Hamish Downie’s Five Questions With Eloy aka Strays of the World

Editor Note: Hamish has another in his series of Five Questions With…

Hamish came up with this idea because he was accumulating too much material for his Famous News Sushi column and asked if he could do these mini-interviews. Why would we say no?

Thank you Hamish for being such a trooper for us. We really appreciate all for your hard work.

Let us know what you think of these interviews in the comments below.

TGG: Could you please introduce yourself to our readers, and maybe where the inspiration for your band’s name came from?

SOTW: Hello everyone! I’m Eloy! I’ve been fortunate enough in my life to be able to pursue a variety of different creative endeavors. I’ve had a hand in the creation of several amazing Tabletop RPGs. I host a few different YouTube channels. I’ve even done some work in screenwriting. But nothing has drawn me in quite like my latest creative outlet… music. It’s always been a dream of mine to make my own music. Songs have constantly come to me and then fluttered away just as quickly, since I had convinced myself I didn’t have that talent, that gift. I always thought my fingers were too stubby to play guitar, that my voice was okay but not “professional” quality. But really what I didn’t have was the know-how, and that’s easy enough once you devote some time and practice.

Oh! And the name of the band, Strays of the World, is from one of my favorite Prince songs. One that a lot of people haven’t even heard before, but that I also feel encapsulates the presence I want to have in music. I want to provide a safe place for the misfits, the strays, the people who haven’t found that artist that speaks to them. Everyone is welcome in Strays of the World!

TGG: You released your debut album, In My Head, last year. Could you tell us about the album and what inspired you (I can certainly hear a touch of Chaos and Disorder myself)?

SOTW: Remember when I said that Prince inspired me? Well, it was more than just a “hey, I’m gonna make music” idea. If I was going to make music, I wanted to be able to do it all, just like he did. On In My Head, I sang, played guitar, played bass, programmed drums, played piano/keys, produced, arranged, and even mixed/mastered the majority of the album. It’s not perfect by any means, as no true art can be to everyone, but it’s definitely an artifact of my love for the idea of the musical artist I want to become. It is what it was always meant to be and I’m seriously proud of it and ecstatic when others listen to it! Prince is kind of the perfect artist to emulate, because he had a vision and put the music first. I took that inspiration and followed it to the end of 12 songs that made up an amazing album of what it’s like to be “in my head”…. Hence the title.

Speaking of the sound, I’m sort of an odd duck. Most people who listen to Prince end up taking his strong funk and amplifying it into following more funk/R&B artists. I went the other direction when I fell in love with his amazing rock chops and guitar mastery. I got deep into rock, which meant listening to artists like Nine Inch Nails, 311, The Smashing Pumpkins, Sevendust, and the Cure. I’d say each of them inspires my sound as well. Stirring it all together in a special Strays of the World mixing bowl is what makes the music I’m making so wonderful.

If In My Head sounds anything like Chaos & Disorder it’s because I never felt trapped in a sound. That is one of Prince’s most underrated albums, because it is largely a rock & roll album, but also has some funky beats and blues guitar in it as well. He didn’t try to limit himself. But when there are no limits, the world will try to place them on you. If you don’t fit in that particular box you’re expected to be in, you’ll be met with dirision and criticism. But in the end, MUSIC IS MUSIC. Those people will eventually come around.

TGG: I’m really loving “3rd Date”, by the way. Could you tell us about your journey to music, and do you have any advice for other would-be indie creators who might want to follow in your footsteps?

SOTW: In 2020 I decided to start my journey through music, an effort not-so-subtly inspired by Prince and his music. Learning the basics of several instruments, and taking singing lessons to strengthen the actually really cool voice I had/have. I’ve advanced in the singer/songwriter category immensely, releasing my debut In My Head in May 2021 and currently finishing up album #2. I definitely don’t want to be an artist who releases every 5 years. Hahaha! I have too much to say, too much to share.

“3rd Date” is a fun romp through some of my more autobiographical work. I took a lot of risks in this song, and it’s actually quite the departure from the other songs on the album. It’s definitely more pop in its sound with a lot of claps and bouncy energy, and it also doesn’t have a normal arrangement. I played around a lot with how I wanted to present it, how th words flowed, where the music stopped and started, and that also included it’s placement on the final album as well. In short, “3rd Date” is literally the story of my 3rd Date with my (now) wife, so there’s a lot of joy in the song, unlike some of the other songs on the album where are not as happy.

As for advice, I’d say not to limit yourself to what you “think” you can do. You’d be surprised what you can do once you put your mind to it. I started this journey a musical baby, and I’d say I’m at least an adolescent by this point. There’s always more to learn and someone who will always know more than you, but that doesn’t mean you can’t make the best possible art you can right now in this moment.

TGG: A little bird tells me you’ve got plans for a sophomore album in the works. Can you let us in on what direction you might be taking?

SOTW: I wish I was quiet enough to keep a lid on stuff like that until it was ready, but I really can’t. It’s just not in my nature.

The next album’s title is Chaos All and is currently in the mixing phase of an album (which takes longer than one might expect). Chaos All will be just as eclectic as In My Head, jumping from rock to funk to reggae to industrial with ease, but I’ve learned a lot more about music since the debut, so it’s more complex and yet simpler at the same time. It tells a story (like all my work does) of the different ways life can surprise you, both good and bad, since it’s pretty chaotic that way.

I feel like it’s the perfect sophomore album to come after In My Head; both an extension of the same sound and a peek into what’s to come in the future. I absolutely cannot wait, but I’ll also leave it there as not to spoil TOO much.

TGG: Finally, how can we best support you? (Where can we follow you on socials, and most importantly, how can we buy and stream your music?)

SOTW: The best way to support the music coming out of Strays of the World is at our website: http://straysoftheworldmusic.com. There, you can grab the album, order some merch (we actually just released a new design fashioned after my song “My Siren”), but most importantly…

…Join the mailing list. For me, it’s not an arbitrary or flippant thing for someone to sign up. It’s that person saying “Yes, I want to engage more with your music and hear from you” and I take it very seriously. I love to share stories and even exclusive songs or deals with my Strays, because it’s all about creating that connection and inviting them into this new place they can hopefully call home. If you want to follow us on the socials, all the links are there too, so it’s all made easy by going to the band site.

I hope to see you all there! And thank you to Hamish for this place to share my story and my love of music.


We welcome your comments and feedback below. If this is your first visit, be sure to read the Privacy / Terms and Conditions Of Use. And Please, Play Nice.

As an Amazon Associate we may earn commissions from qualifying purchases.

Thanks for visiting. Let us know what you think.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.