Categorized | Arts & Entertainment

Campus bands prove that Wooster has original talent

Experience the musical stylings of some of these acts (and more) at Circle K’s “Battle of the Bands” Sat. Nov. 19 at 9 p.m.

Compliments

Ben Turner ’14, Kevin McClister and Chris Willimen

Interview with Ben Turner

 

Can you tell me a little about your members?

We all come from Elyria, just west of Cleveland.

How did you get together?

Kevin and I got together in our early teens to jam a Black Keys cover. Soon after, we began writing and recording, and began to perform in small venues in Cleveland with rotating bassists. Chris joined this past summer, after hearing an album Kevin and I recorded in the summer and winter months of 2010, entitled “Burn Down Music.” Chris approached us with several ideas for a concept album that he wanted us involved in, entitled “Audio Murphy.” The three of us spent all summer writing together, and hope to record more sometime this winter.

Can you describe your sound?

Many of our songs encompass simple melodies and harmonies in combination with the use of samples, rhythmic drums and bass and contrasting guitar tones.

Who are your influences?

The Beach Boys, Franz Schubert and Vince Gilligan.

Any original songs that you’re particularly proud of?

We’re currently excited about a new song we recorded during fall break entitled “Glimpse of Life.” “Candles” and “Avant Grande,” are also performance favorites.

How much do you practice?

We practice most often in the summer and around winter holidays.

Where do you usually play?

We occasionally gig in the Cleveland area.

 

The National Razors

Adam Levin ’14, Josh Stover ’14 and Gareth McNamara ’14

Interview with Gareth McNamara

dam has played trombone for the last ten years and is Principal Trombone in Wooster Symphony Orchestra. Josh is a past-life drummer, played guitar for the last four years, and dabbles in piano. I have played guitar for the last six years and can get by on a couple other instruments.

How did you get together?

A jam session born out of sleep deprivation and a bad case of the “baby-done-left-mes.” We were originally going to call ourselves Karl and the Marx Brothers, but we couldn’t get any gigs with that name.

Can you describe your sound?

Imagine Tom Waits and Elvis drunkenly stumbled onto the mainstage at a punk festival headlined by The Pogues. Extrapolate.

Who are your influences?

Apart from those mentioned above, Ian Dury and the Blockheads, The Clash, Arctic Monkeys, Imelda May, Bruce Springsteen, Coheed and Cambria, Ludacris, Simon and Garfunkel. We believe in diversity.

How much do you practice?

Once a week. More if you feed us.

Any original songs that you’re particularly proud of?

Well, “That Damn Typewriter” is about insanity, demons and alcoholism, “Guts for Garters” concerns a rather amorous woman and “Whiskey”speaks for itself. We are proud, our parents are less so.

Where do you usually play?

Dingy basements and random porches.

Empire Heights

Matt Stouffer ’14, Abbey Clough and Leo Sideras

Interview with Matt Stouffer

 

Can you tell me a little about your members?

We are currently playing as a three piece. I play drums and percussion, Abbey sings and plays guitar and Leo plays guitar.

How did you get together?

Abbey and I met around five or six years ago and started making music. She has been writing and playing acoustically for a few years and when I came in we turned it into a real rock sound. We wrote and recorded our first full length “Dress up, Shake Down” last summer/winter.

Can you describe your sound?

I feel like we’re pretty hard to describe. Punk/Rock/Singer-songwriter might be the best three genera.

Who are your influences?

They range from Blink-182 to Taking Back Sunday. Mostly punk or rock bands.

Any original songs that you’re particularly proud of?

We wrote a song the night before BOTB last year. It is now the intro to our album and we start every show with it. It’s real fast and heavy, definitely a crowd favorite.

How much do you practice?

When we’re home on break usually every day. Abbey and Leo both attend Ohio University so we really haven’t practiced since summer.

Where do you usually play?

We play acoustically for our friends at home. Recently we’ve played the OU BOTB (Ohio University Battle of the Bands), which was tons of fun. We love any chance we get to play.

 

 

Huey Newton and the Juice

Dan Hanson ’12, Fran Francis ’13, Maxim Elrod ’15, Dan   Axmacher ’12, Matt Porter ’12

Interview with Dan Hanson

 

Can you tell me a little about your members?

Dan Hanson plays guitar and vocals and taught Herman Cain everything he knows. Alexandra “Fran” Francis plays guitar and is a nationally recognized cup stacker. Maxim Elrod drums and was a model for the Dolce & Gabbana children’s clothing line in his youth. Dan Axmacher plays keyboard and bass and has a rare medical condition that makes his body intolerant to any fabric except corduroy. Matt Porter plays bass and vocals and enjoys writing Twilight fan fiction.


How did you get together?

Me, Dan Axmacher, and Matt have jammed intermittently since we were first-years, often going between different drummers. Then we got Max, and Fran joined in after that, so the core of the band has been the same for the past three years only now with Fran and Max, who we met this semester. We’re named after the founder of the Black Panther party and a delicious drink.


Can you describe your sound?

Matt and I are the main songwriters. Matt writes stuff that tends to be influenced by shoegaze and noise music, with lots of static riffs and long jams. I tend to write music that is more influenced by blues, punk and types of rock with more conventional song structures. We’re always loud and spacey given our five-instrument lineup.


Who are your influences?

Max: Swans, Modest mouse, Dismemberment Plan

Dan H.: the Fall, dinosaur Jr., The Who

Matt: Whiskey, Cobra Starship, Zwan

Dan Ax.: Blood, Sweat & Tears, Tears for Fears, Madness

Fran: Pink Floyd, Led Zeppelin, Kid Koala

Any original songs that you’re particularly proud of?

My favorite song that I’ve written is called “Been Through the Suburbs.” It just has a really simple blues shuffle kind of feel and the lyrics kinda wrote themselves. I also wrote the music to “My Old Lady” and “Black History Month,” which are both kinda punky. Matt wrote the lyrics to both of them.

How much do you practice?

Every Saturday or so.


Where do you usually play?

Avery house basement, where Matt and Dan Axmacher live.

 

 

No 5th Grade

Kyle Smucker ’13, Charlie Davis ’12

Interview with Kyle Smucker

 

Can you tell me a little about your members?

I play drums and sing mostly. Charlie plays hot riffs, occasional spicy lick on the guitar and bass and sometimes drums.

How did you get together?

We met a party last year…

Charlie: “Hey you play drums right?”

Kyle: “Yeah I guess you could say that.”

Charlie: “OK we are a band now practice is at three tomorrow.”

Kyle: “Oh word. My name’s Kyle.”

Can you describe your sound?

Do you remember the first time you tasted a peach?  It’s sort of like that but with more feedback.

Who are your influences?

We have disagreements about our influences.  I would say Jeff the Brotherhood and Natural Child are probably ones we could agree on.  We used to name our songs after what they were rip-offs of — we had a “Yeah Yeah Yeahs” song, a “Death From Above 1979” song and now there’s a “Deerhunter” song on the new demo, which is coming out soon!

Any original songs that you’re particularly proud of?

We have a new song called “I Could Go;” it’s our breakout hit. I picture myself in a two-door with Kanye and Bill Gates listening to that song, talking about what charities we’re currently donating to.  It’s going to pay for my kids’ college tuitions and their ponies too.

How much do you practice?

Only when my housemates are trying to take naps.

Where do you usually play?

We do a lot of shows at Kate house, where I live.  There aren’t too many places around the town of Wooster looking for two punk-ass kids to play songs with titles like “Blood Wizard.”  We have played at the UG, big shout out to the electric fans taped to walls at the UG.  I feel like Wooster’s student music scene doesn’t live up to its potential — there are so many talented musicians that go here but hardly any student organized bands.  We don’t have places to play or even practice because everyone has to live in dorms — we’ve got all these great musicians diddling their drum machines, locked up in their tiny dorm rooms with no basements to jam and get loud in.  Wait sorry what was the question?  Oh yeah well … Charlie keeps talking about doing a show in Cleveland but we’ll see what happens.

 

 

Matthew Germaine

Interview with Matthew Germaine ’15

Can you tell me a little about yourself?

My name is Matthew Germaine and I’m from Berkley, Mich., a small city about 20 minutes away from Detroit. I’m a first-year student and am currently thinking about minoring in Music (I have no idea what to major in!) I play the trombone and a bit of drums and piano in addition to the guitar. I play the former instrument in the Scot Band, the Wooster Jazz Ensemble, a Jazz Combo and the Brass Ensemble.

How did you start making music?

Not sure what to answer here … I just picked up a guitar about four years ago and have been enjoying it ever since!

Can you describe your sound?

Since it’s just me and my acoustic guitar, I suppose I have an acoustic sound. As far as genre goes, it’s pretty much pop/rock and covers. I try to convey my love of music through the songs that I perform.

Who are your influences?

My biggest influences (music-wise) are Dave Matthews, Ben Folds, Trace Bundy and Andy McKee (not in any particular order).

Any original songs you’re particularly proud of?

I have only written one original song so far, but I am extremely proud of it. It’s called “Prolonged Aggravation (It’s PA),” and it’s a rap that I wrote about my English class last year (senior year of high school). It was pretty much the hardest class I have ever taken, so I thought it deserved a rap of its very own. I will be performing it at Battle of the Bands!

How much do you practice?

I try to practice a bit every day. To be honest, I think playing guitar (or any instrument) is an awesome stress reliever and/or study break, so I will sometimes whip it out in the middle of a bunch of homework, play for about a half-hour, and then get back to studying.

Where do you usually play?

Before coming to Wooster, I played a few songs at a coffee shop close to where I live called The Coffee Beanery. Besides that, I usually just practice in my room, but I’m excited to perform at Battle of the Bands.

 

 

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