James Hansen ’16 sometimes feels like he spends all day on music, like when his band meets up to rehearse for a show. He also practices drums or guitar every day after finishing his homework.
Michael Edwards ’16 and Animaan Pathak ’15, two other students who have played in bands, devote similar amounts of time to music.
Pathak is one of two members in Dead White Day, a band that plays heavy rock music with metal, punk and acoustic rock influences. He plays drums and guitar and writes melodies and lyrics. The other member of the band plays bass and guitar.
“Currently, I’m working on demos for the Dead White Day EP, which I’ll be recording in the summer,” Pathak said.
He previously played in the bands MASQ and Outcry and has performed at clubs such as The Roxy and The Troubadour.
It is hard for Pathak to define the number of hours he spends on music.
“The time commitment doesn’t really factor into my thinking because I feel the need to express myself through music, so I don’t look at it as a hobby or a job,” Pathak said. “I would just say it’s an ongoing process. I’m almost always coming up with ideas and new songs in my free time.”
Playing in a band requires a type of balance, Pathak said.
“Compromise is important, but sticking to your integrity and being honest with yourself are the two most important ideas I’ve come to realize playing in bands,” Pathak said.
Edwards plays guitar and piano.
He formed his first band, Flynt, with four others at School of Rock, a music school he attends in West Los Angeles that provides music lessons and performance opportunities to student musicians.
Though Flynt is no longer together, he occasionally plays with his former band mates.
Flynt regularly played at meetings for the Venice Vintage Motorcycle Club, where the bassist’s parents are members, but most shows took place wherever the band can find a gig such as The Joint and The Mint, two music venues.
He has most recently been playing guitar and piano in a rhythm section for various singers and songwriters.
Having played mainly solo music before Flynt, Edwards has found that there is a major difference between playing in a band and playing alone.
“You have to learn to cooperate with others and learn to give in to what others want over just what you want,” Edwards said.
Hansen plays the drums and does vocals for The Offtracks, whose repertoire includes a few original songs and covers of Hansen’s two favorite bands, the Beatles and the Canadian progressive rock band Rush.
Four of the members play the standard rock ensemble instruments, which include guitar, bass and drums.
The fifth member’s role reflects the influence of the Beatles, according to Hansen, because, he plays the cello instead of an instrument usually associated with rock.
“I have always been influenced by The Beatles and how they were able to so well add orchestral sounds into their music,” Hansen said. “The cellist plays the notes of the chord higher up so that it gives texture to the mix.”
Another popular cover choice for The Offtracks is The Who, whose anthem rock “Won’t Get Fooled Again” usually opens their shows.
“That is always a fun one because it gets insane in the end,” Hansen said.
Hansen and the other band members met while at Walter Reed Middle School.
Since they could meet up after school, they rehearsed almost every other day.
Rehearsals and performances with the full band became sparse after middle school especially since its bassist moved to Nashville after middle school.
However, the other members still meet around once a month.
Their most recent performances were at a friend’s birthday party without the bassist in February and as a student-opener for Hansen’s guitar teacher at Moose Lodge in November, where Hansen’s teacher plays every month.
They met during winter break when Hansen and his band mates flew to Nashville to visit the bassist, and they plan on spending more time playing music together during the summer break.