Sol Spectrum provides a testing ground for Columbus, Ohio, musicians to explore different genres and play with new artists.
The core members of Sol Spectrum — which they call a collective — came together from two separate bands when the members met through classes and clubs at Ohio State. While the members of the collective said they try to incorporate most genres into their sound, it draws heavily from hip hop, soul, jazz and rap.
“I think our goal is to create music that’s genre-less, that doesn’t really feel like it can be placed anywhere. So that kind of helps to create a unique sound as a group, and we always try to play on each others’ strengths,” vocalist and producer Hamzah Khan, a fifth-year in electrical and computer engineering, said.
The core members of Sol Spectrum, alongside Khan, include vocalist Anant Maitra, a fifth-year in electrical and computer engineering; keyboardist Arshad Ahamed, a third-year in physics and political science; producer Locke Wang, a fifth-year in electrical engineering, bassist Tobin Johnson, a fifth-year in philosophy and mathematics; and guitarist Cooper Kleinke, a fourth-year in marketing.
Maitra said many of the collective’s members are also involved in other bands, which allows them to play in a more traditional band dynamic when they’re not active with Sol Spectrum. The collective was formed from 72 Spectrum, which included Wang and Maitra, who merged with SOLANTA, a band Khan started in high school.
Maitra said the collective invited these bands and others around to Columbus to play with them in order to diversify their sound and engage with the music community in the area.
“I’ve always been really interested in taking disparate aspects of life that people live and trying to incorporate that,” Johnson said. “Coming up to Columbus [from Houston, Texas,] and being in just a totally new atmosphere has been fantastic for that, especially because it’s a really budding art city.”
The group, which first played as a collective in 2017, was named Sol Spectrum to shed light on the diversity of people and ideas represented within it, Maitra said.
“We named our group Spectrum to highlight that there’s just so many different people from different cultures, different ideas, different backgrounds just coming in one big collective,” he said.
Every core member in Sol Spectrum is a student at Ohio State, and that can make it difficult to balance music with school, Khan said. However, the members’ close proximity makes it easier for them to be ready to go when someone wants to make music.
“Being students, it’s so easy to just hit up someone and be like, ‘Hey, let’s make a song right now,’ at 1 a.m. We’ll be there, and the fact that we’re so flexible right now, just being at the age we’re at right now, I feel like that also helps so much,” Khan said.
The goal for Sol Spectrum moving forward is to continue incorporating musicians and combining new sounds into the group, Khan said.