Sherdian Ave is the latest band to come into FlipsidePA's Sound Lab. Artists: Lucas Gienow (vocals, guitar) Najee Parker (vocals) Set list: Whiskey and a Love Letter, October Blues, Late Night Decisions Audio engineer: Nate Merrill Filmed Jeremy Long, FlipSidePA.com
We're back with another edition of the Sound Lab, where we highlight local musicians. This month, we're bringing the heat in the Sound Lab, as Annville group Sheridan Ave joined us in the studio.
Let's take a stroll down Sheridan Ave as singer Lucas Gienow tells us all about the group,
Band name: "Sheridan Ave."
Band members: "Lucas Gienow, Najee Parker and Brad Hartman."
Location: "Based out of Annville"
What each member does: "I sing, play guitar and keyboard. Najee plays sax and raps. Brad plays lead guitar.
Meaning of the name: “We got signed to a college record label, and we needed a name to release the album under. Our original name was taken. After brainstorming forever, we decided to go with Sheridan Ave. It’s the street we passed every day on our way to practice.”
When you got started: "My sophomore year, their freshman year in Fall 2013. We met at Lebanon Valley College. I was playing a gig with the former drummer in the band. I found them and asked them to come play with us. Najee was only featured on one song in the first gig we did together, but we enjoyed playing together and got together and practiced.”
Musical influences: “I would say Maroon 5, Chance the Rapper, John Mayer. I think that is one artist for each of us. Brad is Maroon 5, I'm John Mayer and Najee is Chance the Rapper.”
Activities outside of music: “Brad does track. He runs and pole vaults. I’m into sports, too. I played baseball and soccer in college. I play volleyball and snowboard in the winter, too. Najee skateboards when he’s not playing music. I know the least about his social life. Other than hanging out, I guess that’s it. The three of us always hang out together even when we aren’t playing. I'd say we get into trouble, but not too much. We enjoy each other’s company.”
Favorite album: “Oh man. I’d have to say it’s 'Continuum' from John Mayer. The songwriting and style is great. I bought it twice already.”
Favorite song: “It’s hard for me to pick one. If I had to pick one, I guess I would go with 'Gravity' off of that album. Brad really loves this band called Lydia a lot. There's a song from their album 'Devil' that he loves called 'From a Tire Swing.' For Najee, I don’t think he’d hate me if I said his favorite song is 'Favorite Song' by Chance the Rapper featuring Childish Gambino."
Most meaningful song that you’ve written: "Our process is that I come up with an idea, and Najee and I finish the lyrics together. We take a general structure to Brad, and he helps us fine-tune things. The songs start with me, go to me and Najee and then to me, Najee and Brad. The most meaningful song we've written is is 'October Blues.' It's the song that we contributed the most equally to. I couldn’t write it if I wasn’t in the same room as them. It reflects how we were feeling as a group. We split off from the former band mates, we weren’t sure if we wanted to keep playing or not. We wrote that song and it turned out exactly like we wanted it to.”
Claim to fame: “Our song ‘Charlotte.’ It's the one everyone knows and the one everyone is waiting on when we play."
Favorite song to cover: “We became known for our mashups. Brad and I find songs that we are really big fans of, and Najee finds a rap song he likes and adds it. Our favorites are a mashup of Coldplay's 'Fix You' and Childish Gambino's '3005,' which we call 'Fix You in 3005,' and a mash of 'Harder to Breathe' by Maroon 5 and 'Power' by Kanye West.
Number of albums: “We have an EP out called 'Our Love.'"
Where can people find your music: "If you look up our SoundCloud, you can find everything we put out. 'Whiskey in a Love Letter' or the EP can be found on bandcamp or iTunes. Check out SoundCloud first. If you like us, you can support us there. We are on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter at SheridanAveBand."
Focus on singles or albums?: “We struggled to play shows consistently up to this point because we struggled to find musicians to play with us consistently. Our strategy, now that I’m graduated, is to just emulate Jason Mraz. The reason so many labels were attracted to him is because so many people knew all of his songs before he even recorded them, such as 'I'm Yours.' You know who you are as a musician by playing live as much as you can. So many people are recording music and putting it out. Our strategy is to get out in front of people as much as possible and perfect the craft. Once we start drawing a crowd consistency, then we can worry about recording an album again.”
Favorite performance: “We opened for Mike Stud at ValleyFest at LVC. We got to open for him for a crowd of about 500 people. We had a lot of fun, and we sold a lot of CD’s that night. That one really made us feel like a band. We’ve been riding that energy ever since.”
Where do you see yourself in five years: “I’m moving to Nashville in January. I had an internship at a recording studio down there, and I have a job lined up. Brad is moving down when he graduates, and Najee is planning on it, as well. I’ll still be playing, and I know they will be, as well. We’re going to do everything to make sure that it’s us playing together.”
Advice to aspiring musicians: “I would say something that we learned the hard way is don’t try to get to the end result by skipping the steps in between. Don’t think that you’ll write a hit song and have everyone fall in love with you every night. I don’t think a lot of people get it that right. Go and out and play and fix what you have to until you see results.”
Favorite part about performing: “I think it’s the interaction between the crowd and the musician. It’s when something in the music connects to people and they feed energy back into the performer.”
What’s up next for you: “Brad is currently at an internship in Nashville as we speak. Najee is doing his thing, too. We are spread out in the summer. I live 10 minutes from campus and they have one year left. Come fall, we are going to be booking shows and we are trying to work on stuff as we are apart, but we can’t do much now, unfortunately.”