The local indie folk duo Storrs. said that the time they made their first song together, they had a bit of a break down in the back of the member Alex Antunes’ 2005 Pontiac Grand Prix.
“Wow, we just recorded something and it doesn't sound terrible,” Antunes said when recalling the moment.
Member Jake Webber said this first song, named “So Far Above Me,” was a blend of a song he was working on about not being happy with an idea Antunes had for a song about physical and emotional distance.
“We kinda just sat in awe for about 30 minutes just losing our minds at how well those two ideas sounded,” Antunes said.
This song was the beginning of what is now the band Storrs, which is comprised of first-semester classics major Webber and Three Rivers Community College first-semester Antunes.
The two recently released their first EP “Storrs.” on Oct. 16, comprised of five songs that deal with themes of love and loss, distance and change, inspired by what the two were going through at the time.
Webber said he and Antunes have been friends since they met in their freshman art class in high school and had some jam sessions then, but have only recently started making music together officially.
“Over this past summer we jammed again and stuff just clicked,” Webber said.
Webber said he started writing music after his second girlfriend broke up with him in junior year of high school and described it as “emo stuff.”
Antunes said that when he started writing music, it had a “cringey teenage” sound that stemmed from a breakup he was going through sophomore year of high school.
Their trials and tribulations still impact their lyricism on this EP, as Antunes said his lyrics came from getting out of an abusive relationship while also getting kicked out of his house.
He said his experience with overcoming these problems as well as now being in a stable relationship also influenced his lyrics, especially on the first song of the EP, “So Far Above Me.”
Webber said his lyrical inspiration came from the idea of distance.
“Whether that be with someone that you love or with an ideal that you have or just with yourself,” Webber said.
The pair’s musical influences contrast in many ways which helped sophisticate their sound on this EP.
Antunes said he is a big fan of jazz and funk while Webber said he is more inspired by indie folk. They credit alternative rock band Death Cab For Cutie and its frontman Ben Gibbard, which inspired the sound of this EP in particular, for bringing them both together.
Webber said the song “2005 Pontiac Grand Prix,” which was the first song they started working on together, was in a way like a homage to Gibbard and his sound.
The song was also an homage to Antunes’ 2005 Pontiac Grand Prix, where the entire album was recorded because “the car had really good acoustics and studios are very expensive,” Webber said.
Their usual recording spot was a small parking lot on the side of a bridge next to a big field in Coventry, Antunes said.
Webber said the drive to this spot inspired the name for the band as well when after seeing a Storrs farmers market sign, Antunes said “Okay, let's just be Storrs.”
The car also made a guest appearance on the first track when the engine was not turning on.
“Well if it's not gonna turn on we might as well get an audio clip of it,” Webber said retelling the moment.
Webber said troubles with the car also inspired the cover art when one night they were determined to drive to their normal recording spot to finish the album but Antunes’ car would not move, so they went back to Webber’s dorm.
“We were just sitting there kind of dead looking, and I was like ‘This would probably make good album art,’” Webber said.
Another problem arose after releasing the album when they found out how Spotify pays artists.
“I really appreciate music streaming and what its done for the general landscape of the music industry and I really appreciate how its allowed smaller artists to gain widespread exposure,” Antunes said. “However the way that it compensates artists is reprehensible.”
Antunes said that after garnering 2,500 streams, they have made seven dollars so far.
To reach more of a wider audience and to make their band more of viable business, they said they want to work towards performing live in the future.
They are also constantly writing music and lyrics and are currently working on one new song, as well as trying to start a group with their respective girlfriends.
The band is open to all of their options and have many ideas for future ventures (that are mostly jokes) which include creating a rap album called “Jerome Squid and The Boys,” a noise rock album, releasing an album exclusively on cassette and covering “I Miss You” by blink-182.
This trait of not taking themselves too seriously is very charming and inviting to listeners and it shines through in their music.
They are honest with the situation they are in and hardships they have faced and don't try to make it seem any other way, which is refreshing in the indie folk genre, typically rampant with pretentiousness.
It is clear that they are two people passionate about music who want to share their lives with others. The honesty about the issues they face make listeners really identify with them.
“We are working with what we have and it not an aesthetic choice it's more of a matter of a natural drawing factor to people who are like us,” Antunes said.
They know who they are and embrace it, with Antunes describing the band as “sad boi, college indie folk/ acoustic” and Webber adding the word poor to the description because it’s “a very relevant detail.”
With turning breakdowns into cover art, faulty engine audio, simple but not basic production, sincere, candid lyrics, as well as a couple of memes thrown in here and there, Storrs. proves that you don't need the money or resources other artists may have to make a quality, profound project.
All you need is a 13-year-old car, a Vulf-Compressor, resourcefulness and a genuine passion for creating music.
Gladi Suero is a campus correspondent for The Daily Campus. She can be reached via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.