Former Letlive Guitarist Jeff Sahyoun Gets Candid About Carving New 'Path in Music' With Electronic-Rock Project Erase Theory (Exclusive)

In the years since California punk rock band Letlive disbanded, guitarist Jeff Sahyoun has spent years away from music, learning more about himself and focusing on his mental and emotional health, above all. Now, Sahyoun has reemerged with a brand new outlook on life, and a new band, Erase Theory. The electronic-rock project is solely from the mind and heart of Sahyoun, though he does have a full band that he is working with for the upcoming live debut of Erase Theory. had a chance to catch up with Sahyoun and discuss how Erase Theory evolved, and the musician spoke candidly about how the aimlessness he felt after his previous band ended was part of what wound up leading him to a new chapter. "Life was different back then, especially when everything came to a halt for a while," he said of Letlive breaking up, then noting that playing in bands was the only life he ever knew. "I haven't done anything else. I've never done anything else. I've been on stage and I've just been doing music since I was a kid."

Sahyoun continued, "I was one of those people that always set goals and standards of at this age you should be doing this. I grew up in the mentality just raised as such, but things in life ultimately don't really always work out as you envisioned. So, Erase Theory came to life through me getting through that hurdle and trying to figure out who I truly am."

Elaborating more on what Erase Theory really means to him at this point in his life, Sahyoun said, "It also gave me an opportunity to explore other avenues in life that I had curiosities about that I never really got to do because [of] touring," noting that Letlive would perform 200, 300 shows a year... I mean just nonstop." He continued, "That was everything. And so when it came to a halt... an identity crisis surged from beneath me and I didn't know what to do."

Rather than be consumed by fear and uncertainty, Sahyoun sought a way forward. "I think the healthiest thing that showed face for me at that time was to take a step back just for a minute and explore every other avenue and rebuild a semi-new life for myself outside of music," he shared. "Because I had never done anything else. And through that journey I was just writing these songs. There was a point where I'd returned to school for a while and I would be sitting there and studying."

He continued, "Along with that, and certain certifications or degrees that I've obtained, I was able to travel. And when I was traveling around for work, I was writing on my laptop continuously without really any pressure or deadline to complete anything. I never thought I'd be here again interviewing about music that I released. I will always write. I'm just that guy no matter what I do, it's just what I do." 

Eventually, Sahyoun's life become so full, he confessed that he "never thought" he would do music professionally "ever again." However, Erase Theory — which was previously known as "Fixt English" before Sahyoun was forced to change the name — came together in such a "natural" way that he could not deny the call to create music again. "I thought that was just a pastime and I'm just this musician artist I'll always just do what I love. Of course," he said. "But all of this just started happening completely. It's all-natural and everything here is organic and my patience was challenged a lot."

Sahyoun finished his schooling then "sat back and this entire record was finished and it snuck up on me. I had a couple of my dear friends tell me that I should not sit on it, go out and enjoy and play and hit some tours and pass it around. And I did. And all of these things have evolved entirely on its own and I'm so grateful for it. And I'm excited too."

When it comes to his approach this time around, Sahyoun says "it's all new. This is all new. The climate in music is new and culture is new. The distribution is new. How I'm writing is new. Everything in my life is brand new right now when it comes to music. I feel like I'm 16 or 17 years old again. I'm super excited about everything and it's just fun."

From the first song, it is clear the Erase Theory EP is not the same kind of punk rock art-core that Letlive became heralded for. Sahyoun new sound is closer to Filter's Title of Record album than it is to just about any of the bands he previously toured with in the hardcore scene. This is notable because Sahyoun says he really didn't grow up listening to a lot of the same music as many of his peers.

"Before Letlive I was always in pop punk bands and I always was raised in the pop scene and doing things like that," he shared. "I have naturally a pop voice and I've always just grown up around those influences. When I was introduced to Letlive, I was exposed to the hardcore scenes and the post-hardcore culture and punk rock music in a different light because as you said, I grew up on punk rock music in the Christian community when I was very young. And so it was different."

Sahyoun continued, "That music's steered the way to where I ended up in my life. But fast forward to Letlive when I did that, that whole experience kind of shaped me as a player, especially my guitar and the way that I play and the way that my hands move on my strings is definitely there's Letlive influence throughout anything that I create just because I think that's just my persona. But I don't think it was caused by it. I've always just had the interest in creating the sounds that I create. Now I'm just a little more free to do it."

He then offered, "But I do think, again, all things that we go through in life play, they have some kind of effect. And all of those things should be appreciated and respected. And I'm truly grateful forever for that era of my life and that I got to do that."

Noting how his time away from the music industry has helped him to shape heart he wants to create, Sahyoun said, "I've been disconnected for a long time. It's been four, four and a half years or so. Being reintroduced to all of this again it's super exciting. I get to link up with a lot of old faces, a lot of old friends, and it brings things to light as to how much work we actually did and how many of the experiences that I got to actually keep close to my heart and appreciate."

He added, "All of that goes into the Erase Theory and where I am and how I handle my business now. And I've taken all of those situations and everything I've learned from it, I'm able to implement that and everything that I'm doing now. And I wouldn't be able to do that if I didn't do Letlive... I was a different person before Letlive with a different mentality.

Sahyoun went on to say, "I think just road life in general. Just the touring life. I mean all of that formulates you into or assists in the formulation of who you become and your personality, what you're into, your interests, what you hate. There's things I know that I don't want to do this time around that I did last time. A lot of mistakes that we made last time that I will not be doing this time. But all things in life are like that."

The Erase Theory EP is out now and available on all major streaming platforms. Click here to stream it at your preferred service. The band has its first show on Friday, March 3 at The Moroccan Lounge, Los Angeles, CA. Click here for tickets.