Tara Terra


Music: The Undeclared Major for Many in an Eclectic College Town

"Tara Terra, a Champaign-Urbana Indie-Pop band, is composed of University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign students and alumni in their twenties who found each other through music.

Tara Terra Drummer Joey Buttlar is a psychology major from Champaign,  electric guitarist Colin Althaus is an electrical engineering major from Champaign, electric bassist Nicholas Soria is a psychology major from Antioch, IL, and lead vocalist, guitarist, and keyboardist Emily Blue is a creative writing major from Champaign-Urbana—all meeting in the local music scene.

“For most of our high school career, Joey and I actually lived two blocks away. We never met until we played music,” guitarist Colin recounts how Champaign-Urbana’s small, close-knit music community helped bring them together.  

Majority of the members grew up with other local Champaign-Urbana music artists as their influences in their youth.  

Elsinore made me want to be in a band,” Colin explains of the band in Champaign-Urbana that has had success.  Joey elaborates how the band’s accessible lyrics made them attractive to him.

Each band member attributes music as integral with other aspects of their lives and growth.

Electric bassist Nick is musically inspired by R & B and Motown and enjoys the expression music allows.

“I am a very analytical person. Music is the one thing I don’t have to think about,” he says while also highlighting how being on stage takes him out of his otherwise reserved demeanor. He hopes to inspire other music artists who may be shy to not be afraid to go after performing.  

Singer songwriter Emily Blue is inspired to explore elements of rape culture and social justice. She has always considered herself a writer and enjoys exploring her writing as an art form in her music. Her idea of a successful song is “expressing something the way I feel it, something accurate that raises questions about life” and  “having a part of the song that the ear grabs onto whether it likes it or not.”  She draws inspirations from other local artists like Mother Nature because of their bold message, and Grandkids as she identifies with them as a woman.

Drummer Joey speaks of his love of using his instrument as an educational/therapeutic tool for his work with youth. He also enjoys that “percussion is an important anchor for people in the audience.” He adds that he has learned discipline in having to be the anchor while performing. 

Electric guitarist Colin has a church praise and worship background where he learned to use body language and guitar to convey emotion to the audience when he is performing.

“I seek to bridge the gap between the musician and the audience,” Colin says.

Having gone through various members since formation, the band is now rooted in a four member group with a similar collective vision. While two band mates graduated this year, the band members have no plans to stop pursuing music. Tara Terra was recently featured on Audiotree, will be recording their second LP in July with Chicago-based Audiotree and will be touring in August.

“Being a professional has become my hobby,” Joey describes in relation to his evolution from music being a pastime to a pursuit to do it as a profession. Other band mates share similar long-term plans to pursue music as a profession for as long as they can."

-The Huffington Post