Young star performing in band; Local shares message, experience


PHOTO CREDIT: Ethan Leight

Caption: Local Ethan Leight performing as the drummer in Shangrila. The band has released 12 songs.

KIMBERLY EDGAR, Entertainment Editor

 “The band is called Shangrila, the name comes from a spinoff of Nirvana, the name being an unachievable higher place,” says senior Ethan Leight. Shangrila has been around for five years and Leight has been a member for two to three years. 

     Shangrila had already existed for a couple years when Leight found out about it. “I found an ad on Craigslist, showed up to a dingy basement alone and the rest was history,” says Leight. Leight’s roles in the band are primarily drummer and writer. Leight describes inheriting these positions as a result of his skill set. “I started formally training [as a drummer] at the age of four until now, which would make a total of 13 years.” Leight adds that the writing part of the job is simply, “the sharing of ideas where the best idea wins.” 

     Shangrila is described as “alternative, grunge, and shoegaze,” according to Leight, “but [the band] calls it aggressively dreamy.” These genres are derived from the rock genre. According to Shoegaze Craze, the shoegaze genre is, “characterized by overwhelmingly loud, distorted guitars and echoing reverb, the signature shoegaze sound deemphasizes the vocals, often treating the human voice as just another instrument in a wash of sonic texture.”  

     Leight explains that every public performance the band has goes well due to the set being perfected beforehand. Leight adds that his first public performance made him feel, “nervous, but after a while everything around me faded into a super focus.” Leight describes being in a band as “fun and a life experience.” He has been on the road for multiple months at a time and doing that has taught him many things. “I enjoy being able to use my skills that have been honed for so long,” says Leight. Shangrila will have their next performance on October 16 at the Baltimore SoundStage. 

     Shangrila has released a total of 12 songs, but they have 50 songs and the fourth and fifth album in reserves with a triple album of 30 songs to be released at the beginning of next year according to Leight. A triple album is “a release of three albums together in one,” says Stacker. 

     Leight recommends being a part of the band and states that it can be simplified as practicing and failing. “Practice is 90% of it, because once you are on stage, it is all muscle memory. But when you fail, you learn how to fix things quickly without interrupting the performance.” Leight explains that it is crucial to learn how to cover up your mistakes because the audience won’t notice unless there is attention drawn to it. 

     Music for Leight is a way for him to express his ideas and message without words, and he uses his membership in the band as a way to fulfill his goal of being unique. “The drums are a vehicle for my expression,” says Leight.