Massachusetts Daily Collegian

A free and responsible press serving the UMass community since 1890

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

Artist Profile: Stock Goblin

Meet the members of Stock Goblin
Dylan Nguyễn/Daily Collegian (2023)

On Tuesday, April 11, the Daily Collegian sat down with Stock Goblin, a local band at the University of Massachusetts. They’ve come a long way from their first performance in April 2022 at the Sylvan Snack Bar.

Lead singers Dylan Waters, a junior psychology major, and Ash Finnegan, a junior neuroscience major, met during their freshman year in 2019. Finnegan also plays keys and bass for the band.

Both had decided to take gap years due to the pandemic. When they returned to campus, they met the band’s guitarist David Blair, a sophomore psychology major, during their music appreciation class.

“I saw Ash and David across the way, and I went and sat with them. We were just hanging out one night and we said, ‘We should start a band,’” Waters said. “Ash was playing keys, David was playing guitar and I had been singing for a long time. We pulled these two goobers [Eli Feldman and Eric Klein] in later on.”

Stock Goblin’s favorite venue to perform at is the O’s Music Bar in Sunderland and their favorite song to perform together is “Take Me Out” by Franz Ferdinand. The band’s crowd favorite is their cover of “Kilby Girl” by The Backseat Lovers.

“Kilby Girl crushes every single time we play it, but we have been playing it too much,” Waters said. “We’re rotating it out of our setlist but if we ever get an encore, we’ll just say ‘f**k it’ and play it.”

The band’s name came from the literal stock image that it references. “I had this joke where I would pretend that I saw something really f***ed up on Twitter,” Waters said. “So I would be like, ‘Oh my god,’ and these guys would say, ‘What? What’s going on?’ Then I would say, ‘Oh, I don’t think I can even show you, like, this is really f***ed up.’ They would say, ‘Nah, show us!’ Then I would just keep escalating the situation, and I would show them a stock image of a goblin.”

What musicians do you take inspiration from?

Blair: “For guitar, I really like John Frusciante’s playing style, which is pretty much just Jimi Hendrix’s playing style, which is pretty much just triads and little licks over a triad. In terms of soloing, I like the blues.”

Waters: “A lot of my singing experience comes from doing old-school musical theatre. When we write songs together, we all write individual parts. When it comes to writing melodies and lyrics, I’m a huge fan of Rufus Wainwright, Father John Misty, basically, just artists that have very big musical styles. I write lyrics that are dense. The thing is that there are artists, like singers and songwriters, that inspire me, and I don’t necessarily follow their advice. I don’t have those super-dense or complicated lyrics, but they inspire me to write stuff that I feel really proud of and good about.”

Feldman, the band’s drummer and a senior mechanical engineering major: “As far as stylistically and playing-wise, I would say Steve Lacy, The Internet, Syd, Matt Martians, Thundercat, like that whole side of Bay Area/West Coast people, is super influential to me. Also, a lot of jazz drummers, not that I’m able to play jazz in any high capacity. I could fake it at a high level but not actually play it at a high level. I would also say Steve Gadd is one of my favorite drummers. He knows when to play out and when to lay back. He’s just really good at laying back and not being overbearing in his playing, but he just does the right amount to where it elevates the rest of what’s going on,” Feldman said.

Finnegan: “I was classically trained on piano, so I feel like that’s where a lot of my inner songwriting comes from. Just those longer, jumping-around melodies, like Beethoven and Mozart-type music. In terms of non-classical, I really like rock music in general. I like anything from The Beatles to the Pixies.”

Klein, a guitarist and bassist, also a senior mechanical engineering major: “Classic rock and progressive rock were  basically what I was raised on. Recently, in the last ten years, I’ve been really into funk and jazz, a lot of Joe Dart and Cory Wong specifically. In the last couple of years, I’ve been really into jazz fusion. For Stock Goblin specifically, I’ve really been leaning into British rock, like Radiohead and Arctic Monkeys, it’s a lot of fun to play live. It’s very loud, it’s very dynamic, and I feel like it can really be brought up. In the band, we have very eclectic tastes, but our main goal is to just put on a good show. The end goal is a cohesive and exciting show that people can dance to, and I think British rock really blends itself well to the format we have going on with this band.”

Finding their niche

The band was focused on what students have and haven’t been hearing from bands already. “When we got into the setlist order, I remember we talked a lot about what markets are covered already by bands on campus,” Waters said.

Blair noted, laughing, that Waters is “the ‘stock’ in Stock Goblin.”

“Well, The Baxbys are doing ‘The Strokes’ and ‘The Cure’ thing,” Waters said. “There are also a lot of punk bands. The market of rock, punk, stuff that’s meant for basement and house shows, that’s been done. No one is playing the groove music, like Bill Withers on a set. We love that type of music. Given the instrumentation and flexibility we have as a band, we have so much more potential to play different genres. Generally, we’ve been like, ‘What do we all agree is good music?’ If we all agree that a song is good, it would work well in a show, then we put it in the set.”

“We don’t have a concentrated genre yet and I don’t think we ever will,” Finnegan said.

Waters said that he, “finds it really funny how we have the name ‘goblin’ and we take from so many different genres. Our setlist is like grabbing gold. Our little treasure pile is pretty distinct.”

Stock Goblin finds the UMass music scene, and the bands that embody it, to be supportive. “No one is in competition with each other,” Feldman said. “I dig how a lot of bands are sticking around. I think in a lot of music scenes, bands come and go a little bit, because everyone just has a lot going on with college. I feel like we’ve had a good collection of bands that have stuck around for a couple semesters, which is always a sign of a good, healthy music community.”

The best part of the Amherst music scene? The audience. “I’ve been noticing that the audiences in Amherst have genuine love and appreciation for the music,” Waters said.

Starting a band in college

Feldman wasn’t initially involved in the Amherst music scene, which was struggling to recover from social isolation measures during the fall 2021 semester. He’d go to house shows, eventually befriended the Baxbys and built relationships with other regulars.

“All the people that go to these shows mostly want to play music, write music and be in a band, so I would say getting involved in the music scene by going to shows and befriending the bands when you can is really good,” Feldman said.

Safety concerns

The group noted that their early shows were a mix of people excited about the music scene and those who were entrenched in the campus party culture. They said that many interactions between those groups was like “water and oil.”

“There were the people that wanted to go and listen to live music, for the love of the music, and then there were the people who wanted to listen to live music just to get hammered in a basement and listen to loud bass,” Waters said.

The safety and wellbeing of the crowd is a priority for the band, even during a more casual house show. “We like to give disclaimers and say, ‘If anything happens, if you feel uncomfortable at our show, if you get my attention, we’ll stop this whole f***ing thing and we’ll get you to a safe spot and whoever is making you feel uncomfortable, out of this house,’” Waters said.

Stock Goblin is currently developing original songs that will be released on Spotify The band will be performing at the Sylvan Battle of the Bands on April 14, the O’s Music Bar on April 28 and an Amherst house show on April 19. To find out more about Stock Goblin, you can find their Instagram @stockgoblin.

Paige Hanson can be reached at [email protected].

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    Madeline ReynoldsApr 13, 2023 at 7:49 pm

    slay 🙂 we love a well written article about an amazing band