double-breasted

By Bob Gourley | Originally published in 2002
double-breasted

Proving that it’s possible to rock out using harp and cello as the lead instruments, double-breasted perform with a level of intensity and professionalism that makes it seem like they’ve been playing together for years. But in reality, the group has existed for only a few months. Keeping with their quick evolution as a band, double-breasted have already completed a CD, “Angst For The Mammaries” (due out later this summer). The group is comprised of Kristy (harp), Josh (percussion), and Ardith (cello); in the following email interview, the trio tells us a bit about themselves.

(Unless otherwise noted, all questions were answered cooperatively)

How did double-breasted come together initially?

Kristy, Josh, and Ardith met in 1999 in the Music Department of The College of New Jersey. Kristy envisioned a harp-cello-percussion trio, but it took three years before Ardith and Josh caught hold of the dream. Finally in February 2002, Kristy played her first song, “unrequited” for Ardith and Josh. From that moment, the three friends decided to work as a band.

How does it feel to be performing with instrumentation that is unusual for the rock club setting? How has the reaction been?

The reaction has been overwhelmingly positive. We are all proud of our creativity as a group as well as individuals. It is wonderful to know that people besides our relatives are enjoying our music.

Why do you think there aren�t more bands who combine classical instrumentation with rock music?

Well, many bands do use classical instruments; the rock band trend seems to include playing at least one tour with full string backup.

Ardith: I know of many bands whose instrumentation is less than typical, such as Rasputina, Apocalyptica, Madigan Shive, Tiny Lights. We aren’t the first kids on the block to try and make a scene with less than typical instruments]

But if you are referring to the lead instruments, there could be a plethora of answers. The most obvious answer is that more people in general play guitar/bass/keyboards, so of course there will be more bands with those instruments.

Secondly, most classical musicians aren’t willing to bring their instruments into a smoke filled bar [why, we don’t know]

Thirdly, most classical musicians don’t have the support we have found in Andy Gesner. Had he not put his confidence in the three of us, we would still be sitting in the TCNJ music building lounge saying �wouldn’t it be great to have a band?� Andy has given us practice space, self-confidence and aspirations loftier than we would have ever imagined 10 weeks ago. Andy is our biggest fan, and for that we cannot thank him enough.

Are there any particular ways that you find the cello/harp/percussion setup to be challenging and/or advantageous for the type of music that you do?

The biggest challenge is sound replication. We are still trying to find the best way to amplify harp and cello (we are open to all suggestions). You can’t just go into Guitar Store and find the HARP AMP and CELLO AMP section, which makes the process an interminable Quest.

Ardith: In many ways, though, we are simply a punk/rock trio turned sideways with large wooden instruments.

A close second [challenge] is lugging a harp around. Audiences have commented it’s not easy to see Kristy’s face through the harp strings, but Ardith must be on the left and Kristy on the right so they can see each other [otherwise Ardith can’t see Kristy for the harp strings]. That’s a challenge guitar players don’t have.

Josh: But, it’s aesthetically pleasing, visually and aurally. Many people we talk with are interested in seeing double-breasted because we aren’t a typical rock band, which is an advantage of our setup. And whether we like it or not, having two females brings a certain draw [the estrogen dominance could be a challenge for josh, we suppose.

Kristy: josh, what’s it like to play with 2 girls?

Josh: “I like it,but you girls are crazy. You definitely talk a lot]

Our hope is that after the initial shock of seeing us play wears off, the MUSIC will keep people coming to our shows.

What made you decide on the name double-breasted?

Andy {Gesner} made us decide on the name. Kristy wanted to be Lucid Dreams, Ardith suggested double-breasted as a joke. the joke stuck, it seems.

When did the band actually form? How long after double-breasted formed was the first live show?

2 march 2002 was the date of birth for d-b – April we debuted at Maxwell�s in Hoboken, NJ.

How has the way double-breasted has evolved compared to the way you initially envisioned the band?

Kristy dreamt of playing harp in coffeehouses. Ardith wanted to play Maxwell�s. J

Josh: i didn’t think it would get this big this fast”

In terms of songwriting, how do you tend work together as a band? For example, does a particular member tend to do the bulk of the writing, is it totally collaborative, etc.

Our songwriting thus far has been a mixture of individual work by Kristy and Ardith, as well as all three of us writing together. This provides for an interesting dichotomy of songs.

What�s in the future for the band? When can we expect a CD? Any plans for live shows outside of the NJ/NY area?

The future of double-breasted? We are just as curious to know this answer. We just came out of the studio and are anticipating our debut cd release party to be 28 June at Maxwell�s. We hope to see you there!”

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