“So, what song do you guys wanna play?” Sean Seaver, A&S ’16, asks the members of Small Talk as they prepare to perform in the dimly lit Lyons Hall recording studio.
The group sets up in a jumble of cords and spontaneous music; it always starts with a light tapping of the drums and soon enough explodes into a full-blown jam.
The band’s singer and keyboardist Zoë Ainsburg arrives in a whirlwind, having run to the studio straight from the Boston College T stop – “The B line is kind of fickle,” says Seaver, a fact all BC students can sympathize with – and it’s only then that I discover BC students are actually a minority in the group.
Ainsburg and the drummer, Chris Southiere, are both juniors at Berklee College of Music, and bass player Adam Dubuc is a senior at the University of Rhode Island.
United by romantic relationship, the random magic of BC housing (Seaver was freshman year hall-mates with bass player Conor Gallagher, CSOM ’16) and most importantly, a web of hometown connections, the group members now commute to rehearse together on the weekends.
After a few takes of recording and endless sarcastic banter – “Maybe you should stop playing the drums so that you can hear when someone’s talking,” Ainsburg jokingly reprimands Southiere – the group is as close to satisfied with today’s performance as they can be.
“We’re getting less bad!” exclaims Seaver. It’s clear that Seaver and the rest of the group are not contented with simply getting through a song. They posses the sense of constructive self-criticism any good band needs to propel itself towards excellence and artistry.
In fact, it seems there is an ever-growing community of similarly committed musicians at BC, playing in a music scene that Seaver describes as being “on the cusp.” Seaver, who will be the next president of The Music Guild (a club which frequently organizes open mic nights for student musicians), has hopes of growing the group and moving its annual “Battle of the Bands” event to Robsham Theater.
The event packed the Vanderslice Cabaret Room this year and Seaver believes the campus musical community is, “just now starting to pop off… because people are recognizing that there are talented musicians.”
Small Talk receives support not just from fans of their music, but Seaver attributes much of their growth and encouragement to other bands on campus that have been instrumental in publicizing Small Talk’s recently released EP.
And should someone dislike the band’s self-described “art indie rock” sound, the secret power of the group’s name, as Dubuc puts it, is that “if anybody says they hate small talk, we can say it’s not about us.” Clever.