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From cave to stage: A Q&A with the Battle of the Bands winners

To observers of Carleton’s history, it’s a time-honored tradition. To anyone who happened to be in the Cave on April 29 for semifinals or May 7 for finals, it was, as Cave managers described it in a mass email,“a sonic battle for the ages.” To the competitors, it was the chance to be one of two student bands headlining another campus tradition: spring concert.

While seven bands entered the Cave with instruments in hand, only two emerged victorious. Heading up Sproncert this year will be Paranoid Fiction and Beans of Production, and Features & Arts Editor Sophie Perfetto ’24 interviewed them both. Read on for their responses.

Paranoid Fiction

Owen Roth ’25, Nelson Serrano ’25, Ethan Whiteaker ’25,and Will Prim ’25

Q: How long has your band been together?

A: We’ve been together since finals week Fall Term. 

Q: What made you want to get involved with music at Carleton/your band specifically?

A: We just wanted to make music in a DIY, collaborative way. Also, the rock music scene on campus isn’t what it used to be, so we kinda wanted to help bring exciting, original student music back to places like the Cave and Sproncert.

Q: What kind of music do you like to play? 

A: Kinda indie, kinda shoegazey, kinda punky.

Q: What motivated you to enter Battle of the Bands?

A: We wanted exposure more than anything, but the prospect of playing Sproncert was also enticing.

Q: What instruments are included in your band?

A: Keys, electric guitar, bass guitar and drums. 

Q: Any hints as to what you will be playing at Sproncert?

A: We’ll be playing a ton of originals, including some that have never been heard before.

Q: How do you feel about the opportunity to play at Sproncert?

A: We’re so stoked to play for what will be our biggest audience yet.

Q: Any other thoughts/things that you want people to know about your band?

A: We were the only band at BotB that played entirely originals, and we’re hoping to try and revitalize the post-COVID-19 Carleton music scene. We’re all freshmen, so we’ll be around for a while. Also, check us out on Spotify (and other streaming services)! We’ve released two songs through NoFi, a student organization that is both a music magazine and a music imprint. (And we’ll have more music out soon!)

Beans of Production

Alexis Walters ’22 (Vocals), Yuto Miyazawa ’22 (Lead Guitar), James McGehee ’22 (Rhythm Guitar), Anders Brodnax ’22 (Keyboard), Jack Uchitel ‘22 and Ben Chao ’23 (Saxes), Ethan Whiteaker ’25 (Bass), Robert Breyer ’23 (Drums). 

Q: How long has your band been together?

A: Most of us have been playing in various bands together for 3-4 years now — jazz combos, pop-rock bands and funk groups — so we’re pretty familiar with each other and have played a lot together. Our catchphrase that our beloved fans have embraced is “Seize the Beans!” #SeizeTheBeans. Gotta seize the beans of production, ya know what I’m saying.

Q: What made you want to get involved with music at Carleton/your band specifically?

A: All of us are associated with the music department in different ways and have been since the start of our times at Carleton. For each of us, there was no question that music would be an integral part of our time here, and when you play in the music department for so long, you are constantly introduced to super talented musicians. That’s how we found each other and formed our band. 

Q: What kind of music do you like to play? 

A: We like to play rock music but mix it with some indie, big band and funk elements. We have a pretty diverse range of songs in our repertoire that we like to throw in to keep the crowd on their toes.  

Q: What motivated you to enter Battle of the Bands?

A: Our band is really focused on putting on a great show for the audience rather than on the results. However, for five of us, this will be our last chance to play Sproncert, which some of us seniors were hoping and getting set to do our sophomore year before COVID hit. We’ve done gigs at Carleton and in town at places such as the Cow and Reunion and would love the opportunity to open at Sproncert.

Q: What instruments are included in your band?

A: We have Alexis Walters on vocals, Yuto Miyazawa on lead guitar, James McGehee on rhythm guitar, Anders  Brodnax on keyboard, Jack Uchitel and Ben Chao on saxes, Ethan  Whiteaker on bass and Robert Breyer on drums. 

Q: Any hints as to what you will be playing at Sproncert?

A: We don’t want to give away too much in advance, but there will definitely be songs you can sing along to, and there will even be an original.

Q: How do you feel about the opportunity to play at Sproncert?

A: The opportunity to play at Sproncert is huge for our band. The seven upperclassmen have had two Sproncerts taken away from us, and for the seniors, this is their last chance to play in it. It means so much to our band to be able to play up on stage for the whole school and to be part of such an awesome Carleton tradition.

Q: Any other thoughts/things that you want people to know about your band?

A: It’s rare that you have a celebrity going to school at Carleton College. Yuto Miyazawa, who you might know from his gigs with Ozzy Ozbourne, his Ellen Show appearance and his place in the Guiness Book of World Records as the youngest professional guitarist, is that rare person. Although he’s played in town with some of us at the Cow, he hasn’t had the big stage to play on at Carleton yet that he deserves. We intend to pave the way to that stage Saturday night.

Paranoid Fiction and Beans of Production are set to open for Sproncert, which will take place on Saturday, May 21 from 2:00-10:00 p.m. 

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