Interview with the boys:
by Gabriela Stern
Q: When/how did you guys first meet?
Jesse Smith: We met in 2000 when we both
were in the 4th grade at the Kennedy
School. We were in different classes, but
we were on the swim team together. At the
time, Tony was going out with my sister
and I remember at one point I was actually
passing notes between them.
Tony Montejano: We didn’t really start
hanging out until 6th grade because the
teacher had arranged seating and she sat
Jesse in front of me.
Q: When did you guys start playing music
Jesse: I already played piano and sang, but
I wasn’t serious about singing at that point.
Between our freshman and sophomore
year (2006) was when we started to play
music together. Tony went away during the
summer and got really interested in guitar.
He came back from camp and asked me,
“Do you want to start a band?” completely
randomly and unexpectedly for me but I
said, “Yeah.” But Tony looked and me and
said, “No, seriously?” and I thought about it
seriously and said “Yes”, for real this time. I
had a guitar chords book for left handed
people, but Tony was a righty so he had to
change the chords to teach himself how to
play. I was going to learn bass at first and
do vocals as well but switched over to
guitar and Tony gave me some lessons.
Tony was playing guitar in the band at the
time and was struggling with vocals. Our
first name was Amplified.
Q: Tell me about some past music projects
you’ve worked on.
Tony: We did other bands like They Call Us
Heroes and The Infantry. We had another
band that never had an official name, but
should have been called The Noise Next
Door if that wasn’t already taken. I also had
a side band at school called The Alians with
a few people from Somerville High School.
Jesse: I was pretty involved with the music
program at SHS, afterschool and chorus
etc. I worked for Teen Empowerment,
playing music with them and working on
the Somerville Peace Conference.
Ryan: I was a member of band called
“Strollin’ With My Saurus”. I have played
alto sax for seven years. I also play in the
Somerville High School band and the jazz
Q: What do you guys have coming up for
the fans? This summer? Next year?
Tony & Jesse: More songs, more
instruments, wider range.
Jesse: Well you know I like to take it day by
Ryan: I want to incorporate some sax and
trumpet into our music, and become more
versatile with instruments.
Why only a two man band?
Tony: We were a two man band for awhile
but in July we got in touch with a friend of
ours. We recently got a new drummer, Ryan
Brum. He's talented, a quick learner, and
we're able to connect with him easily. He's
been able to learn previous songs we’ve
written and we've written about half a dozen
songs together thus far.
Q: How would you describe your sound?
Jesse: We’ve always wondered how to
describe our music. We’ve never been able
to place it in a single genre, our at least I
haven’t. But when we have to choose a
genre, like online, we usually go with
Tony: An original sound that you should
look out for, because we’re bringing the
Ryan: Wide range, including rambunctious
awe inspiring melodies and harmonies,
genre jumping jams and uh…good stuff.
Q: What instruments can we expect to hear
you guys playing? For example, on your
demo that’s coming out soon?
Tony: Guitar (acoustic and electric), vocals,
bass, djembe, and trumpet.
Jesse: Vocals, guitar (electric), djembe,
bass, harmonica, mandolin, and piano.
Ryan: Percussion, vocals, alto saxophone,
ukulele, guitar, bass.
Q: What is your favorite original song?
What does it mean to you?
Jesse: Nomad, because the energy level of
the song is so great. It's a fun song to get
Tony: Take Me Home, because I really like
the arrangement of it. The lyrics mean a lot
to me and I get in this certain mood when
we play it cause of the well written
Ryan: Snow Safari, because it's the first
song we wrote together. They invited me to
join the band and we wrote that song then
Q: Who do you think are your biggest
influences when you write music? (3 major)
Jesse: Art, beauty, and above all things love.
Tony: The Beatles, Local Natives, and
Woodstock 69' for the atmosphere of peace,
love, and music
Ryan: Red Hot Chili Peppers, the doubters
(the people who doubt our music), and the
black sheep (the people who like to stand
out and do things for themselves).