In the first Campus Bands of the year, arts editor Laren Rusin talked with members of The Package on their new recording, the band and life in general. Band members include: Kevin Louis, Nathan Price, Burny Pelsmajer, Jon Arons, Tony Melone, Chris Parrello, Jason Kriveloff, Eben English and Josh Arenburg.
The Package formed at the beginning of last year, during freshman orientation. "We spent the first semester getting shit together and writing tunes. Second semester we spent recording, and we finished [the record] at the end of last year," drummer Josh Arenburg said.
Arenburg lived next to guitarist Chris Parrello, and they decided to form the band. They each knew people who knew people, and eventually they had the people they were looking for.
Most of the members are Conservatory students, except for bassist Jason Kriveloff, Parrello and percussionist Eben English.
Burny Pelsmajer, baritone sax: "It's a wide range of personalities, but we're all really good people,"
Nathan Price, tenor sax: "Right now things are great. It really depends on good chemistry. If someone's falling behind we'll say `hey, fix this' and they will. We're all good friends, and rehearsals are really laid back. It's a really familial atmosphere."
JK: Band dynamics are really good, especially for a big group of people," Practices are fun, sometimes too much fun, but we've managed to find something that works. I think it's a band that's special because not only if you isolate individual talent you've got something in its own right, but you put it together and it's inventive and danceable.
Kevin Louis, trumpet: We're all friends. We all look out for each other. It's more than just a band. It's like a gang. But the band is constantly growing. We're all musicians out of the band as well. By growing individually we improve together.
Tony Melone, keyboardist: We've got a real interesting mix of people. Kevin is a real, well, he's from New Orleans and he's got a lot of influences from there. John's got a real different outlook on everything. Chris is from New York City, and a veteran...
JA: I would say it's funk, essentially. The band is structured like a jazz band, and although nine members may sound like a lot, it's streamlined.
CP: They're mostly original compositions, we do few covers. Burny writes the majority, he's fucking awesome, but so do the bassist [Kriveloff] and Chris [Parrello].
BP: It's not as chaotic as it seems. The tunes are all written out, but we still improvise. There's a lot of input involved, and if someone has something to say, they're not afraid to say it.
NP: Someone will write an arrangement and bring it in. We'll use that as a skeleton to flesh out at rehearsal.
TM: It's a big band. The only danger is that sometimes we try to do too much, try to play too much all the time. We have to thin it out, but we play new tunes all the time.
JK: We come from jazz backgrounds but we're trying to move towards something more accessible. Maybe vocals, maybe a rapper. We might have some people from the audience come up and freestyle [at the record release party at Keep Cottage tonight.]
The album was recorded on April 16 and 17.
CP: It went smoothly, even though different people had different amounts of experience. [Recording] helps us learn our tunes and tighten up. And the horn section had to stand still and not yell for 45 minutes at a time.
BP: It was pretty rad, pretty cool. Recording's a pain in the ass but we're already looking towards another album.
JK: It was fortunate for us to get the time in [the studio] and to find people who knew about it, but as the same time it was sort of a rushed job. One goal for this year is to take the time to make a more polished recording. This did produce our tape, though, which I think for the most part, we're pretty pleased with.
KL: It could have gone better, but most musicians feel that way after they're done.
TM: I'm pretty pleased with it. We did a few different techniques of recording: some is all live, some is done with the rhythm, then the horns. It's got a pretty good sound to it. They were long days. We managed to get it done in a few weeks, but mixing took a while. It never really manages to get that stressful when we're playing though.
CP: We're excited to play. We're sending our tapes away. I think we're getting serious, and we're having a blast.
NP: We weren't mobile last year. We want to play [University of Michigan] Ann Arbor, and gigs in Cleveland. Our setup will work for bigger audiences. It could be a big concert kind of sound. Ultimately, I don't know. We just want to keep on keeping on.
JK: We have high hopes. If we can get consecutive dates scheduled for Winter Term, that'd be a nice thing to do.
TM: We're working on the Winter Term thing. Oberlin students really get into [the music]. To find out where we really stand, we need to take it to a few other places and see the response. Taking it on the road would be a great experience, even if we don't make a lot of money or become famous. Basically, for most of us this is what we want to do. I think this is just another step. It's not so much about making it all of a sudden and then you're stars, but it's gradual. Playing enough so that other musicians know who you are, and gaining recognition in the field. We're going to keep changing things. We have new tunes every time, and a different sound.
Copyright © 1996, The Oberlin Review.
Volume 125, Number 2; September 13, 1996
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