Senior Larry Bellomo finds creative outlet in math rock, looks forward to genetic counseling

Partially tongue-in-cheek, senior Larry Bellomo describes his interests as lying “amidst the chaos of math rock and amidst the chaos of the human genome.” As ambitious as that sounds, there’s truth in its grandiosity.

A psychology major who started with economics and took a brief stint as sociology major in between, Bellomo sampled a bit before settling into his current academic track.

“I took a sociology course that was basically Intro to Neurosociology and that was the first time the biology of the brain had been fused in a social science for me,” Bellomo said, noting that it was that course that caused his shift to psychology. He said he has “gravitated toward the biology end of things” ever since.

Currently, Bellomo is doing research as part of associate professor of psychology Vincent Markowski’s lab, studying the toxic effects of the flame retardant decabromodiphenyl ether on mice. But as Bellomo nears graduation, he said he looks to move toward something more client-based.

Much of his time as a psychology major has been devoted to biopsychology, particularly genetic counseling. Bellomo had a genetic counseling internship at Elizabeth Wende Breast Care in Rochester where he would “profile potential client risk factors and inheritance probabilities” and found enjoyment in “relaying complex information in layman’s terms.”

“[Genetic counseling] just seemed like a perfect hybrid for what I wanted to do. It meshed everything together really nicely,” Bellomo said, calling it one of the “most preventative” types of health care.

But as he starts to look at graduate programs for genetic counseling, Bellomo has something else to fill his day: math rock.

Bellomo plays guitar in the self-described “indie mathy emo” band Palmkite. The band has a far-reaching fan base, even receiving messages from fans in Brazil, and plays concerts whenever it can get its college-aged members together long enough. This includes one show in 2011 with genre-favorite Algernon Cadwallader.

“It’s been a really pleasant surprise to have something so unexpected take off so well,” Bellomo said of his band’s internet-fueled success. He added that the band “isn’t really making any money but just doing it for fun.”

When writing songs for the band, Bellomo will “come up with a guitar part and jam along to it for about an hour and then [the band will] put pieces and bits together.”

“It breaks open the guitar,” Bellomo said of the math rock genre, highlighting the “randomness of it” and the dichotomy of the “rhythmic dissonance and melodic consonance.”

“No matter how much you listen to it, there’s always something surprising,” he said.

Bellomo has always possessed a strong interest in guitar, even considering studying jazz guitar at a conservatory after high school. But after a “change of heart,” he said he has able to find the more “cathartic” side to playing.

“I’ve been able to get so much more out of music. It’s more like meditation to me than anything else,” he said.

While genetic counseling and math rock may not seem all that similar, for Bellomo it’s the sifting through the complexities of each that keeps him interested day in and day out. So whether it’s delving deeper into the human genome or conquering the “indie mathy emo” rock scene, Bellomo is sure to “get lost in the randomness.”