New York University's independent student newspaper, established in 1973.

Washington Square News

New York University's independent student newspaper, established in 1973.

Washington Square News

New York University's independent student newspaper, established in 1973.

Washington Square News

Q&A: Punchlove on its debut album ‘Channels’

A band of five NYU graduates, Punchlove, released its debut album and is currently going on tour.
Manasa Gudavalli
(Manasa Gudavalli for WSN)

Punchlove, a band of five Steinhardt graduates, is currently on tour for their new album “Channels,” an urban collection of shoegaze and electric indie tracks that showcases intricate track layering and cultivating unique listening experiences. After graduating from the school’s music technology program, the band utilized its production knowledge to put out the debut album.

The band members — comprising Joey Machina, Ethan Williams, Jillian Olesen, Ian Lange-McPherson and Viz Wel — currently live together in a Brooklyn apartment, a space they have effectively turned into their new studio. At the album’s release party on March 1, the band spoke with WSN about the craft behind the album.

This interview has been condensed and edited for clarity. 

WSN: Could you describe your experience going from strangers to bandmates? 

Punchlove: It was very slow. We knew each other for a while before becoming a band. We were strangers only six years ago. Three of us studied abroad together sophomore year and started just jamming in our dorm. Basically, there was a little jam space, a completely different type of music though. Then we got sent home and we started sending each other music.

The group’s journey into adulthood was a large motivator in determining the theme for the album, as they mostly worked on it after graduation. It came together as a whole through dedication and, most importantly, nerding out over the details.

WSN: What was the inspiration behind ‘Channels’?

Punchlove: It does feel like the basement of this house that we live in, which is this old banged up, not-quite brownstone. We needed that time to figure out and get a little comfortable in our adulthood. A lot of that discomfort from the transition from college into adulthood and all that chaos does kind of come through the songs that we wrote. Like ‘Screwdriver’ — some of the ones at the start. They’re a little bit more phonetic. You listen to the top of the album and it’s so claustrophobic.

“Channels” stands on its production rather than its aesthetic, a purposeful choice by Punchlove. As music technology graduates, the band members hyper-focused on intricate track details, often recording one guitar part hundreds of times.

WSN: How did you balance your schoolwork while trying to make the album?

Punchlove: Was there a balance? Sometimes there’s not a balance. This song, ‘Pigeon,’ was the first Punchlove song, basically. We put out an EP and a double single, and some live stuff in between that time, but the actual album is four years in the making just because there were a lot of starts and stops. It didn’t really start until we moved into the house right after graduation. We weren’t really contending with school quite as much because it wasn’t really possible to do what we needed to do. But we definitely lost a lot of school time to do this instead, and we lost a lot of time with this to do school instead.

The “Channels” tour will be playing across the United States in March. In May, Punchlove is scheduled to perform at FOCUS Wales 2024, an international music festival that spotlights emerging talent from across the globe.

WSN: Is there any one particular song that you really enjoy playing live?

Punchlove: ‘Screwdriver’ is always fun. Ever since that song came out, people have been doing mosh pits to it which is always something I’ve wanted to have happen to me at shows that I play. Our friend crowd-surfed — that was the first time anyone’s ever crowd-surfed. ‘Birdsong’ is definitely more of a challenge. It’s kind of the direction we’re going in a little bit more with some of our stuff. It adds another dimension to the live set in a way that is unique to that song, compared to the other ones.

WSN: Do you think having the home studio and that free time helped in completing the album?

Punchlove: We spend so much time together in the basement. We really were just able to spend so much time together and really figure out what we wanted. There were always things that I kind of wish we could’ve done better, but that was not the case with this album. We were able to do things exactly how we wanted to.

The band members say they’re lazy and uncool, but that couldn’t be farther from the truth. Their music demonstrates dedication to their craft. The friends gush over mosh pits in their crowds, and all clamor excitedly when recounting a story about their very first crowd-surfer. As they quietly rise through the ranks of alternative rock and shoegaze, “Channels” is the perfect debut album for Punchlove. It’s honest, grunge and  something the band is genuinely proud of.

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Contact Julia Diorio at [email protected].

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About the Contributors
Julia Diorio
Julia Diorio, Music Editor
Julia Diorio is a sophomore studying journalism at CAS. When not reminiscing about 2000s pop-punk music, she can normally be found drinking copious amounts of Dunkin' iced coffee, curating hyper-specific Spotify playlists or struggling with the NYT crossword. Find her variations of all-black outfits and dog pictures on Instagram @juliadiorio_. Send song suggestions to [email protected].
Manasa Gudavalli
Manasa Gudavalli, Editor-in-Chief
Manasa Gudavalli is a super senior studying a super strange combination of psychology, mathematics, journalism, and chemistry. When they are not editing the Washington Square News, they are probably reading Freud, watching college football, or developing film photos. You can find them on Instagram @manasa.gudavalli and

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