Band: Best Nauticals

Members: Ryan Bender, guitar, bass and vocals; Jarik Hieronymus, banjo, drums and vocals; Adam Katora, drums and mandolin; Mike Klahold, trumpet, keyboard and vocals

Who we talked to: Adam, 16

How did you guys meet/how long have you been performing together? Basically, we have a lot of unusual instruments that kind of work together to make a difference for the sound. We did the Dallastown (Area High School) Battle of the Bands (in October) and kind of threw (the group) together. After that, we changed our name to Best Nauticals, and this is really where we're starting out now. Ryan, Mike and I are all juniors at Dallastown high school. Jarik's a grade below us, but we know him from school band.

How did you come up with the name? Two of our friends . . . came up with the name. It was something that they just casually came up with on their own. (They) were using that to refer to each other. We liked it, so it stuck.

How did you get into music? Since sixth grade, (Ryan and I've) been playing music together. We've tried a couple bands . . . but this is the first band that we've got a solid base going and finally have an album ready to release.

Describe your songwriting process. We kind of all share the writing responsibilities. Some of it comes . . . individually when we write a song. Then (with) other songs, we'll just be playing something at a practice and just out of nowhere we'll end up with a couple chords we like. Then, we'll refine it a bit until we have a song that we're happy with. We want to write songs that stand out a bit.

Describe your sound. I'd have to say it's a little bit of everything - some blues, rock, alternative (and) indie. It's not very hard or heavy. It stays more to the acoustic side.

What bands do you like? I guess a couple of bands would be Freelance Whales, The Black Keys and Grizzly Bear.

Like any local bands? We end up meeting a lot of the other local bands, so we have a pretty good idea of what's going on in the local music scene. We've known the band Philosophy for a couple years now. We did the (York Jewish Community Center's) Battle of the Bands last year under a different name. So, this will be our second year playing (there) with them.

What did you learn from last year's battle of the bands experience? I guess just relaxing on stage and having a good time with the music and not worrying about it too much. As long as (we) play our parts well and kind of feel the music, everything will turn out OK.

What did you learn from last year's experience? From years past and since there (are) a lot more Dallastown bands this year than ever before, we know a good majority of the bands playing. One thing I know (that) I'm really excited about this year is there aren't many metal bands playing. I'd say (trying to compare bands from different genres) is a huge challenge for the judges. Everybody has different styles that they like, so I guess in the end it just comes down to personal preference.

Sounds like there is a music burst in Dallastown. What's going on down there? I'm not really sure. Every grade is different. I guess the class of 2012 is just a musical one.

Where are you in the process of making your album? Everything is actually recorded right now. I do all of our own recordings. I have a small studio set up in my basement. Right now, we're in the process of mastering all the tracks, and then we're going to start selling the album on . . . the day of the battle of the bands for $4 a CD. It's six songs, so (it's) more like an EP. So far, this has been the largest project I've had to do. When you're recording, you really find out whether or not you know a song, because you play it back, and if you are playing something wrong it really shows.

What are you guys hoping to do in the next six months? I guess we'd just like to go anywhere that would like to have us play. We're more interested in the music than anything else. If we can make money selling CDs, that's great. But if we can find some small venues to play music at to get people to hear our songs, we'd consider that a good accomplishment.

Do you hope to pursue music in college? I know Mike is (first chair in the District Jazz Band). He's looking to go to school for trumpet and music education. Ryan's interested in going to college for composing and music theory. I'm interested in audio engineering, so we all have a pretty diverse background.



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If you go

Best Nauticals will perform at the Teen Battle of the Bands, which runs 6:30 to 10:30 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 5, at the York Jewish Community Center, 2000 Hollywood Drive, York Township.

Snow date is Feb. 12.

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