From Classrooms to Concert Halls

The students of NYU bands Del Water Gap and Cafuné can write midterm papers and navigate Albert, but once in the concert hall, they become crooners on dimly-lit stages. Balancing the work between rigorous academia and stage dives takes a sense of not only management but a drive to pursue musical careers. Ambition pushes these two bands to hit the road to do just that.

On Tour with: Del Water Gap

Del Water Gap
Courtesy of Del Water Gap

Clive Davis Institute for Recorded Music senior Holden Jaffe and his alternative folk group Del Water Gap comprised of Charlie Schlinkert, Will Evans and a rotating roster of guitarists and horn players first toured after meeting as freshmen, turning Jaffe’s high school solo project into reality. With each member being a full-time student, the East Coast tour last fall consisted of driving Schlinkert’s car to shows over the weekend, then returning to the city Monday morning to attend class.

“Touring is the best part, honestly,” Jaffe said. “I think that it is not only the way that you get better as a musician, but it also teaches you something you can’t get from playing venues in New York.”

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In terms of booking, Jaffe took responsibility with a team of friends and small agents. Currently, the band funds its tours from hour-long gigs and merch sales.

For Del Water Gap, touring consists of hours spent listening to the entirety of “The Marshall Mathers” LP on an empty moonlit road and touring small towns, with Jaffe’s favorite tour spot being Burlington, Vermont.

“It was beautiful out,” Jaffe said. “The people were kind and welcoming. They took care of us and we brought them our music.”

The band believes their music is all that they have, and they will figure out the rest together.

On Tour with: Cafuné

Cafune
Courtesy of Cafune

Sedona Schat and Noah Yoo, the creators of the electronic, alt-pop collaboration Cafuné, technically have not been on an actual tour. Since Cafuné’s formation in the summer of 2014, they have been separated by study abroad, recently releasing an EP called “Love Songs for Other People” and playing shows this past winter.

Besides playing in venues such as Baby’s All Right and Shea Stadium, the duo has introduced their music to Yale, Northeastern and Dartmouth — with the last being their favorite show to date where fans seemed to know the lyrics just as well as
the duo.

Despite its electronic sound, Cafuné considers itself a real live band. For this reason, shows have been invaluable, allowing the duo to establish their live sound and energy.

“Playing shows for us is more about the practice than anything else,” Yoo said. “It has actually helped our writing process and production process because we test the songs and create whole new versions from the feedback we have gotten live.”

Considering the time and effort put into setting up out of state shows, playing a show in the city seems easier. Yet their version of touring is buying the cheapest Greyhound bus ticket, carrying a backpack full of clothes, another with electronics, two guitar cases slung on their shoulders, using money from shows as reimbursement and friends as booking agents. Their live shows pay off, with listeners grooving to their music in Canada, Korea and Brazil. Taking their music on the road has proven to be an outlet of greater opportunities and more to come.

A version of this article appeared in the Monday, April 11 print edition. Email Gilchrist Green at [email protected]

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