WORDS: DANIELLE COHEN
IMAGES: TRICIA MERLINO '18
“We don’t really know how we got here,” claims the Facebook page of Sneaky Sugars, a new freshman band consisting mostly of residents of the 4th floor of Clark hall (with a member from one floor down, as well as a Nics guest). As a fellow resident, I interviewed Sneaky Sugars in my own room, where they were practicing since their lead guitar player is my roommate. They told me about pre-show rituals, how they formed, and their plans for the future.
Sneaky Sugars consists of Max Cembalist ’18 on drums, Ryan Guarino ’18 on drums and vocals, Jack Maraghy ’18 on bass, Mira Guth ’18, also on vocals, the aforementioned roommate and lead guitarist Karina Caban ’18.
“We spend four hours spooning,” Ryan jokes when I ask how the group prepares for a show. In reality, they spend these hours moving equipment and carrying out various technical tasks, but they see this time as important, since the group is all together and able to practice a little more to get in sync before the show.
When asked how the band formed, Karina recalls mystically, “It all started with a bond.” It turns out that Jack and Ryan were walking down a street singing the Strokes, and the members of Music for Drunk People (more commonly known as MFDP) joined them, subsequently asking if Jack and Ryan would consider opening for them.
Since their inception, the group has opened for MFDP twice as well as Swipe Right, and this Saturday will be their first time headlining. For these performances, they’ve been doing a combination of covers and original songs, the latter of which are written by Ryan. As Max describes, “Ryan writes lyrics and initial arrangements, and then we all contribute and add our own little licks and styles.”
When they do covers, the band focuses on their arrangement and sticks with what fits their sound. “We’re kind of bare-bones for a rock band,” Max confesses, “so the simpler the arrangement, the better.”
Recently, they’ve been exploring ways to adapt more difficult songs to their arrangement of bass, lead guitar, rhythm guitar, and drums. Mira, their newest member, will allow a lot more freedom in song choice. Not only does she sing, but she plays acoustic guitar and is willing to try keyboard. She and Ryan can also spontaneously harmonize, which will also enhance their live performances.
On Saturday they’ll be playing Vance Joy’s “Riptide,” which was more difficult to adapt than their previous covers given that it involves a lot more instruments than they have.
As they branch out in their music, Sneaky Sugars is still working on defining their own sound – Ryan described it as a combination of Devo and Bob Dylan, but Jack grimaced and the rest of the band voiced their disgust.
“It’s called Sucrose. It’s our new song. Or maybe Glucose,” Karina jokes after a spontaneous beatboxing and drum session between her and Max.
Given the density (or lack thereof) of our walls, the majority of Clark 4 can attest to Sneaky Sugars’ greatness. Their performance Saturday promises an upbeat combination of rock and alternative, with low to moderate levels of sucrose.
Favorite form of sneaky sugars:
Max: Barbecue sauce.
Alternative band Names?
C4, Barack Hussein Obama, Ratmouse…
What is your band's spirit animal?
Jack, Ryan, and Max: THE KIWI!
Jack: It’s a small, flightless bird.
Max: Everyone thinks they’re flightless. The fact is that they’re flightless, BUT they’re probably not…so they’re sneaky.
What is each member's archetypal role in the group?
Max: I think I’m the helicopter mom of the group.
Jack: Hype beast.
What would be Sneaky Sugar's mascot?
Max: Whatever the mascot for diabetes is.