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Davis, California

Thursday, April 18, 2024


When seniors Matthew Cool and Saraswathi Subbaraman came together to form Mistlefinger, their musical union was more coincidental than anything else.

“We were at a house party,” said Subbaraman, a Technocultural studies major. “People started jamming, and I started freestyling.”

The result of this impromptu jam session was an electronica-influenced music duo featuring Cool on the guitar and Subbaraman on keyboard and vocals.

Offering an endearing mix of humor, kitsch and charm, Mistlefinger’s music reflects the pair’s dynamic. It’s artsy without being pretentious. Their keyboard-spun tunes – similar to other digitally-based bands like Casiotone for the Painfully Alone and The Fitness – are the products of Subbaraman improvising lyrics as Cool plays around on the guitar. The two use the software program Fruity Loops, a digital audio workstation.

However, both agreed that there was no single influence that could pinpoint the Mistlefinger sound, but Subbaraman provided her own interpretation of the band.

“[It’s] a big, fat, eclectic boner,” Subbaraman said.

Cool, an art studio major, summed it up best.

“It’s like Frank Sinatra – if he was really drunk and with the Ramones and had a keyboard,” Cool said.

As Cool and Subbaraman finish each other’s thoughts and interrupt the other’s sentences, the level of comfort between the old friends is obvious. Like any other group, Mistlefinger, who said their name was inspired from an early Christian Slater film, come with their own interesting back story.

“We started practicing,” Cool began.

“Then there was this gap when Matt and I started dating,” Subbaraman continued. “Then I broke his heart.”

Though Mistlefinger was born out of the ended relationship (they first played together under the name Schizoband), the two remain best friends. Cool added that although he had played in other bands before, it was a matter of finding the right person in terms of compatibility and taste.

“We’ve known each other forever,” he said. “I’ve seen a lot of live music, and I’m always pretty disappointed with at least one thing. I’m excited that we’re going to be in control.”


Rachel Filipinas



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