Friday April 3 was a momentous day for the Geneseo music scene. Local bands slackjaw and The Red Kettle Collective released their debut EPs. Red Kettle kicked off the release of their self-titled EP at Kelly’s Saloon with the Rochester band Strange Bird. Copies of Red Kettle’s EP are on sale now and will eventually be released on iTunes. Slackjaw’s EP friendly pestering can be found on slackjawareyourfriends.bandcamp.com. The musicians in these groups are no strangers to local venues. All have been extremely active in open mic nights and house shows, some since their freshman year. Geneseo’s music scene has been picking up momentum largely thanks to these groups. As slackjaw drummer senior Nathan Kahn put it, “Something happened, the [music] scene died … but in the last two years the crowds have been phenomenal.”
The Red Kettle Collective is composed of seniors Nick Ellsworth, Chris Coffey, Micah Wiesner and Dustin DiPaulo, juniors Danny Krolikowski and Alec Friedman and freshman Will Barrie. Their upbeat-funk style is unlike anything else in Geneseo.
DiPaulo’s fast-paced, passionate rhymes give the EP raw energy, matched only by the insane instrumentals. The lyrical content ranges from smoking weed to political commentary. Each member’s pure musical talent makes it hard to believe this is the group’s first official EP.
In terms of its process, the band usually “just jam[s].” According to Coffey, “One person will come up with a base idea and everyone else just kind of writes [his] own part.” As for lyrics, DiPaulo explained, “I listen to what [the band] jammed on first, see what they have worked out and then go home and write something.”
“[Red Kettle’s style is] a mix of funk, hip-hop, jazz, reggae … with punk spice,” Coffey said. The band’s sound is heavily influenced by each member’s musical background. Many of them received classical training, as is evident in their EP’s refined style.
Slackjaw’s album is on another end of the musical spectrum. The band’s eclectic and often edgy sound conveys poignant emotion. The band includes sophomore Ella Mosco on vocals, junior Jon Campbell on bass and seniors Jacob Kotler on guitar and Nathan Khan on drums. On playful, simplistic titles like “room’s not clean” and “blue house,” friendly pestering shows off what Kotler called the band’s “weekend punk” sound.
According to Kahn, the EP includes “songs with feelings that are kind of sloppy at the same time to make it endearing.” The EP’s lyrics encapsulate the college experience, featuring lines like “my head’s a mess/my room’s not clean,” exemplifying slackjaw’s lazier rock style.
The entire EP was recorded in about a week with help from friend Eli Ben-Yaacov. Friendly pestering began by laying down the guitar and drums. Mosco recorded her vocals in “at most two takes,” Kotler said. The majority of the lyrics and melody for “blue house” were created right before recording, only adding to the EP’s laid-back style.
Slackjaw’s creative process is collaborative. The tracks begin with Kotler building the song structure, while Khan “help[s] to refine and simplify songs,” Kotler said. Mosco added, “Usually, I’ll make them play it a few times until one of us thinks of a vocal melody, and then I’ll record that on my own … and write lyrics.”
Despite their difference in sounds, friendly pestering and The Red Kettle Collective have made a huge contribution to the local music scene. Whether at a local bar or a house show, anyone who gets out to hear these bands live is sure to be impressed by the talent taking place right here in Geneseo.