Davis psychology professors to perform at annual festival
Fear not: Spring Quarter’s abundance of live music has yet to end. KDVS’ annual festival, Operation Restore Maximum Freedom (ORMF), will bring a variety of local and out-of-town musicians in a style that mimics their DIY motto.
“The festival represents KDVS in that it doesn’t cater to just one audience,” said Mitchell Rotter-Sieren, KDVS’ events director and the primary organizer of the festival. “But we’re also educating people to listen to other styles of music that you don’t hear on the radio, or that you don’t see at live concerts. It’s bringing unfamiliar ears.”
The lineup includes local favorites like Starrsha, Pastel Dream, Vintage Flowers and a group comprised of UC Davis psychology professors known as Here Knows When. But in addition to these Davis-based bands, Rotter-Sieren noted that “Davis locals” unintentionally emerged as a theme of the event; the lead singer of headlining band TV Girl is a Davis native, along with groups like So Much Light and No Vacation.
Though these bands may share Davis as their place of origin, they don’t always share a similar sound.
“TV Girl is an indie-pop band, so some of the bands have that indie-pop sound to them […] But it’s an eclectic sort of mixing pot of genres,” said Rotter-Sieren, who will take over as the radio station’s general manager next year. “There’s dream pop, indie pop, shoegaze. There’s also Dog Party, which is another one of the headliners, who are punk.”
For Rotter-Sieren and fellow festival coordinator J.E. Paguyo, putting together the festival proved to be no easy task. Financing the event especially proved challenging, as KDVS relies on using ticket funds from the festival to pay their performers.
“We have 15 bands, and we have to pay all of them, so we can’t just splurge on one artist,” said Paguyo, a fourth-year mathematics major. “Some other struggles were that some artists bailed, so we had to get new bands.”
For Rotter-Sieren, much of the planning was dependent on finding an appropriate headliner. Only from there could he begin the task of putting together a full lineup.
“Planning for the festival started in November, so we’ve been contact[ing] bands since then,” Rotter-Sieren said. “It wasn’t until January that I found TV Girl. And then once I found an appropriate headliner I started asking other bands that complemented the headliner.”
Of the many talents slated to perform at the festival, local band Here Knows Why proves especially worthy of attendance. The band, comprised of professors in the UC Davis Psychology Department, has a self-defined “space rock” sound.
“We have been together for about a year and a half,” said Charan Ranganath, a guitarist and vocalist for the band. “We are all professors at the Psychology Department, but each of us played in punk, noise and/or indie bands when we were in college and grad school. After many years in the same department, I eventually got around to playing with Jeff and Danielle and when we first played, everything felt right.”
In terms of inspiration, Ranganath noted that each member draws from personal experiences, but the music of the 1980s and ‘90s had a similarly profound experience for each member.
“People sometimes say we’re a ‘shoegaze’ band, because Danielle and I use a lot of effects, because of our overall sound, and because our band name is a reference to My Bloody Valentine,” Ranganath said. “But when we play it’s not like we’re just staring at our feet. It’s intense. I think we’re more of a ‘math rock’ band, in that we do a lot of stuff that is rhythmically odd. There’s definitely elements of post-punk as well. But if I had to pick one tag, I’d have to say ‘Space Rock,’ both terms of our sounds, and the concepts behind the songs.”
Ranganath is also looking forward to hearing fellow Davis band Starrsha, and he acknowledged that there are similarities between the bands’ intentions and sounds.
“Starrsha is another one of the bands on the bill, and we have a mutual admiration thing going,” Ranganath said. “It’s looking like there’s this growing shoegaze scene in Davis.”
Here Knows When, among other talents, will hit the stage(s) at Sudwerk Brewery this Saturday, May 27, with non-stop music from noon to 10 p.m. — including Woodstock’s Pizza and, of course, Sudwerk beer.
Tickets can be purchased online or at the door for $20.
Written by: Ally Overbay — firstname.lastname@example.org