Courtesy of 2
New York-based band Friends has one major goal during every live show: to create a community with the audience.
The band will get its chance to bring together a Columbus audience when it performs at Ace of Cups at 8 p.m. Wednesday with indie band Ganglians.
For 23-year-old lead singer Samantha Urbani, creating a community with the audience is important because she wants to break down the traditional barrier between the musicians and the listeners.
“It’s never about intimidation or creating some sort of hierarchal relationship between the audience and the band,” Urbani said.
The band has strived for this since first coming together in September 2010 and playing its first show six days later.
The event was a backyard party at Urbani’s apartment building. Many in attendance knew the band was together for less than a week and were anxious to see what it sounded like, Urbani said.
“We were so anxious to do it,” Urbani said. “I had never been in a band before and as soon as I realized I had something good going on, I was like ‘F—, let’s just do it right now.'”
That “something good” included a repertoire of songs Urbani wrote prior to the formation of the band, which is why they were able to perform so quickly.
“We had a couple songs finished being practiced after the first night, and then we all kind of just felt so good about it that we dropped some of the other things we were doing at the time and focused on it and just practice every night that whole week and on the sixth day, decided to play a show,” Urbani said.
The band’s first show was a success, Urbani said.
“They were impressed, I think,” she said.
Now, just more than a year later, Friends, whose members were friends before forming the band, is still learning how to be compatible with one another.
“We’ve gotten to really mesh with each other and to get familiar with each other musically,” Urbani said.
Some Ohio State students think the band still needs time to cultivate.
Shae Miller, a third-year in psychology, said she doesn’t like the band because its songs sound alike.
Brian Sommers, a fifth-year in computer and science and philosophy, said he’s not a fan of the band because Urbani’s voice annoys him.
“It seems like it belongs in some sort of hipster clothing store or coffee shop,” Sommers said.
Urbani writes the songs more for her than she does anyone else, she said.
“I’m always delighted when people like my songs, but I don’t write them with a sense of awareness like where they’re going to fit in or who’s going to like them,” she said. “A lot of times, (with) the songs I write, I feel like it’s me talking to myself, in a way, which I think is really important for people to do.”
Even though the songs are more for herself, Urbani has goals she said she would like to see the audience achieve with her help.
“I want to influence people to think for themselves … and also to encourage people to connect with each other in a really positive way,” Urbani said. “That’s what I’d like us to do, somehow, in a social context. But as a band, I really just want to make music that I want to play again and again.”