The Joss House Team plans to transform the Shiva stage into Vassar’s own Madison Square Garden for the upcoming Battle of the Bands. The bands performing in the event on Feb. 21 include: fouronefour, Soviet Space Dogs, Smash Brothers Karamazov, Beagle Beagle, Jah and Young Troll, Velvet Elvis, Sad Housekeeping, Revolting Hags and Aural Burrows.
Josselyn house President, Luke Dowker ’17 continued the tradition of Joss House Battle of the Bands this year, and wanted to make sure the emphasis was put on student support and encouragement. Dowker wrote in an emailed statement, “Most of the shows that happen on campus are played by outside bands that [ViCE] or No-ViCE or ViCE jazz give money to. Battle of the Bands is more student centered. Everyone who’s gonna be taking the stage in [Battle of the Bands] goes to Vassar.”
He continued, “Plus this campus is so small–if you take even one look at who’s playing you’re probably gonna see someone you have class with two days a week. I think that’s pretty cool. And for the patrons/attendees of the event it’s a chance to see their friends shred.”
While this year’s Battle of the Bands event will be the second of its kind, the organizers of this event have experienced some new challenges during the planning process. Dowker wrote, “This year we had two and a half times as many applications as last year so we unfortunately had to cut some bands that I thought were really cool.”
House Student Advisor, Sophie Asakura ’16 commented as well on the issue of choosing bands to play at the event, “This year we had so many bands that asked to play that we had to make the super hard decision to cut it down to nine bands. We tried to encourage a variety of sounds and wanted to ensure an underclassmen presence.”
One such underclassmen band is fouronefour, an alternative pop/punk band with members Annie Innes-Gold ‘18, Zechariah Lee ‘18, Harry Wedel ‘18 and Micah Katz-Ziegler ‘18. Innes-Gold, who plays guitar and sings lead vocals wrote in an emailed statement, “We will be playing four original songs…My favorite part of preparing for the battle has been seeing how these original songs have progressed—we are constantly coming up with new ideas and changing our arrangements.”
Another band, Soviet Space Dogs, consists of four sophomores and will play a mmix of original songs and covers. Drummer Jackson Dammann ‘17 commented on the band’s history and current sound, “Before this event, we’ve played numerous times at Vassar last year and the previous semester. My favorite part is just the excitement of being in the show with other great bands, and getting a chance to play some of our original music in front of a crowd… As for our band, we’ve gone through a lot of changes, but we’re finally solidifying our sound, although we still love to experiment with lots of different styles.”
Once the House Team went through the selection process, it was time to figure out the logistics of the Battle. Dowker commented on the House Team collaboration which lead to the execution of the event, “In planning any all-campus event you’re gonna run into a lot of institutional barriers unless you know all of this school’s different offices inside and out. But thanks to our lovely house advisor/SARC director [Dominique Waldron] and a very supportive house team it’s been a pretty smooth process.”
Asakura went into more detail about this process to make Battle of the Bands possible. She said, “The process is ongoing, but we got the Shiva as early as we could and then opened up a call for artists. We cut the list down and then started with budgeting, logistics, and publicity. The biggest challenge, in my opinion, was trying to narrow down the list of bands. We really wanted to have time for everyone, but, alas, we cannot have a 4 hour event.”
Joss student fellow, Kelly Yu ’17 was involved with a different aspect of the preparation. “I am in charge of decorations, prizes, and food for the staff members. Furthermore, I am working with a few other House Team members to ensure that the show runs smoothly….We are currently working with the Shiva staff to get the space ready for the show with musical equipment and lighting,” said Yu in an emailed statement.
As the House Team gears up for the music-filled and student-focused night, it’s members are each looking forward to the event in different ways. Dowker commented, “Tons of people I know are playing and I haven’t seen most of them in a musical/creative setting before and I’m so excited to see how their personalities translate into their sound.”
Yu, who is new to not only this type of event planning, but also to Joss House itself wrote, “My favorite part about planning Battle of the Bands is the different people I get to interact with and the new things that I will be learning. Although I will not be working directly with the equipment, I am excited to see how sound and lighting works for when putting on a concert.”
Asakura commented on her favorite aspects of Battle of the Bands from it’s early stages, to its final ones, “My favorite part of this event has been seeing the way my wonderful, talented, and dedicated house team has really poured their efforts into making a great event…I’m looking forward to the end of the event. That moment of relief/satisfaction in having put on a successful and fun event.”
Guitarist and vocalist, Nick Kohomban ‘17 of Soviet Space Dogs commented on his anticipation for the event, “I’m super amped to hear all of the over groups play; it’s so special to have an event like this where we can all come together and show our talent.”
Dowker closed with a sentiment regarding the nature of this specific event, compared to ones that other Houses have held. “I think it’s a pretty novel event to throw on a Saturday night, especially when so much of all-campus programming is based around stuff like Villard Room parties and Mug nights. It’s a space where you’re not really encouraged or pressured to drink which is cool. The creativity of our peers comes out in tons of other ways–the [M]isc, theater, dance, a cappella–but I think a [B]attle of the [B]ands opens up a new outlet for that,” he said.