He started scouring Craigslist ads, but his first few shots at finding a new band were futile. In September that year, he found some musicians who seemed like a good match. After trading messages back and forth, he decided to try jamming with them.
"When I pulled up to the garage and saw the Orange bass stack, I knew it was going to work out," recalls Stuart.
"None of us are from Colorado," he says. "We're all from different parts of the country and bring a unique set of influences, both cultural and musical, to the table to form something we think is pretty interesting and new."
The group, which named itself Earthdiver, knocked out four fast songs and in January 2019 dropped an EP, Leave Something Witchy, to send as a demo to venues.
"We worked hard all through the spring, playing as many Bar Bar shows as we could, making friends and generally just working on our live show, live presence and songwriting," Stuart says. "Word spread, and we started to get better shows opening for bands like Year of the Cobra, Green Druid, Telekinetic Yeti and more."
That spring, the label Forbidden Place Records reached out to Earthdiver with an offer to put out a new album. While the musicians weren't quite ready then, in December they went to Module Overload Studio in Aurora with eight songs. At the studio, Jamie Hillyer helped them lay down the tracks for what would become the group's first album, Lord of the Cosmos.
"We sent it to the label, who loved it, so we did a handshake deal at a local brewery and began the slow buildup to release," says Hillyer.
"I think we all have that little bit of ego that wants to be known and remembered, and the thought of no one caring about your existence can be frightening, even if it doesn't really matter at all." — Eric Stuart of Earthdiver
The band was about to drop the album when the COVID-19 pandemic shut everything down. Instead of letting it postpone the release indefinitely, though, the group put out Lord of the Cosmos digitally on April 20. Within 24 hours, the project had more than 10,000 streams, and it entered the monthly doom charts at number nineteen.
"Hopefully, we'll move past the pandemic safely and we'll be able to hit the road to support this record, make new friends, and build a bigger following," says Stuart. "Right now, we're just trying to support our friends, our label and our families. Music has taken a bit of a back seat, I guess, but we're looking forward to putting all our effort back into it as soon as we can."
The themes on the album are brutal attacks on everything from capitalism and technological dystopia to existential angst.
"As an example, 'Apparatus de Cultus' is about technology running wild and eventually taking over and enslaving the human race before finally making us disappear," explains Stuart. "In reality, that's just how I processed the fears that I have as a person of not being important, of being forgotten and being erased from history. I think we all have that little bit of ego that wants to be known and remembered, and the thought of no one caring about your existence can be frightening, even if it doesn't really matter at all."
Much of the album's fury was born during his brutal childhood in Kentucky.
"I lived in poverty," Stuart recalls. "I was food-insecure. I suffered abuse. Because of those things, I have struggled with depression for most of my life. My music is my outlet. I put all the negative feelings about where I came from into the music and the things I sing about. It's my meditation. It's how I exorcise those demons. Though bleak, I feel like there is an air of hope on the other side of everything."
Hear the album for yourself at the Forbidden Place Records Bandcamp page.