i’ve been trying for so long to get enough
i don’t think there is a top to this mountain that I’m trying to climb up
without a harness on
it's gonna get better
hold your head up high
you want to sequester
open up the blinds
i’ve been looking for the good in everyone
and focusing more on loving the people who some say may not deserve
even if it hurts
The older I get, the more I realize that it's not about me.
Fulfillment is a major theme in this song. I realize that my accomplishments and achievements in life will never completely fulfill me, so why am I always reaching for the next step? Although it feels against the grain, I find myself happiest when I take the focus off of myself.
When I'm sad, my natural reaction is to withdraw from people – which is the opposite of how I should respond. I have found that life is pretty meaningless apart from relationships. People are what matter – and in the end it's not about what you achieve, but how you treat those along the way. This song is about choosing to live in the hope of community rather than the fear of failure.
Does any of that make sense? I don't know
“I don’t know how I’m supposed to be real.”
This confession is how Clayton Waller, the creative force behind Nashville-via-Mississippi band Rock Eupora, opens his self-titled album. And a force he is—with two albums under his belt already and an established position in the local indie rock scene, Waller has developed Rock Eupora’s sound into a perfect blend of punchy guitars and unforgettable melodies. Rock Eupora, set for release on August 3rd, contends with the challenges of a 20-something-year-old searching for his place in the world.
“The new record is very personal. I put so much into these songs. I think I have a tendency to care too much sometimes. But my goal is not to become ‘famous’ or reach a certain level of success – I know I will never be satisfied in that sense. Because of that, I am free to just make art and enjoy it,” Waller explains.
Rock Eupora is simultaneously Waller’s most cohesive and sonically daring project to date.
Recorded in a professional studio as opposed to his typical DIY approach, the change in setting allows the depth of detail in each track to be fully appreciated. Seamless transitions weave the songs together in what resembles a stream of creative consciousness — yet, every song tells a story strong enough to stand on its own. Slight eighties influences and what Waller describes as “psychedelic tendencies” make Rock Eupora a well-developed follow up to 2016’s Soon the Sun Will Come. As is custom for Rock Eupora, the entire album was written, performed, and produced by Waller himself.
“Songs will initially exist in my head, then in my iPhone memos. Once the songs are more fully flushed out, I'll record them in my home studio. From there, I usually pick a batch of songs from the demos, polish them up, and then send them off for mixing and mastering. But for this album, I re-recorded the final batch of songs in a ‘real’ studio. I picked 12 songs from the 29 that I recorded at my house and cut them at Skinny Elephant, my friend Dylan Alldredge's studio in east Nashville. I usually have a pretty clear idea of how I want a song to turn out, so producing is almost subconscious for me.”
Commitment to his craft is what has carried Rock Eupora this far, garnering attention from venerable local media such as Nashville Scene and national outlets like PureVolume. It is evident that Waller really believes every word he’s singing, making it easy for listeners to believe, too. This sincerity is what gives Rock Eupora the ability to connect with people of varying ages and backgrounds, a gift that doesn’t come naturally to all artists.
It doesn’t hurt that Rock Eupora comes to life as a full band for live performances, either. Waller and his bandmates clearly feed off each other’s energy to create an action packed rock show. “I think it’s safe to say we’re a lot heavier live than you might think… I usually end up on the ground,” Waller jokes.
Rock Eupora’s future looks clearer than ever, despite the confrontation of love, trust, and insecurity the new record embodies. With a collection of songs that feels familiar and surprising all at once, it’s only a matter of time until Rock Eupora is a staple name for indie rock listeners everywhere.
“I definitely have chilled out a lot since embarking on my musical journey. In the end, life does not revolve around me – and strangely, that's a beautiful and freeing feeling.”
Maybe he’s got being real figured out after all.
Written, performed, and produced by Clayton Waller. Engineered and mixed by Dylan Alldredge. Mastered by John Baldwin. Artwork by Mark Slawson.
For more on Rock Eupora, check out the press kit.