This is the greatest time ever to be alive. Interesting things are happening with our economy and our nation and in my life and all of those things piece together a very broad variety of themes that go into our songs.”
Eden Sharmaine is comprised of many seasoned local musicians. Crowley; drummer, Ryan McGuire; bassist, Adam Myrick; guitarist and singer, Jonathan King and saxophonist Josh Simpson have a string of memorable and influential bands to their credit. However, the experience is fresh for violinist Cassie Neahring, who spent years on the opposite side of the curtain.
While a UCO student, Neahring planned concerts for the university, then she interned at a booking agency for a year, where it was her job to organize concerts for the same venues at which she now plays.
“It’s different, but exciting, to be on the other side, performing,” Neahring says. “Putting the shows on is exciting, too, but it’s a very different thing to be able to be onstage and perform things we’ve worked so hard on.” Although she has orchestral experience, Eden Sharmaine is Neahring’s first rock band.
Eden Sharmaine earned the right to open for 3OH!3 by winning the highly-competitive UCO Battle of the Bands in August. The win came as a welcome surprise to the band.
“They called our name and we were just like, ‘What? You know that there are other bands playing and you picked us?’” Simpson says. “They had to call us twice, and we were just sitting there looking at each other like, ‘Is this for real?’”
Simpson, a former UCO student, has been playing saxophone for seven years. He also played guitar in punk bands before joining Eden Sharmaine, and he never expected to see the level of success they’ve enjoyed. “I never thought that we’d get that far at all, playing a big venue like that, opening for national bands,” he says.
“I think that if you completely just do what you like, things kind of just fall into place,” King says. He is a UCO student and has been playing guitar for 10 years. “Eden Sharmaine has a unique, completely thrown-together style of music. It’s big band, hardcore, rock, pop, folk and more.”
Eden Sharmaine was born out of jam sessions in Myrick’s Edmond living room. As new members were added, the band slowly became the eclectic six-piece it is today.
“We all do it for fun, to get a chance to rock out once in awhile,” Myrick says.
The band was also picked to share the stage with beloved local acts The Uglysuit and The Non at Opening Night, downtown Oklahoma City’s New Year celebration.
“Any show we play, we want to have a lot of fun. I think people can see it when they watch us. We love playing music,” McGuire says. “We write songs that we think are going to be fun to play. We take what we like and put it all together. We don’t stick to just one sound.”
Eden Sharmaine have recorded three songs and plans to release them on a disc soon, and then release a full CD by summer. In the meantime, the goal is to keep booking shows. “We hope to play with a lot of the local and regional bands that we like, and just make music and share it with as many people as possible,” Neahring says.
“For now, I hope that we can continue what we’ve been doing, which is writing songs we feel happy with and songs that maybe make people think about some things,” Crowley says.
For more information about Eden Sharmaine, check out www.myspace.com/edensharmaine.