Cy Creek students chase dreams, form band


Drummer Julian Bocanegra. Photo credits to X & M Visual Arts.

It’s a Friday night at The Temple. Under brightly-saturated lights, a group of boys perform on stage. One is on the drums, banging his head as he plays. Another boy’s fingers move rapidly over his bass. Two other boys can be seen playing guitar and singing. After putting in the hard work, dedication, and effort into forming a band and creating music, a group of Cy Creek students are finally starting to see their dreams come to life.

Our Eyes Go Blank Tonight is a band that combines elements of math rock, midwest emo, and post-hardcore music. Their music can be noted for the fast tempo, chaotic beating of the drums and cymbals, the underlying deepness of a bass, and the rapid, quick strums of electric guitar. The band is composed of four members: guitarist and vocalist junior Max Neely, bassist senior Heath Urban, drummer and vocalist senior Julian Bocanegra, and guitarist and vocalist Jacob Adikson who graduated from The Woodlands High School in 2022.

The name of the band comes from the lyrics of a Deftones song called Kimdracula.

“The lyric goes: ‘The earth will see our eyes go blank tonight,’” said Bocanegra. “I thought the name could be interpreted in two ways: one, I imagined someone feeling so starstruck and staring in awe, or two: it metaphorically represents the life draining out of someone. Depending on how you’re feeling, you can take it however you want.”

Cougar Productions

Our Eyes Go Blank Tonight came together during the spring semester of 2022.

“I met Julian, who’s the drummer in the band, my sophomore year – so a year ago – in my audio/visual production class and he was basically pestering me to be in the band,” Neely said. ¨The week of spring break, we got together and wrote some songs and that was kind of the start of it.”

Neely said that the band formed pretty easily due to the fact that all of the band members were already friends.

“Forming a band can either be really easy or really hard,” Neely said. “For us it was really easy just because we had people who wanted to do it and we didn’t have to ask anyone. We were all friends, so that made it easy to form a band.”

The band writes and produces their own music, which Bocanegra said is a rewarding but challenging experience.

“Personally when I write music, I start off playing my favorite chord shape around the fretboard, the triangle chord, in various ways until I stumble upon a riff that I like,” Bocanegra said. “Then, I’ll record that bit and loop it over and over again and write a part that compliments the original riff.”

For Bocanegra, the easiest part when it comes to creating music is “the drums are the easiest part for me to come up with since I’m originally a drummer.”

When it comes to writing their songs, Urban said that it’s a collaborative effort split between members of the band.

“The process of creating music comes pretty naturally to all of us,” Urban said. “I’d say the writing is fairly even between all of the members of the band. It mostly just starts with one of us laying down a basic song structure, then we all just write our parts for it from there and tweak things as we go.”
Bocanegra said he writes lyrics based on past experiences.

“As for lyrics, I tend to write what I know, whether it be people from the past or things that I’ve gone through.” Bocanegra said.

The hard work the band has put into creating new music has led to them releasing their first single, Done Waiting, on Spotify. Urban said the fact that his band has music on a streaming platform is surprising.

“It is honestly very shocking that we not only have our music up on a platform, but that it has gotten so much attention,” Urban said. “I never expected our first song to even get close to 1,000 listens on Spotify, let alone double that amount. I am definitely proud of the work we have put in as a band to create something that people enjoy listening to.”

Neely said that having music out on Spotify is helpful because it can help contribute to the band’s growing popularity.

“I feel like having music on big streaming platforms is helpful to us because it helps people who don’t live near us or can see us play live and perform music discover our music,” Neely said. “Spreading the message about the band and gaining traction and exposure is important.”

In addition to having music out on Spotify, another thing that helps the band garner attention is performing at shows. Though fun, playing at shows can be time consuming, as some of the venues the band performs at can be far.

“Going to perform at different venues can be a bit nerve racking, especially when it’s somewhere in town I haven’t been before,” Urban said. “I do get more and more comfortable with each performance though. It’s definitely a time commitment considering how most venues we play at are 30 plus minutes away.”

Neely said performing at shows is one of his favorite things to experience.

“Playing at shows is probably the best thing I’ve done with my life,” Neely said. “It’s just fun and the energy is really good. It’s a great way to play music because we play music as a band in private, but it’s fun to play for people to see their reaction and the energy that they bring. It’s a really fun experience.”
Bocanegra’s favorite part is how gratifying it can be.

“My favorite part of performing is the sense of gratification that I get from putting all of myself into it,” Bocanegra said. “After the shows, I’m absolutely drenched in sweat and exhausted, but it’s worth it.”

After working on many projects and performing together, the members of Our Eyes Go Blank Tonight have grown close and formed deep bonds with each other.

“The best part about being able to work with my bandmates is the sense of comradery that we have,” Bocanegra said. “Sometimes, we’ll be in the process of writing or improvising a song and one of us will do something spontaneous that ends up becoming a permanent part of the song. When that happens, we kind of smile and laugh at each other and yell ‘dude!’ Being in a band is pretty fun when your bandmates are as cool as mine.”

For Urban, seeing the band come together is very satisfying and rewarding.

“I’m very proud of how things are going for us and I hope to just keep the ball rolling.” Urban said.

For Bocanegra, seeing a dream he’s held for such a long time come to life has given him a sense of euphoria.

“I’ve been wanting to play in a band ever since I was a wee little lad, so it’s almost euphoric to be given the opportunity to make it happen,” Bocanegra said. “It’s something that I’m incredibly grateful for and I hope to keep improving as a musician so that we can be the best band that we possibly can be.”

As the band continues to achieve and pursue their dreams, Neely said the best thing people with big dreams can do is try.

“The least you can do is just try. If you try and it doesn’t work out, at least you tried,” Neely said. “If you try and it does work out, there’s nothing to worry about. It’s important to give it a shot even if you’re discouraged or worried about what others think.”

Bocanegra’s advice for others pursuing a goal like his is simple: keep dreaming.

“Don’t ever let that passion and drive fizzle out,” Bocanegra said. “I know that sometimes it feels like your goals and dreams are unattainable, but if you keep persisting, odds are that you’ll find yourself where you want to be.”

Reporting by Anisa Tran. Video by Gavin Hynes, RJ Soward, Jordan Blackman, Kamar Turner and Nestor Rodriguez for Cougar Productions.