Arts & Culture

Young Hummus spreads ‘creamy jams’ across campus

Band talks musical upbringings, folk sound, harmonious dynamic, future after Brown

Senior Staff Writer
Thursday, April 14, 2016

Young Hummus, a five-member band that consists entirely of sophomores and was formed in March 2015, will play at Aurora Sunday.

Persevering on its quest to spread “nutritious, thick and creamy jams across Providence,” student band Young Hummus will play at downtown music venue Aurora Sunday.

The band is composed of hummus cognoscenti Noah Goodman ’18 (also known as Gooey Noodleman) and James Wenz ’18 (Jim Bag), both on guitar and vocals, Isaac Davis ’18 (Sploopy Davis or Spoony Davis) on drums, Jack Kane ’18 on bass and Sam Levine ’18 on tambourine.

Young Hummus was at its youngest in March 2015. The group formed after Goodman and Davis met at a jam session organized by the Brown Music Co-op, Goodman said. 

“I went to (a jam session), and Isaac was there. I was like, ‘I want to start a band to play funky rock music,’ and we did,” Goodman said.  “I knew Jack — he lived in my dorm, and Isaac brought James. Sam is a friend of all of ours, and he always wanted to be part of it in some way.”

Other members joined the group with no real expectations for their future together, Davis said, “but we all really enjoyed playing together.” After a number of performances, they started to consider themselves a group.

A passion for music

The members of Young Hummus have always been rhythmically and musically inclined. For some, like Goodman, appreciation for music was almost innate: “I guess I started singing when I came out of the womb,” Goodman said. “There’s home videos of me as a baby in diapers baby-bouncing with a little cassette player.”

After graduating from diapers, Goodman’s musical palate expanded rapidly. “In pre-K, I exclusively listened to the Backstreet Boys, some soft rock and top 40 radio,” Goodman said. He would discover the Dave Matthews Band in sixth grade, to which he “devotedly and religiously listened for five years,” Goodman said. Today, Goodman calls himself a “Dave Matthews Band apologist.”

Like Goodman’s, Davis’ musical influences took root early. “The Clash were very formative for me as a five-year-old.” Today, Davis “listens to a lot of weird crap, like ’80s post-punk,” he said.

Wenz honed his musical chops “through high school musical theater performances” and grew up looking to Jimi Hendrix, Led Zeppelin and pop-punk groups for professional examples.

Kane, the current bassist for Young Hummus and member of Brown trombone group Bear Bones, began learning the guitar and trombone in middle school and the bass guitar in high school, he said. Kane “enjoys post-punk and grunge music,” Goodman said.

Levine, tambourine-player for Young Hummus and member of Daudalaggio’s Traveling Spacetime Band, is “the most musically knowledgeable of the group,” Davis said. “Levine has composed at least one complete orchestral symphony,” Goodman said.

The “hummus-y”

The band members “each bring something different” to Young Hummus’ sound, Goodman said. Wenz added that the group’s style of music is heavily influenced by Fleetwood Mac, Wilco, the Clash and the Beatles’ “White Album” and “Abbey Road.”

“Our sound has been described as ‘folk punk,’ but we aren’t that punk,” Goodman said. “We aren’t hard-core enough to be punks, and our music would be folk if we weren’t just some college boys.” Sticking to the theme of Mediterranean spreads in describing the band’s sound, he added that “it’s like hummus-y rock. It’s creamy, thick and messy.”

With a fan base composed of friends, freshmen and “people who go to parties at (Watermyn Co-op),” Young Hummus has found the student body quite receptive to its musical aspirations. “I feel like we are taken somewhat seriously as a band, and we like that,” Goodman said.

The sophomores speak of their public profile with humor.

“We are usually followed by adoring fans and hordes of groupies,” Kane said, with tongue in cheek.

“Sometimes people say, ‘Oh my god, is that Young Hummus?’ But it’s mostly ironic,” Davis added.

Of making it on the Brown music scene, Kane said, “As a band, it’s usually hard to get started, but we got started pretty quick. At Brown, there’s always a venue to play. The opportunities were there, and all we had to do was step up and take them.”

“We play a lot of original songs, and that’s saying something,” Goodman said. “We could play songs everyone knows and everyone wants to hear, but we get a lot of satisfaction from playing songs we’ve written even if people don’t know them.”

The Hummus dynamic

Despite a few instances of creative friction, the members of Young Hummus maintain a very close relationship and have experienced few challenges as a group. “The biggest challenge has been that we have been playing too many shows,” Wenz said.

“A douchey complaint,” Davis joked. “We’ve also experienced certain difficulties in transporting drum sets.”

Members have maintained a positive relationship outside of the group by bonding over shared interests. “We are all big Mac DeMarco fans,” Wenz said.

“I’d like to be him, but shower more and smoke less. Or smoke not at all, maybe,” Davis added.

When not meeting to practice, the group can be found making “squad appearances at Jo’s,” Kane said.

The band’s knack for repartee gave rise to its name, which resulted from Davis’ mispronouncing Wenz’s nickname, “Young James.”

“I made it up as a joke, and then everyone really liked it not as a joke,” Davis said.

Aged Hummus

Since the band’s formation last spring in the members’ first year at Brown, Young Hummus’ sound and the band itself have evolved, Goodman said. “We’ve gotten a lot tighter, we’ve learned a lot more and we don’t play ‘Max Can’t Surf’ by FIDLAR, so that’s an accomplishment.”

“We are getting to know each other better as musicians and slowly figuring out how to fit our voices in at the same time,” Wenz said. The group’s members are also learning “how we can contribute to songs so that they’re not just some chords and singing,” Wenz added.

After Brown, the band members’ ideas about the future of Young Hummus vary. “I want to record and promote an album. … That’s my only concrete plan,” Goodman said.

“We would probably go on tour and make millions,” Kane joked.

For now, Young Hummus is concentrating on the here and now.

“It’s like a college relationship. We don’t want to prognosticate about the future because we should focus on the present,” Wenz said.