Saintseneca lead singer and multi-instrumentalist Zac Little — along with his bandmates at the time — came to Ohio State in 2007 to study sculpture. While enrolled, he thought he would go on to become a teacher or professor, but his passion for music led him down a different path.
Now, Little and his folk-rock band Saintseneca are set to celebrate the release of their upcoming album, “Pillars of Na,” with a concert at the Wexner Center for the Arts at 8 p.m. Friday. The concert will be the first stop on their upcoming tour.
“Pillars of Na,” Little said, is a layered album. He said it’s about memories — personal memories of being in the band for 10 years, of living in the city and of times with his friends.
But, the layers run deeper.
“[It’s also] like a much bigger existential idea of what memory means as the collective memory of people in general,” Little said. “The way that we transmit our stories into the future and the way people have done that in the past.”
The band was originally formed by Little and former members Steva Jacobs and Luke Smith in their hometown in southeast Ohio, where Little said they leaned more toward the rock side.
However, after the band moved to Columbus due to its members attending Ohio State, Little said it had to tone down its musical style.
“Given that we couldn’t be loud anymore, we were practicing in my little apartment,” Little said. “We channeled our rock band vibe into something more of a bluegrass band.”
While the group later added violinist Grace Chang to create the first full line-up of Saintseneca, Little said after around four years, the band’s other members moved on from the band. Even so, Little gathered other local and non-local musicians to join.
“As people cycled out, other people joined — Maryn Jones, Steve Ciolek from Sidekicks — and it’s just been sort of been a rotating cast ever since,” Little said. “We got people in Indiana, people in Baltimore, people in Florida, got people in Philadelphia, we’re kind of spread out. [But] I would consider us a Columbus band.”
Lane Czaplinski, director of performing arts at the Wexner Center, said local bands are what the Wexner Center is looking for.
“In moving to Columbus, I’ve been really impressed by the energy of the local music scene, and I feel like that’s really exemplified by Saintseneca and their following,” Czaplinski said.
In terms of Saintseneca’s “record release party,” Czaplinski said he wants students to attend because being at Ohio State and listening to local bands can enrich a student’s experience.
“I hope that there are a lot of artists in the room and even students in the room who end up being inspired by the fact that somebody who lives here is making music and performing it at such a high level,” Czaplinski said.
As for Little, he’s not trying to impart any specific message for those who hear his music. Saintseneca’s frontman said he just hopes it resonates with the people and can project their own experiences into the music.
“The best thing you can hope for is that when you’re making something, is that it’s as a way of cultivating some level of intimacy between people,” Little said.
Tickets for the concert are $12 for students and Wexner Center members and $15 for the general public. They can be purchased at www.wexarts.org.
Hear a sneak peek and live performance of “Frostbiter,” a single off of “Pillar of Na.” Courtesy of Pizzuti Collection: