People often wonder why we chose Uruguay as our band name. We aren’t from there, but rather two small town kids that happened to wander into each other’s lives. Still, we feel that in a way, Uruguay fits us more perfectly than any other name could.
We initially moved to New York City for different reasons. Ben was developing his own independent music career as an electronic producer, and Stepha had been scouted for modeling.
Like so many others, we vastly underestimated the realities of the city and were immediately cheated out of our entire savings and left homeless. This forced us to work extreme hours, with little pay, in order to find a place to live and eventually make rent.
The story of our band really starts when we stumbled into a neighborhood bakery on Frederick Douglas and 117th for some much needed coffee. The woman behind the counter took a liking to us and gave us some of the best sandwiches we had had in our lives! Coming to see this angelic woman in the morning quickly became a tradition that helped us get through the exhaustive work days. After weeks of this we finally asked her where she was from . . . and that’s when she said: “Uruguay”.
We didn’t form our band until several months later, we started to get our bearings on the city and we weren’t struggling so much anymore. We had all but forgotten those early days of uncertainty and hunger.
It was a sunny day in late summer and we were headed to the beach when we started talking about a band name. We mulled over a few things: “Pretty Baby” “Babbel” etc. But something about looking out of that window and feeling the slow and steady rock of the train while the sun washed the city in a faded blue gold made “Uruguay” come to mind. You see, to us, Uruguay embodies the woman who kept us going, kept us fed and started us on this journey. Uruguay describes a place of beauty, solitude, mystery and possibility. And that is why it is our name.
Since then we went back to that little corner bakery to tell the woman just how much she helped us; that what she did helped us begin to pursue our dreams. But sadly there were no remnants left. It had since shut down, like so many places in the city, and was replaced with a commercial real estate sign.
Our name is what is left. It is a symbol of our beginnings and the wonderful people who have helped us along the way. We can only hope that through our success and story we’ll be able to find her again someday.