NONEWFRIENDS. is sticking together

NONEWFRIENDS. is sticking together

With their growing success, the band reflects on songwriting, their start and what happens after graduation
Published: April 6, 2022
NONEWFRIENDS at Mercury Lounge in New York City
NONEWFRIENDS. opened for Cisco Swank at The Mercury Lounge in New York City on March 16.

Over the past four years, NONEWFRIENDS. has made a name for themselves on the Syracuse University campus and beyond. Their vibey jazz music, overall aesthetic and distinctive personalities are only a few of the reasons the band has exponentially increased their popularity since first playing together freshman year. 

Jackson August, who plays multiple instruments, helps write songs and creates content for the band, shared how he wants people to feel free and like the best version of themselves at a NONEWFRIENDS. performance.

“In the beginning, we were just trying to make an impact on this campus,” August said. “It was about getting people to come to our shows and have a good time. That’s where it started.”

After dropping their newest single “Love Me” last week, the band threw together a show for their loyal fans. Recorded and entertainment industry studies sophomore Liv DuFine recorded the band’s visuals at the performance.

“The fact that they can draw a crowd in 30 degrees, and it was windy and snowing at one point, says a lot about their influence on the campus,” DuFine said. 

Members Elizabeth Stuart, Peter Groppe, Jackson August, Scott Greenblatt and Jack Harrington left students feeling energized and elated after being out in the cold. 

“I was in the front row,” DuFine said. “They performed very well, as always. They don’t disappoint.” 

NONEWFRIENDS at Mercury Lounge in New York City
Jackson August plays multiple instruments, helps write songs and creates content for the band.

Each musician brings something special to this talented group of friends. Greenblatt excels in the band’s cover of Katy Perry’s “Teenage Dream,” while Harrington is always outstanding on the bass and helps out with producing the music behind the scenes.

Their support stretches across the schools at SU, from their fellow Bandier students to the Visual and Performing Arts students. Rufus Sivaroshan, a sophomore and recorded and entertainment industry studies major, has become friends with the band through music.

“They’re a really cool group of friends that care about humanity, and that’s very rare to see,” Sivaroshan said. 

NONEWFRIENDS. offered Sivaroshan a spot at one of their house shows, and the growing artist appreciates the band’s support along his own journey. 

“I thoroughly enjoy working with them,” Sivaroshan said. “Their music is very well produced and well-engineered.”

One of the many unique qualities NONEWFRIENDS. brings to their music is a variety of instruments, including keys, saxophone, guitar, bass and drums. 

“When you have as many live instruments as you do in a NONEWFRIENDS. song, those are incredibly difficult to record and mix, and they do a stellar job all the time,” Sivaroshan said. 

NONEWFRIENDS at Mercury Lounge in New York City

NONEWFRIENDS. will be performing in Los Angeles later this month.

NONEWFRIENDS at Mercury Lounge in New York City

Peter Groppe plays guitar in NONEWFRIENDS.

Their following and growth are attributed largely to the dedication each member gives to their band. 

“I have so much true belief in this music and in this group,” Stuart said. “Even when things get difficult, I still feel this real intuitive sense in me to see it through to the end.” 

August said he has enjoyed the journey and loves how much the SU community supports the band. He said he has never taken it for granted. However, this journey has always had an end goal: August wants to be able to support himself through music. “Until I can do that, job’s not done,” August said. 

“You just have to have blinders on and be focused on your own path. Everyone has their own journey to success,” Stuart said. 

 

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Moving forward, the group has a list of goals they want to accomplish. 

“By the fall we really want to hop on a support tour,” Stuart said. “We want to be opening for larger artists…Whether that’s in the U.S., Europe, (or) both.”

The group recently played the Mercury Lounge in New York City, and is set to perform at Hotel Cafe in Los Angeles this month. Stuart said her favorite part of the show in New York City was playing songs that were so real and raw, and her sister watched her perform live for the first time. 

The artists are also working on increasing their social media following and Spotify monthly listeners. “The goal is the tour, but we have to meet these benchmarks,” August said. The band’s Spotify currently has over 32,000 monthly listeners. 

“As of right now, “we’re all very committed to seeing this through after we graduate,” Stuart said. 

 

NONEWFRIENDS at Mercury Lounge in New York City

When they’re not playing music, Mario Kart or Settlers of Catan, one of the group’s favorite things to do is road trip to Skaneateles. 

“I have this really old, beat-up convertible,” August said. “Now that it’s getting warm, everyone’s like ‘Yo we need to go on a drive.’ It only takes CDs so we burn CDs…That’s a great day.”

“The boundary between work versus chill is blurry…but the thing is we’ve all been very close for a very long time…We’re constantly inspired by each other,” Stuart said, emphasizing how they balance each other out. “It feels like we’re like a superhero team. Everyone has their niche of what they’re into and what they’re good at. Sometimes we’ll divide and conquer.”

Groppe, the lead guitarist, agreed that the friends have found a good equilibrium between working together and living together. “The best part is the collaboration,” he said. “Everyone kind of serves a different role, and I’ve learned a lot from working with everyone else.”

NONEWFRIENDS. songwriting process looks a little different now that they live together. Typically a few members will set aside a couple of hours during the day to make half a song. Then they’ll create a demo and share it with the rest of the band.

“There’s this medium between your brain and piece of paper,” August said. “That’s where the magic happens…In my head, the song was written, but I didn’t know what the words were yet. I think that is so fun.” 

NONEWFRIENDS. always lands back on the simple yet powerful joy of music. “From the beginning, it’s only been about the music,” Stuart said. “I think one of the biggest impacts that we’ve had is allowing people in a safe space to enjoy music and just have fun.”

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is a contributor for The NewsHouse.

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