TEXTS: ISADORA SCHAPPELL('17), MUSIC EDITOR
PHOTOS: ELIJAH STEVENS ('15), PHOTO EDITOR
Phatrabbit, the four-piece band made up of Josh Bloom, Andrew Rock, Will Dudek and Eli Spector, is the best possible advertisement for the Wesleyan housing lottery. I have to imagine that it was some Japandroids or Modest Mouse obsessed mastermind who thought to put Will, Eli and Andrew together in a Westco triple. A few months into their freshman year, they got together with Josh, an old friend of Eli’s from Jewish summer camp and thus a short lived Frank Ocean cover band was born. When that sound didn’t work out, they turned to writing original songs and are now producing some of the most fun rock music Wesleyan has seen in a long time (If you miss Grand Cousin’s cool guitar riffs and honest lyrics, you’ll love Phatrabbit’s song “Talia and Sasha”).
The real magic of Phatrabbit was on full display at a recent Earth House show, people were dancing wildly and more than a few girls (and boys) looked about ready to throw their underwear on stage. Right now, they are the Wesleyan music scene’s best kept secret but not for long. If you’re anything like me, hearing them once will be enough to make you obsessively listen to their demo recordings on bandcamp. Their music is endearing but not simple. They balance their goofiness with serious skill. They are like One Direction if they told dirty jokes, drank beer and went to your school.
Given the amount of stories they told me during our interview that are not printable, I imagine that being in Phatrabbit is a lot of fun. So here it goes, a few questions with the boys of Phatrabbit:
METHOD: Where does the name Phatrabbit come from?
Will: We were booking the practice space in Usdan and we needed a name so I just wrote Phatrabbit.
METHOD: Seriously no Ludacris connections?
Will: I had never heard the song before, and then Josh started a rumor that my dick was named Phatrabbit and I named the band after my dick.
METHOD: Is that true?
Will: (emphatically) No.
METHOD: How did you guys all meet?
Eli: The three of us, Will, Rock, and I were roommates in a Westco triple. I knew Josh from Jewish summer camp. We went to Israel for five weeks with each other when we were fifteen. We weren’t friends.
Josh: I just knew that once I got to school I should call him so I did.
METHOD: So when did Phatrabbit start?
Josh: We started as a Frank Ocean cover band. We tried playing the songs a couple times. When we first went to the practice room we were just playing “Super Rich Kids” over and over again. And Rock rapped because he didn’t know how to play the bass yet.
Andrew: I still rap.
Eli: Josh was playing guitar on Foss and we discovered how good “Thinking About You” and “Get Lucky” sounded played together.
METHOD: Who writes the songs?
Eli: I was super angsty at specific points last year and I would text Josh giant balls of text of what I was thinking at 4:30 in the morning, way after the night had ended, and he would maybe read them in the morning and respond. Then I wrote the song “4:30”.
METHOD: THAT SONG IS SO CUTE! (They look at me a little freaked out. But whatever, the song IS really cute it starts with the lyrics “It's 4:30 in the morning and I don’t know how to say it but really want to go and kiss you on the mouth’”….)
Josh: I was in the songwriter’s forum last semester and I wrote some stuff that I brought in for us to play together.
Eli: The first time we wrote as a group I wrote lyrics and Josh set them to music and since then we’ve all been writing together in different capacities.
METHOD: In your song “Seventeen” you reference “spitting up in the Taco Bell parking lot”. Who threw up at Taco Bell?
Andrew: Actually, it happened after we wrote the song.
Josh: We wrote the song Seventeen before any of us had thrown up at Taco Bell.
Eli: So we set out to accomplish it. I tried to do the gallon challenge.
METHOD: What’s that? (I felt very uncool for having to ask this)
Eli: You try to drink a gallon of milk in an hour. I half jokingly suggested it and then had to do it.
Josh: We were with Abigail and she drove us. And then we get out of the car and we were walking up the hill and we got to the cemetery behind Westco and it just happened.
Andrew: I have a video.
METHOD: Was it all white?
Eli: Well…it was definitely liquid.
METHOD: Who are Talia and Sasha?
Josh: I work at a summer camp and Talia and Sasha were two of my kids. Talia just had her 14th birthday. Eli works at a similar summer camp and came to visit me over the summer and had a bunch of lyrics he had been writing and I had a bunch of melodies I had been writing. So we sat down and just started to put them together. Being a counselor, the kids follow you around. And these two girls were just like “name the song after us”. So to placate them and make them go away we named the song after them. Now it's the name of the song. It is not about them, nor does it allude to them in any way, that would be so fucked.
METHOD: THAT'S SO CUTE.
Josh: They’d drop a shit if they knew.
METHOD: Who are some of your favorite bands on campus?
Eli: All Caps Ladd. They are so cute.
Josh: I love them so much. Also Lunch Cult,The Murdertones, JDV+, and Rachel Connor’s Picture Show.
Will: Thatcher too.
METHOD: What are your plans for Phatrabbit's future?
Eli: Were looking to start recording better versions of all the songs using Red Feather studio.
Josh: We have seven songs done and seven songs were working on.
METHOD: What are your favorite band practice snacks?
Will: Four Loko.
Eli: We had a period of bringing those into the practice room and stashing them behind amps when the cleaning people walked by.
METHOD: Do you guys get nervous?
Eli: I was nervous for Art House it was really packed and we were playing with cool bands.
Josh: I can’t look at certain people while I'm playing.
Will: Keith is really good to look at.
Josh: Luke is also good.
Andrew: I’m just looking at my guitar.
METHOD: What bands influence you guys?
Will: I listen to a lot of Swearin.
Eli: Modest Mouse has an influence on our sound, also Built to Spill.
Josh: I think that different influences come out in the parts we write, like Eli’s lyrics are influenced by Japandroids. And Alex G influences my parts. And Will’s guitar lines come from The Red Hot Chili Peppers.
METHOD: Are you guys the cutest band on campus?