Editor’s Note: ‘Rock the Quad’ is a new A&E column featuring MC’s student performers. Find a video of the performances on our YouTube channel, mcquad; the video can also be found at the end of this post.
On Friday, Feb. 23, Let Me Ask My Mother, the music project of Kevin Donald and Aedan Roney, put on a 45 minute show for a crowd of 19 people on MC’s campus. I walked into the chapel, towards the little corner where music ministry sets up to find the members of the band setting up for a mini show.
The lights in the chapel were dimmed. Donald hung colorful christmas lights around the microphone stand. A small crowd of friends and strangers alike gathered. After a few tests of the amps and the sound levels, the band was ready to go.
Donald and Roney are both members of the campus’ improv group, Scatterbomb, and the casual, on-the-spot back and forth between the two of them works well not only in comedy, but in music too. They decided the set as they went and asked their audience their opinion on which song they should try out next.
The two guys improved lyrics, guitar solos and drum beats as they went and all but one of the songs they played was original music. Their music, performance style and personalities are laid back and so was the attitude of the crowd.
I sat down with them after their show for a quick interview about the band, their music, future plans and goals.
The Quadrangle: So how did this band come together?
Kevin Donald: These are all songs that I wrote my junior year of high school. I used to play in another band with my friend Greg, who plays in another band called Flycatcher. We had this working set of 12 songs and we each contributed 6 of them and then we stopped playing together so I just had these 6 songs with nothing to do. It was driving me crazy that I wasn’t playing in a band. I met Aedan [Roney] in September and we just started playing and then I just booked a show because I was going crazy not playing these songs I had in the chamber for about five years.
Aedan Roney: Yeah, I came on campus, I auditioned for the improv group [Scatterbomb] which Kevin is a part of and through that we met each other and from there, he found out I played drums, I found out he played a plethora of instruments and he asked me to join him. We jammed a few times and then we just started playing together.
KD: We also opened for Jojo [at Quadchella] – that was pre-Aedan. I played with my old bassist Paul Nero who graduated last semester; we played as Dipsy though, not as Let Me Ask My Mother. Almost immediately after that us 3 started playing shows as Let Me Ask My Mother, and by that I mean 2 shows.
TQ: So is the band you two or you two and Paul?
KD: It’s kinda a changing lineup consistently. Now we’ve been playing with Emmanuel Luzincourt, whose also a freshman and is in pep band. He and Aedan switch on accompanying me on drums, bass and keys.
TQ: How did you guys come up with the name ‘Let Me Ask My Mother’ or is that a securely guarded secretly?
KD: It’s not a guarded secret but I don’t really have a great answer. My friends always like coming up with band names, just someone says something and then it’s like ‘Oh this would be a good band name.’ Then I came up with a different name which was ‘Congrats, Grad,’ and they all liked it and I said, “Okay, well let me ask my mom what she thinks.” I asked my mom what she thought of that one and she said she didn’t like it, but I really liked the phrase “let me ask my mother” so I changed it to that. I mean Dipsy was too Teletubbies.
AR: Too what?
KD: Teletubbies. I mean that is a Teletubby.
AR: It’s better than Twinky-winky.
KD: [Dipsy] is the coolest Teletubby name but it’s still not that good.
TQ: What would you consider your genre of music?
AR: I guess the easiest way to dichotomize would be alternative.
KD: Alternative is my go-to when I don’t want to give a real answer. Some of it’s indie. I used to play a lot of punk when I was in high school but now I’m getting into the shoegazy, pedal stuff, the Mac Demarco-y surf-rock stuff. It’s some blend of that, I don’t really know.
TQ: How do you feel about music life on campus?
KD: I’m a big member of the performing arts here. I’m the president of the jazz band, I’m in the Sergeant Pepper’s class. I do a lot of stuff with the performing arts community proper, with Andy Bauer. As far as DIY things, kids putting on shows or things like that, I feel like there’s not so much going on, especially when I compare the school to something like New Paltz or Rutgers where there’s 6 or 7 basement shows a weekend, like in a night, and you can choose from about 20 different bands to go see. There’s not really a lot of kids, as far as I know, unless I’m just not privy to it, playing music around campus really, as in like night shows.
AR: But on the other hand, as somebody who’s not part of any school affiliated music groups, there are things that students can get into on campus that are music-based, music-related, things like coffee house, which we played earlier this week.
KD: Yeah we played at coffee house.
AR: Coffee house was great because, like Kevin says, if there’s nowhere you feel you can go to play your music and let yourself be heard, coffee house is a great place to see people come together and play music, which we just took advantage of.
KD: Ideally, I feel like just in general in the Bronx there’s not a lot of venues outside of sometimes people put on shows in An Beal [Bocht Cafe] and [Mr.] McGoo’s on Broadway but they’re bars so there’s not a lot of all ages stuff, and I’d like to see more of that. This kinda thing [small campus performances] is a start of that.
TQ: What are your goals?
AR: Five minute mile.
KD: Five minute mile, for both of us.
AR: We want to be the fastest band in the Bronx.
KD: Honestly, I’d really like to just be able to play shows and to maybe record an album.
AR: Yeah, record an album. We really want to play more shows.
KD: I mean some of these songs, some of them I literally wrote when I was a junior in highschool and I’ve just been sitting on them and I really just want people to hear them because my close friends and my family have heard them a thousand times. I just feel like that would be cool. I’m not looking to play MSG or anything.
AR: Performing makes us happy and we think or we hope that it makes the audience happy so if we could just keep doing that, that’s all we can do.
KD: I think an alternative goal would be to get more people doing DIY shows and not even just DIY music but like starting a zine or a music column, things like that to get kind of an art scene around here because I think there’s kinda a vacuum in that area and there’s a lot of people that could fill that.
TQ: Do you have your music available online for people to listen to?
KD: No but we will. I think in the next month or so, we’ll be doing some decent demos and that will probably turn into an EP. We have an instagram which is @letmeaskmymother which is probably the best to go if you were looking to find that kinda thing. Yeah, definitely in the next two months we’ll have things available, is the hope. I’m putting that down on the record so now we have some accountability for that.