Featured Artist: The Untitled Band

Emily Filter , Grace Rowell

Music is ubiquitous, and it can appear anywhere. The sense of universality in music allows for the establishment of communities centered around this art. Those within these communities strive to enjoy cohesive sounds and rhythmic harmonies produced by themselves or their peers. The concoction that is music can draw people together– it has the unique ability to link to one’s emotions, thus it sustains a sense of camaraderie. With all music comes a label or name. Essentially, music is a system; one that is organized by way of multiple names and references, whether it be genres, albums or songs.                

A name is generally nothing more than a few letters strung together whose purpose provides someone or something with a title. It can be quite effortless to match a reference with an object or a being, but because one’s name can serve as a significant aspect of their identity, creating a name proves a more difficult task. Upon request for the name that construes their band, several Paly students find it difficult to provide a clear answer. Miles’ Garage, M’Jevan & the Three L’s and Garage Mahal are a few of the names that have been suggested, but all have failed to establish consensus within the group. With a lack of unanimity, the adamant band members might as well be referred to as the band without a name, given the current status of agreement. Band members and Paly students Lucia Amieva-Wang, Miles Schulman, Leela Srinivasan, Lucas Washburn and Jevan Yu find their prospective label a prevailing topic of discussion.

The group was formed in November 2017 and materialized in an unglamorous way.  Before coming together as a band, the lead vocals Srinivasan and Ameiva-Wang began playing together as a duo; just two girls and their guitars. Guitarist Washburn and drummer Schulman had also been practicing together on their own time. While discussing their passion for music in the library, Srinivasan, Amieva-Wang, Schulman and Washburn decided to join forces and form a band with each other. “Lucia and I had been playing a bit on our own, and when we figured out that Miles and Lucas also played we decided there was no harm in seeing what we’d all sound like together,” Srinivasan said. “It started over Thanksgiving break in Miles’ garage and turned it into a weekly thing, which it has been ever since.” Later on, bassist Jevan Yu joined the band as their fifth member. Though they have all had different prior music experiences, each individual brings a unique talent to the band.

Schulman, Washburn and Yu are all current or former members of the Paly pep band, notorious for musical chants and refashioned pop songs performed during school events. For them, their unnamed band gives them the opportunity to utilize their skills in a not repetitious way. “Band is fun sometimes and boring sometimes, but it really depends on what you do during class,” Washburn said. Although the Paly band teaches them more about music and their instruments, their band allows them to extend their music abilities and play songs they wouldn’t for school. “[Paly band] is different from our band because we usually can’t choose what songs to play and we have less control over what we want to do,” Washburn said. Overall, the band serves as a casual environment in which members students can enjoy music outside of school. Ex-choir member and lead singer, Lucia Amieva-Wang enjoys her time practicing with her friends, “our band is more of a get together to play songs that we like or songs that we want to try out, just for fun. That’s what makes our band unique and awesome.”

An additional source of conversation within the band surrounds the genre of music they enjoy playing. Unlike traditional tunes of the Paly band, their band accredits musical influences to artists from the 60s and 70s. Their unanimous love for 60s and 70s music makes choosing pieces and songs to cover much easier. Bands such as the Beatles, the Grateful Dead and The Police have provided them with the inspiration and influence necessary to solidify their music style and the respective songs they choose to practice. While the group enjoys music from the past, they have also given their personal music preferences a unique name. Washburn calls it “early 1930s southeastern swamp funk,” an interesting amalgamation of several different styles and eras.

When it comes to practice, finding time is not always easy. As Juniors in high school with various extracurriculars and hours of homework, their band manages to get together at least once a week to practice and play the music they love. “What’s fun about it is we created this completely on our own initiative,” Srinivasan said. “No one is holding us to anything; we can practice whenever we like, and I think that because we have this freedom we’re much more invested in it and we have a lot of fun.” However, one day a week is not enough. Each band member finds time to practice on their own and work on themselves as musicians so when they get all together, they can focus on playing as a group rather than on their individual musical challenges. “While I know we all practice our parts on our own, there’s something great about hearing all the instruments at once and the complete song come together,” Srinivasan said.

The future of the group came into discussion when they performed at Paly’s First annual Quadglobe. Miles’ Garage, a name that pays homage to the place where they practice, served as a simple name for performance purposes. However, the name was created in a rush. “Miles’ Garage was a last-minute measure because we had to introduce ourselves as something at Quadglobe,” Srinivasan said. “But, we don’t like the idea of representing one person in the name as we don’t have a designated band leader.” In preparation for their Quadglobe performance, the band came together to perform at Lytton Plaza in downtown Palo Alto to perfect their set list. “Performing downtown was great because people are constantly passing by and can hear little pieces of your songs,” Srinivasan said. “It’s also nice since you don’t have to have a wide variety of songs down as the crowd is constantly changing.” Their first formal performance in front of a crowd helped them not only realize the tweaks that needed to be made, but that their long hours of practice were finally paying off. In the future, they plan on continuing their performances downtown and at the local flea market located at Palo Alto High School.

The forming of this band quickly became an important aspect of all five of their lives. Not only does being part of a band make you part of a community, but it allows one to expand on their love for music. As for the name of their band, this important part of the group’s identity has yet to be chosen. “I think we’re just waiting for the perfect name to arise, and until then we’re [going to] remain undecided,” Srinivasan said.