The Roofer’s Union, a new band formed by a group of students at the Clive Davis Institute of Recorded Music, could easily be considered a typical electronic rock band. But what makes the group stand out is the musical aesthetic and atmosphere they create while playing onstage.
The band, which includes Tisch freshmen Travis Tyge (keyboard and vocals), Kevin Walker (drums), Ben Lapidus (bass), Nick Das (sampler) and sophomore Jake Chapman (guitar and backing vocals), plans to release its first double-sided single in late April, and will record its debut album this summer. With their unique songwriting and performance, they have reinvented the way musicians perform on stage. Tyge often pitch-bends and echoes his voice, adding unintuitive drumbeats and guitar riffs which add texture to their music.
“Something I like is the element of surprise,” Tyge said. “When I’m surprised, I’m really satisfied. The thing about pop music is that it’s all predictable. I like suspense.”
The rest of the band finds Tyge’s spontaneity to be his best asset as a musician.
“Sometimes, Travis will literally just start rapping,” Walker added. “There’s definitely nothing that sounds like it.”
Chapman also likes to experiment with novel sounds on stage.
“I make as many weird sounds on the guitar as I can,” Chapman said.
By using a sampler, an instrument that plays previously loaded recordings, The Roofer’s Union adds to their unique stage performances.
The band members share the opinion that there is often a gap between what a band records and what is played live. With Das on the sampler, The Roofer’s Union aims to keep consistency between what is produced and what is conveyed on stage.
“I like making shows a big experience,” Tyge said. “I like to walk away from a show with the feeling that I saw something more. We strive to give people that.”
Tyge had recorded songs before coming to NYU. When he arrived on campus last fall, he found a group of fellow musicians who held the same interest in making the type of music he wanted to create.
“Since I was in Clive Davis, where I’m surrounded by musicians, I found the best [members] and we became a band as opposed to a solo format … we [are] a super tight group,” Tyge said.
Julia Rich, Tisch freshman and band manager of The Roo-fer’s Union, enjoys working with the group because each member is on the same creative wavelength.
“I’ve never been able to work with a band where everyone is on the same page,” Rich said, referring to the creativity and dedication of each member. “Another favorite part is that it’s difficult to classify [the band], which is a really good thing. It makes it difficult to book shows, but [their concerts are] unlike anything.”
Rich and the band work together to bounce ideas off each other easily.
“We go where we’re told to go, we do what we’re told to do,” Walker said of the band’s relationship with Rich. “Travis has the big picture artistically, but Julia has the big picture logistically,” he said.
Tisch freshman Alex Lubars is drawn to the group’s stage presence and enjoys their performances.
“Hanging at the show is like an electro buzz,” Lubars said.
The Roofer’s Union will be playing at The Bitter End (147 Bleecker St.) on March 13.
A version of this article appeared in the Monday, March 4 print edition. Jonathan Keshishoglou is a staff writer. Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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