A new jazz-inspired alt-rock band, Faces for Radio, is quickly gaining recognition on campus. The band’s jazzy covers and original tunes along with their recent appearances at Kickback and Phoebe Ryan’s show last month at the Healey Family Student Center are helping them grow in popularity. Following this string of successful shows, The Hoya sat down with the band members — Peter Laughlin (COL ’16) (guitar, vocals), Ethan Beaman (COL ’16) (guitar), Dillon Denehy (MSB ’17) (drums) and Gabe Spadaccini (COL ’17) (bass) – to talk about their influences, the story behind their name and their thoughts on the Georgetown music scene.
So, what’s the Faces for Radio origin story?
PL: Ethan and I were in the same NSO group. We lived across the hall from each other freshman year. Nobody knew anybody, and we were like, “Hey, you play guitar? I play guitar!” So we played guitar together. And then sophomore year we got a little bit more formal about it. We kept in touch through the years. And we’ve been in various groups and in various forms.
DD: I transferred from the University of Richmond, and I’d always played in bands. And I got to Georgetown … There’s not a big arts scene at Georgetown. I just did whatever I could; I went to every open mic trying to recruit guys to make a band. I had a huge list of people. .. and then I saw these guys. I honestly didn’t really care about your music at all, I was like, “You know what, these guys play guitar — I’ll just take advantage of it.” And then I was like, “We should join Guild of Bands,” and they were like “We’re already in Guild of Bands” and I was like “Sweet, I get access to a drum set”— that’s all I wanted. Turns out, when we practiced for the first time that these guys are actually really good, and I was like “Awesome, that’s perfect.”
So what are the rest of your musical backgrounds?
PL: I played sports in high school … I’m not kidding. I grew up always really liking music; my dad was huge into classic [rock]. The first music I ever listened to wasn’t rap or anything like that. By the time I was 3 years old, I knew every word to “Stop Making Sense,” the Talking Heads album. He was a huge Grateful Dead, Talking Heads, The Band [fan] … He liked Dylan a little bit, but huge into the Allman Brothers. He was a big southern rock / folk kind of guy.
GS: I feel like the dads are very important.
PL: I remember the first album my dad ever bought me was “Dark Side of the Moon.” And he bought my brother “Rock ‘n’ Roll Animal” by Lou Reed.
DD: What was the first album you bought yourself?
DD: Mine was NSync, so … But yeah, my dad had a huge role too. Blasting AC/DC in the car, just all the good stuff. Led Zeppelin. I’ve been in bands since third grade. Whether it’s good or bad, I’ve been in bands since third grade. Always drumming. At one point in third grade, no, fourth grade, I was the backup drummer in like a nine-person band.
Where are you guys hoping to take Faces for Radio?
PL: Straight to the top.
DD: Yep. As far as we can.
PL: Yeah, I don’t know. That’s an open-ended question. More original stuff. We’re gonna get some studio time for ourselves and record like a five-track demo as soon as we can.
DD: I don’t even think we saw ourselves playing at a party when we first started jamming. We were just jamming to have fun with it, and now we’re getting recognition on campus. People are noticing the potential that we have, and I think that’s such a huge step for us. We have no idea where we’re going to be next semester or anything like that.
What does the name mean?
DD: Well we looked at Peter, and we thought “He is one ugly-looking dude. How can we relate that to our band name?” and then Peter was like “Faces for Radio.”
PL: I don’t mean to shoot down the question, but do we want people to know what it’s all about? Or do we want to just leave it up to interpretation? That’s one of the other things: We have to decide. This is a real decision point for our band.
PL: We don’t take ourselves too seriously — musically we take ourselves seriously, but we like to have fun, guys.
Do you guys have anything to say about the Georgetown arts scene?
DD: It’s underground here. You have all your artsy kids at other schools. You know where to go. There’s buildings for the arts; you can just go there and be like “Hey, you! Let’s go play in the band room.” Here, how the hell are you going to find Studio D?
And how do you find artsy people?
DD: Actually a bunch of people approached me about the music scene here. They were prospective kids, and I told them there was a music scene. They get into the school, and they’re like, “There’s no music kids here. How do I find them?” Go to all the open mics, sign yourself up for open mics, talk to these kids, get their numbers and jam. That’s literally the only way.
PL: Self-advocacy is really the way to get into it. What I would say to those who read this article: If you play music, be a self-advocate. Get involved. I heard a quote the other day, I don’t know who said it, but it was something like, “Art is the way we decorate space; music is the way we decorate time.” Think about it for a little while. If you look at any great music scene like Seattle in the ’90s or Nashville or Detroit in the ’70s … all these bands that people think about that grew up together: They all knew each other, and they all were playing at the same clubs and kind of bouncing ideas off of one another. There’s not enough of that here at Georgetown.
DD: If you’re a guitarist, just go to these open mics and really reach out to other people. Make a band. It’s not that hard.
PL: Why not? Just get out there. Do something. I would just like to see people step outside their comfort zones a little more often. I want more music here at Georgetown.
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