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Portrait of an Artist: Extra Extra

extra extra yardfest
Extra Extra performs at YardFest.

Replying to Ethan J. Fields’ ’22 request on Facebook for band members, Julian A. Miltenberger ‘22, drummer, Rob S. R. Walker ‘22, guitarist, and Benjamin J. Dreier ‘22, bassist, joined Fields, guitarist to form the band Extra Extra. Just this year, Extra Extra publicized presence on campus with a recent YardFest performance. The four freshmens’ plans for their band include releasing their own EP and continuing to perform on and around campus. Three members of Extra Extra sat down with The Harvard Crimson to chat about their newly founded band and their plans for the near future.

The Harvard Crimson: How did your musical endeavor begin?

Ethan J. Fields: Before Extra Extra, we were just little fetuses kicking around, drifting in this empty void. We all played instruments.

Benjamin J. Dreier: I started playing upright bass, like classical music bass, in fourth grade. I played that for a long time until senior year, when I picked up bass guitar.

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EF: I’ve been playing instruments casually all throughout middle school and high school. I always wanted to form a band and dominoes started falling and now it's a Rube Goldberg machine.

Rob S. R. Walker: I started since I was pretty young, my parents took me to piano lessons until I was six and then I picked up some instruments like trumpet, accordion, and then guitar in grade nine.

THC: How did you start Extra Extra?

EF: A while back, during the fall, I just put up a Facebook message looking for people to start a band. Rob and I connected there and then we had been just kind of playing casually with revolving musicians through word of mouth. Then we found Ben, and then Julian just kind of hopped on board.

THC: Have you been recording or performing?

BD: We have been performing places and we had a gig at Yard Fest. We had a gig at the Signet Society a few weeks ago. We're planning on performing next week. As for recording, we have some wisdom plans for that as well. Tentative plans for recording an EP pretty soon.

EF: We're hoping after classes to get together and just do it straight out of the dorm, kind of DIY for the originals that we've been playing live so it should be fun and organic. A nice time to hang with the boys.

THC: Where do you see this progressing at Harvard, beyond Harvard?

EF: Hopefully it's something that we can seriously pursue over the next three years. We're doing concerts around campus, and starting to do more originals and recordings. Then, potentially get into a label or staying independent. That’s something we have to adjust to down the road. We want to play tunes at the end of the day.

THC: How did you feel performing at YardFest?

EF: Pretty good. It was actually so surreal to just get up on stage. Everything is a blur. I could not see past three feet. Bazzi obviously stole the show, so it was tough to just be in his presence. But I think we held our own.

BD: I think it was cool. I think we had really good audience engagement because the kind of music that we play lends itself well like that kind of setting. It gets people bumpin’.

THC: What would you define your kind of music as?

EF: Indie. Whatever that means these days. As long as we’re putting out stuff that sounds original and fresh. We don’t like to stay confined to anything. It's guitar music but who knows, that could change.

THC: Are there any bands or artists that you guys try to emulate in your music?

BD: Car Seat Headrest has a similar vibe.

EF: I really like The 1975, personally. I like their image and that's key these days with social media. We are Car Seat Headrest meets The 1975 meets Weezer meets Smash Mouth. We're kind of in that group. Also, Paul Simon.

THC: How do you think concerts like YardFest are important for student engagement and creating an inclusive space on Harvard’s campus where student artists can perform and show their artistic capabilities? What is the importance of that to you and do you hope to pursue that more in your three years to come?

EF: Yeah, I think it's fantastic, especially with a group like Maybe There's Life because commonly you don't associate hip hop with academia, so it’s shifting the narrative. Creating those spaces, like YardFest, where students can share their art is really cool. Also, there's no stakes and everyone's there just socializing. We need that, otherwise it’s a very high-pressure environment.

THC: What is one sentence or statement that sums up your band?

BD: We

RW: Are

EF: An

BD: Experience

RW: That

EF: You

BD: Will

RW: Adore

EF: Passionately.

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