One musician’s journey, which began in Myrtle Beach and has deep roots in Carolina Forest, will make reach a major milestone Saturday night at the House of Blues on the way to an even brighter future ahead.
When Columbia-based rock band Death of Paris takes the stage for ListenUp Myrtle Beach presents Myrtle Beach Rocks, it will mark the latest achievement in the musical career of former Carolina Forest High School student Blake Arambula.
“Playing at the House of Blues has always been something we’ve wanted to do,” said Arambula. “It’s going to be great.”
Death of Paris was formed by the two friends — guiatrist/keyboardist Blake Arambula and vocalist Jayna Doyle — in 2009 when their former band, a group of University of South Carolina students called This Machine Is Me, dissolved. In forming Death of Paris, the pair remained close and began writing music with a pop/electronic feel and an indie rock soul.
After recording in Los Angeles, the duo released their debut album in October and hasn’t looked back since. With a radio-ready sound, their music has been featured on stations across the Southeast and the band has gotten plenty of press attention in addition to going on their first tour earlier this year.
The group, which had rounded out with Patrick Beardsley (guitar), Bryan Bass (drums) and Patrick North (bass) joining Arambula and Doyle, will embark on their first full band tour of the East Coast later this month.
Starting from scratch
Arambula was raised in Myrtle Beach until age 7, with his family relocating to Greensboro, N.C., for a few years before eventually settling in the Forest in time to enter Carolina Forest Middle School. It was then that a love of music blossomed.
“Since about 7th grade is when I started getting involved in making music with my classmates,” said Arambula.
Armed with what he calls “a really crappy acoustic guitar from Dick’s Pawn Shop,” Arambula did his best to begin learning to play and composing music, but it wasn’t until his parents decided to upgrade his equipment that his skills began to take shape.
“The strings were an inch or two off the fretboards and it was really hard to even make a chord,” he said. “But luckily, my parents saw that I liked it so they bought me an electric guitar when I was 14.”
Shortly afterward, Arambula and his bandmates — who called themselves Epiphany — landed their first gig playing at the CFMS field day.
“We somehow negotiated our way into playing Field Day in 8th grade. I don’t know how, but we did it. Apparently we got into some trouble though because eventually one of the administrators ended up pulling the plug on the PA system. So that was my first taset of the rock star life,” he said.
The next step
As he entered Carolina Forest High School, Arambula continued his quest to live the rock star lifestyle, forming a four-piece Pop Punk band called Side Effect with his brother Lucas, a 2011 CFHS graduate, on bass.
Though the band played some successful gigs at local venues such as The Limelight, for the Arambulas the band’s biggest achievement may have been solidifying the brotherly bond between Blake and Lucas.
This bond will be rekindled this summer as Lucas, 18, will fill in for Death of Paris bassist Patrick North on a number of the band’s summer tour dates.
“When we found out Patrick couldn’t get out of work that long, we asked Lucas right away and he was really excited to be a part of it,” said Arambula.
The brothers will play together for the first half of the band’s Big Blue Coast Tour, whichh kicks off June 30 in Columbia and will conclude in Orlando on July 31, with stops in between including Philadelphia, Brooklyn, Nashville, Atlanta and 3 dates in Myrtle Beach.
The first of these will be Saturday’s HOB show, which will also include local bands Eddie Ate Dynamite, Octopus Jones and M Is We. Arambula says this show will hold a special place in his heart because it’s his first time playing the stage where he’s seen many of his favorite acts come through over the years.
“The very first show I ever went to was at the House of Blues in 2002. I was 15 and having a good time until I tripped and fell down in the crowd and landed on my back strange. I found out the next day I had ruptured my appendix,” he said.
But despite an unforgettable first experience at the venue, Arambula said it didn’t stop him from returning for a multitude of other shows over the years.
“Seeing those shows, I really wanted to one day be able to play the same stage as those people and it’s really cool that everything has come full circle for us to be able to do that,” he said.