NEW EViL Remembers Deceased Boy With Stripped Down "King of the River"
On February 17, 2017, a 14 year old boy named Elias was reported missing. There were heavy winds and rains that day, and he never made it home from school. People suspected that he may have been swept away into the storm, with some parts of the Los Angeles River flowing at over 70 miles per hour. After over a week of searching, his body was finally found in the Los Feliz section of the river.
NEW EViL's Sophia Anita Reyes saw the police surrounding the scene where the teenager's body was found. She was so affected that she went home and broke a long stretch of writer's block with the song "King of the River." A year after his death, she reflects on the song and shares her original piano demo:
A few days ago, a stranger commented on a very old Instagram post featuring “King of the River.” As I looked at that post, I noticed that I’d written out the boy’s name as a hashtag. I clicked on the hashtag saw that he went missing on Feb 17th of 2017. We played “King of the River” this February 17th at The Lost Knight in Echo Park. I knew it had been about a year, but I didn’t realize that it was the exact anniversary until after the show.
I was thinking to myself that maybe if I'd known that it was the anniversary during my performance, maybe I would have sung the song differently, but honestly I sing it with the same kind of intensity and emotion every time, and I think about his Mom every time. There are a lot more hashtags now with his name since it's the anniversary of his death, including a candle light march where hundreds of people participated. I noticed most of the hashtags are from his young cousin who is a girl. I can relate to her a lot. When I was about 13, my cousin died. Her death had a massive impact on who I am today. I'm still debating whether or not I should tell his cousin to listen to our song. If a local band wrote a song about my cousin when I was in middle school, I probably would have wanted to hear it.
Listen to Sophia's original piano demo of "King of the River" below, and buy/stream the original here.