Local music gets some fresh faces

By Jennifer Wendel, Opinions Editor

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Last Wednesday Emily Salswedel ’16 and her four band mates crowded into a practice room in Fine Arts Building for their daily rehearsal. “We didn’t reserve the other room and got kicked out,” said Salswedel, who takes photos for The Index, of the larger FAB 11. Though the (literally) underground culture of FAB goes unseen by many of their peers, these five band members battle nightly for one of the building’s coveted practice rooms or single recording studio.

Any Last Words, the self-proclaimed “most serious band on campus,” is a rock group made up of five first years. Chris Monsour ’16, the band’s drummer, started the group in September.

“I posted a Facebook post on the freshman class wall. I said I was looking for a really serious group who wanted to start an alterative rock band. Josh [Daniel] replied first, then I just stumbled into these guys,” he said.

Daniels named the band based on a dream he had. “I was sitting on the ground and there were people around me chanting ‘any last words,’” he said.

Camden Krusec '15 and Colin Smith '15 are both members of a band King of the Median. Photo by McKenna Kring
Camden Krusec ’15 and Colin Smith ’15 are both members of a band King of the Median. Photo by McKenna Kring

The group includes Jonathan Tavasti ’16 on bass and Peter Vangelderen ’16 on guitar. The musicians cite Breaking Benjamin and the Foo Fighters as their major musical influences, although they play mostly their own pieces.

Monsour says the local music scene in Kalamazoo is pretty good, but he has plans to change it. “We’re gonna shake things up,” he said.

The band’s first show is planned for March.

Riley Lundquist’s ’16 band formed this quarter.

“We haven’t really come up with a  good name yet,” Lundquist said. “We’ve only practiced six or seven times so far, so getting started is really where we are right now,” he said.

Lundquist, like Monsour, already has musical accomplishments behind him that can be found on iTunes. But his new band takes a different focus. “I wanted to play some things that were closer to jazz and some funk,” he said.

His band members include Mallika Mitra ’16 on the organ and piano, Brian Dalluge ’16 on the drums, Manny Greene ’16 on the tuba, and twins Aaron and Jacob Dean — Western Michigan University freshmen — on the guitar and flute, and trumpet, respectively.

Lundquist, a Kalamazoo native, met the Dean twins in high school. They were the first to join Lundquist’s band.

With six members, the band’s practice schedule is hard to arrange, but they are in it mostly for fun. “We can take it pretty seriously, but we’re also all pursuing degrees that are not music related,” said Lundquist.

“It’s a good thing to have a hobby that you learn a lot from, can take seriously but have a lot a fun with,” he said.

Though Lundquist likes the variety of music offered in Kalamazoo’s city limits, he hopes to see more musical activities on campus, like the Student Music Showcase held a few weeks ago. “But it would take the students to organize it,” he said.

Collin Smith ’15, a staff writer for the Index and the editor-in-chief of NAKED magazine, is taking a leading role in organizing such events.

Smith organized the Student Music Showcase. He modeled the event after similar one put on by Iggy Tall ’12 last year.

“I see these passionate individuals but I want to find them a platform where they can share their passions,” said Smith.

Smith is working on organizing two more events for spring quarter: a “Quadstock” that will involve a variety of other clubs, and another event still in the works.

rileylundquist

In the meantime Smith is busy with his own band, King Median. Smith partnered last spring with Camden Krusec ’15, and the band serious when Brian Dalluge ’16 and Ken Tsuchiyn ’16 joined at the end of fall quarter.

Smith cites Grizzly Bear, Deer Hunter and Radiohead as some of the band’s major influences, but says there are many more. “We’re really just music sponges,” he said.

Through his work with NAKED, Smith began writing previews for DIT Kalamazoo, an association of local venue owners, record labels and musicians. His band is playing their first house show with DIT on Saturday at Courthouse.

Smith hopes more K students will attend these off-campus shows. “I feel like a lot of K kids are sucked into this campus. There are a lot more things out there and this campus can collect a lot of stress,” he said.

The members of King Median also fight for space in FAB.

“God knows there’s only one recording studio, no sound proof walls and there’s always someone interrupting a session… there’s a lot of students who are spending a lot of time in the FAB but their peers don’t really know what’s going on,” said Smith

But Smith is looking for a way to expand this culture through NAKED, DIT and his own band.

“The theme of my work is to get K kids to live in the moment. Music can provide a lot of joy,” he said.

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