Hello Hawk

Members: Jillian Ambrose, vocals; Eric Salczynski, bass; Steve Sonricker, guitar; Emi Thomas, synth; Christopher Thomas, drums

Who we talked to: Ambrose, 19

How did you guys meet/how long have you been performing together? Three-fifths of our members - our drummer, our bassist and our synth player - all went to Purdue University in Indiana. They met there, and they were in another band. After they graduated, they came out here to Pennsylvania and moved to Harrisburg. I don't know why, but they decided to. I am relatively new to the band. I just joined in March. I actually responded to a Craigslist ad. They were looking for a new vocalist because Emi, the synth player . . . was playing synth and singing at the same time and she wanted to . . . just focus on the synthesizer. I went through a round of auditions kind of like "American Idol," except a lot more laid-back and they chose me. We found (another guitarist) through Craigslist who actually moved here from Buffalo, N.Y., after he graduated. They're all super-fun.

Why were you looking for bands on Craigslist? I have grown up here in York. In high school, I was super into the acoustic scene. I used to play, like, solo gigs with Rich King Phil when they were around and Autumn's Rising . . . and Dana Alexandra. I was into that kind of music, but I've always wanted to be into, like, more of a rocking band. I decided to just look at Craigslist. I wasn't expecting anything, and . . . I found them. It was, like, perfect. I really wanted a band that took themselves seriously, but not too seriously. It's really hard to find a band that's looking for female vocalists.

Describe your sound and style. I've asked friends, like, what kind of bands they think we sound like, and a lot of people have said that we sound like The Get Up Kids with a female singer or, because of our synth sound, we sound a lot like Motion City Soundtrack. Other people have said Paramore, even though we're totally different. I think it's just the similarity with the girl singer and that kind of stuff.

What are your influences? We all have, like, a wide (range) of influences. (The band was) really into old Weezer stuff and The Get Up Kids and Saves The Day. I was a little bit younger, so during the time that they were listening to (those bands), I was listening to The Backstreet Boys and *NSYNC and that kind of stuff. I've learned a lot about music through my band.

Have you guys started playing out yet? In the past two months, we've actually been playing out a lot. We played in Philly and New York City a few weekends ago. We played The Champion Ship (in Lemoyne) not too long ago. It's just, like, right now, it's the holiday time (and) because we're from all different parts of the country, it's really hard to book gigs because everyone's going to go home for Christmas and Thanksgiving. Right now, we're actually working on writing more songs and recording demos and that kind of stuff. We're doing an acoustic show at the York Galleria Hot Topic (on Dec. 1).

Have you ever written music with a band before? It's very different from what I've grown used to. Our drummer Christopher . . . actually wrote all of the songs. He comes up with . . . an actual musical progression. Lately, he's been giving me the lyrics. We have a recorded demo and we have these lyrics, so I just have to fit the lyrics into a song and make up the melody. It's really kind of neat how our songs have been forming. I was actually used to just writing songs by myself, so it's a real big struggle working with a group. You have to learn how to compromise. Our drummer Christopher . . . runs a studio based out of Harrisburg, so we get to practice in a real studio and record anytime we want for free. Basically, what we do is we write a song and then we record it and then we release it for free (online).

What sets you guys apart from other local bands? We try to make sure the audience has a bunch of fun, even if we're playing for two people, which we have done in the past. We're big about high-fives. (At) every show that we do, we try to get the audience to get someone around them and high-five them to a beat.

What is a challenge for you? We played at a 21-and-up show (in Baltimore last month), and we just didn't really feel connected (to the audience). We decided a couple weeks ago that we were going to focus on booking only all-ages shows. We're just trying to find any venues regionally.


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