Arts & Culture

Student band brings new sounds to Brown

Megafauna experiments with ambitious electronic indie rock songs

By
Staff Writer
Thursday, November 21, 2019

The five housemates produce most of their music around the IKEA living room table in their home.

For the student band Megafauna, production is at the core of their music. They craft synth-driven indie rock songs with both their laptops and guitars — even during their live shows, the computer plays drums.

Made up of housemates Brad Guesman ’20, Demos Efstathiou ’20, David Halpern ’20, Max Mines ’20 and Alex Randaccio ’20, Megafauna began performing live both on and off campus this month. The band is currently working on new music, which they plan to release before they graduate. They say that some of their best work materializes at the IKEA table in their living room.

With their new material, the band is interested in creating cohesive sonic “worlds,” both within songs and across multiple tracks. “How do you make something that constructs a place that people can live in for a little bit while they’re listening to your music?” Guesman said. The band cited artists like Arcade Fire and Andy Shauf as influences, artists that have both released conceptual albums telling continuous stories from song to song through separate vignettes.

Guesman has recorded and released music as a solo artist under the name “SN0WCRASH” since his senior year of high school. He met Efstathiou and Halpern during his first year at Brown, and then Mines and Randaccio the following year. Soon after, he recruited the four of them to record a live performance sample for a radio music competition for which he was a finalist. Guesman won the competition, and his SN0WCRASH work was played on San Francisco radio station KFOG-FM as a result.

The five seniors had all been writing music individually before forming Megafauna this semester. They believe collaborating has catalyzed their creative process. “I’m writing lyrics (during) all my classes,” Randaccio said.

They are currently performing “SN0WCRASH” songs as well as solo work Mines has released under the name “Language Please.” Both projects feature intricate production that they try to recreate during their shows, weaving electronic sounds with live rock instrumentation.

As they work on new material, the band said that a central concern is writing music that is meaningful and sonically creative, yet is also accessible to a wide audience and allows for entertaining live performances.

“That’s always the balance you’re trying to strike when you’re writing pop music,” Guesman said. “Writing something that you think is accessible, that people want to listen to, but that also doesn’t compromise your artistic integrity,” he added.

Fortunately, the band noted, they’ve found students at the University to be eager for new experiences and open to new sounds. “There’s an appetite for creativity,” Efstathiou said.

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