Massachusetts Daily Collegian

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A free and responsible press serving the UMass community since 1890

Massachusetts Daily Collegian

A free and responsible press serving the UMass community since 1890

Massachusetts Daily Collegian

Don’t let these Tricksters fool you

Aaron Noble (Shaina Mishkin/Daily Collegian)
Aaron Noble (Shaina Mishkin/Daily Collegian)

In yet another charmingly grungy Amherst basement, four young musicians work their way downstairs to set up their equipment for practice. Over on one side of the dimly lit room sits an old looking couch with a tiny, fairly in-tune nylon stringed acoustic guitar sitting atop it. Across from the couch is a makeshift practice space filled with unassembled gear, from drums and amps to guitars and pedal boards. The group explains that they haven’t had a chance to put their gear back together since their EP release show, in which they headlined at the Iron Horse in Northampton, a couple of nights prior. Within 10 minutes, The Young Tricksters had their instruments and monitors set up and were playing songs off of their recently released EP “Ripples.”

The band ran through a series of songs ranging from tracks that they wrote long before “Ripples” came out, up to pieces they’ve just started working on. The quiet and dusty basement now filled up with a warm, energetic sound. After a few of the songs they played through, they discuss what changes they’d like to make, or what they like.

The Young Tricksters are a band that aren’t afraid to take their music in all sorts of directions, but that being said, all of their songs share the same consistency. Even from their earliest demos, songs like “Boy Who Cried Wolf” and “Sagittarius” passively bridge the gap between dreamy indie rock and sludgy, riff-heavy music.

Many of The Young Tricksters’ songs can be characterized by their seamless buildup of slow, welcoming vocal harmonies that delve into crunchy and spacey riffing. The self-proclaimed “explorative rock” four-piece is made up of Ryan Severin (guitar, vocals), Jesse French (bass, vocals), Aaron Noble (drums) and Lucas Solorzano (guitar, vocals).

Lucas Soloranzo (Shaina Mishkin/Daily Collegian)
Lucas Solorzano (Shaina Mishkin/Daily Collegian)

The members of the group are all Amherst natives, having grown up and gone to school in town, but this is the first time all four of them have been in a band together.

“Me and Ryan weren’t actually in a band together until this one,” said Noble, “but we knew each other musically pretty well just from jamming. We were both drummers at the time, so we used to do drum battles and stuff.”

“But then we ended up just kind of joining forces the summer after freshman year of college,” said Severin, “And then we were looking around for a bassist for a while, and we got Jesse when we put a little ad up towards the end of sophomore year.”

“We tried out maybe four other bassists or something like that,” said Noble, “But yeah, we just knew with Jesse”

“Fifth one is the charm,” added Solorzano.

A plight seemingly as old as rock music itself, coming up with a band name that sticks can be tricky. Noble and Solorzano talked about coming up with name ideas, playing word scrambles and compiling a list of words they liked, focusing on the word ‘youth.’

“We’d been a band for several months and we still didn’t have a name, so we just decided to compile a list of words we liked, and young and tricksters happened to be there,” said Noble.

When asked where they practice, they all said “down there,” and pointed to the floor, referencing the basement they had just put back together after their Iron Horse show.

“Down in the dungeon,” said French.

“We go through phases where we practice as much as we can, you know, several times a week, but it’s tricky sometimes because we’re all on different schedules,” said Severin.

Ryan Severin (Shaina Mishkin/Daily Collegian)
Ryan Severin (Shaina Mishkin/Daily Collegian)

“But we try to line up our work schedules so we’re out by late afternoon, and usually we can try and practice in the evening. We try to get a few evenings every week,” said French.

“Yeah, that’s the goal,” responded Noble, “Before our Iron Horse show though, the week and a half before we played almost every day because we were like ‘this is important.’”

The Young Tricksters say that they usually play a show each weekend, with a break here and there depending on their schedules and who is around. But, being a locally based band, their shows can range from makeshift basement-venues, to well-known bars in the area.

“Our biggest show in terms of audience was probably the Academy of Music, but I feel like that last Iron Horse show was the biggest symbolically,” said Noble. “You know; EP release, we’re headlining, it’s our show.”

The band’s release show at the Iron Horse seemed like a milestone for them. While they’ve been making a name for themselves around the area over the last year or so, this has certainly been their biggest headlining event. People who’ve known the band members for years, whether in person or just by ear, came out to support and sing-along with the Tricksters on this monumental day.

As for the band’s interests, French explained that he had been listening almost exlsively to Elliot Smith in recent weeks. Severin has been getting back into Queens of the Stone Age, which he explained as a big musical influence for him, and they added that both Radiohead and The Mars Volta have been big influences on the band.

“We all like the Beatles,” added Severin, which French responded, “We do disagree on what Beatles we like though.”

“Right, right, but we all like the later stuff though, right?” asked Severin, and everyone laughed in agreement.

An EP release with an accompanying performance at a well-known local bar is no small feat for a group of musicians. As with every band that is just beginning to gain some recognition, it’s natural to wonder, either as a fan or a band member, what comes next?

Jesse French (Shaina Mishkin/Daily Collegian)
Jesse French (Shaina Mishkin/Daily Collegian)

“I still think there are a lot of sides to us that people haven’t even seen yet. We have so many little pieces and things that aren’t songs yet, but we really hope to do something with them eventually. Some of it is really heavy, some of it is a lot softer and more mellow,” said Noble. “We still haven’t even had a lot of time since the show to talk about it and figure it out.”

“We have to have a band meeting to figure it out or something,” said Severin, and the band nodded.

“Since the EP we’ve already started played a few new songs, we played two new songs at the Iron Horse,” said Solorzano.

It’s not easy for a band to make a name for themselves in the Pioneer Valley, whether they’re a career band or just a group who’s having fun. But one thing is for certain, and that is that The Young Tricksters have done a great job making themselves known to the local scene.

Their most recent EP, “Ripples,” can be downloaded on their Bandcamp page at for $4, and all five songs are up for stream.

Tommy Verdone can be reached at [email protected].

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