Q&A with the deli's Band of the Month: Random Variables
by Chrissy Prisco
Deli: How did the band start and where did the band name, Random Variables, come from?
Random Variables: The three of us met in grad school and worked together as teaching assistants. Moreover, we all shared this great lab space in the bowels of our department's building. Through the course of casual conversation, we discovered that we all not only loved rock, but could play it too. So, when our department announced a "Coffeehouse" event, we decided to put something together; mostly covers, but we also wrote a few parody songs about professors, courses, etc.
Of course, we couldn't just be "Three Grad Students Playing Covers and Goofy Songs," so we needed a name. On occasion, we'd actually do some work in this great lab (that doubled as practice space at 2 AM), and one night we were working on some homework involving randomized algorithms. In our delirium, we started the old "this would be a good name for a band" game with the terminology in the assignment, and when we hit on "Random Variables," it just stuck.
After we graduated, we all stuck around the greater New England area and decided to write some serious music. We always discussed a lot of themes about this generation and what it meant to connect, and disconnect, with each other in this day and age. It made writing songs about those ideas much easier.
What are your biggest musical influences?
I think we all count Pink Floyd among our biggest influences, but we also each have distinct tastes and backgrounds (all of which would be impossible to list, obviously, so here are a few):
Jeff: Led Zeppelin, Foo Fighters
Suvesh: The Beatles, Arcade Fire
Jeremy: Arcade Fire, The National, The Doors
What artists (local, national, and/or international) are you currently listening to?
Suvesh: I've spent most of my time listening to Bon Iver, The National, and Black Keys this year. I've also been going through My Bloody Valentine's entire catalog; some of their old stuff is new to me.
Jeremy: I've been spreading myself kinda thin over the last year, but some of the highlights (nationally / internationally) have been PJ Harvey, The Dodos, TV on the Radio, Bon Iver, Fleet Foxes, and The Strokes. Also digging the new Shins and looking forward to more Sigur Rós in the coming year.
On a local scale, one of the first shows we played was with a great group of guys called Day Old Funk. They've got a great sound and even better personnel. Also, thanks to The Deli, I've recently been checking out Night Fruit; truly tremendous stuff.
What's the first concert that you ever attended and first album that you ever bought?
Jeff: The magnificent combination of The Scorpions and Ronnie James Dio. First album was Dookie by Green Day.
Suvesh: I saw a lot of local bands in India, but my first big concert was Metallica. I grew up with some great Indian music, and a lot of 90s rock and pop. The first proper album I got was a greatest hits of Bob Dylan cassette.
Jeremy: It was a long time before I actually bought my first album, but when I did, it was a CD called Monsoon by Caroline's Spine. They were a local band from Tulsa (where I'm originally from), and they were really dynamic, both on record and live. My first concert was Weird Al. What can I say? The man's a consummate entertainer.
What do you love about New England's music scene?
Suvesh: A lot of diversity in genres and a vibrant indie presence.
Jeremy: Basically what Suvesh said, but also, it seems less cutthroat than the stereotypical view one gets when thinking of the music industry at large. Or at least that's how it seems based on who we've met / played with thus far.
What would you like to see change in the local music scene?
An improvement in booking policies at a lot of places, it would help if venue owners were more responsive and more willing to take a chance with new bands.
What are your plans for the upcoming year?
First and foremost, we hope to play as many shows as we possibly can, and we'd like to branch out a bit in terms of venues and locales. In addition, we have tons of material lying around that we'd love to turn into a full-length album in the very near future.
What was your most memorable live show?
Suvesh & Jeff: We played a show at All Asia in December that was chock full of energy, but what really made it stand out was the fact that a Santa pub crawl was taking place at the same time. When we played Distract, the Santas started an ad hoc mosh pit (nothing out of control, but definitely a sight to behold.) It was awesome.
Jeremy: Moshing Santas is obviously great, but I'd also throw in our first "proper" show (i.e. outside of grad school) as truly memorable, not only because it was a watershed moment, but also because it happened to be on April Fools' Day. Incidentally, the one after that was on a Friday the 13th.
Is there someone who has helped your band grow through support?
We have a tremendous group of friends and family who have helped pad our numbers and given us confidence and support beyond our wildest dreams. I'm sure that's true of every band, but it's truly impossible to overstate the impact of such a base of support.
Is there a piece of equipment you couldn't live without and why?
Jeff: Line 6 Floor Pod Multi Effects Pedal. I'd have very limited sounds without it, considering I own one guitar / amp.
Suvesh: My Fender Stratocaster; it's my first electric guitar, and aside from sentimental value, it's certainly gotten the job done.
Jeremy: Nah; if it makes sound, I'll figure out how to turn it into music. Probably...
Why do you read The Deli?
They cover local music with an obvious passion, and they OBVIOUSLY have great taste. Plus, it's great to know what other musicians are doing. Music is an ever evolving, learning process, and it's great to have a resource that affords the opportunity to grow through shared experience.