Feel The Electric Rush With Thrush

(Left to right) Michael Kurtis, Peter Johannes and Jack Schiller playing a gig MICHEAL KURTIS/ COURTESY .

By Karen Flores, Arts and Entertainment Editor

Manhattan College has many rocking bands on campus, including Thrush.

Michael Kurtis, a sophomore computer engineering major, is one of the four members of Thrush. Three of them are MC students, while one member is off-campus. Kurtis is a vocalist and bassist in the band. He has been involved in the performing arts for several years with COVID playing a role in his journey.

“I play bass. I also sing a little bit sometimes,” said Kurtis. “I’ve been singing for about four years. I at one point did have a person who helped me get all the techniques down But I don’t take lessons anymore. I learned to play guitar probably a year after I began singing. Four years of singing and about three years of bass guitar. It was right around COVID that I started doing it as something to pass the time.”

Joining a band had always been an intriguing idea to Kurtis. He recalls meeting his friend Jack Schiller, a sophomore marketing major, and says that their friendship played a big role in the creation of this band.

“I came to Manhattan College and I was just walking around and I bumped into Jack. We had mutual friends and were familiar with each other. It turned out he lived right next door to me. We found out each of us played instruments and the rest was history,” said Kurtis.

Peter Johannes, a junior sound studies major, is the third member of Thrush. He is a vocalist and plays the electric guitar. Johannes spoke fondly about his first encounter with Kurtis.

“I saw him, he was wearing a Nirvana shirt. It’s a musical interest that we share,” Johannes said. “I thought ‘Michael here kind of looks like Nirvana when he has the full beard.’ So I told him that he kind of looked like Nirvana. And then the rest is history.”

Schiller added that the band Nirvana remains one of the band’s favorites.

“We started kind of having Nirvana and grudge music in common. We’d say they are one of our inspirations,” he said.

Johannes told The Quadrangle that he had suggested the name ‘Thrush’ as a joke before joining the band when they were brainstorming band names. His friends loved the name and it stuck with them.

“Before this current lineup existed, we played with our other friends who are musicians themselves and we were trying to come up with a name for a while. I wasn’t even in the band during this period,” said Johannes. “They would just go on for hours throwing ideas for names out there. We kind of gave up on serious band names and one fateful day, me, the person who wasn’t even in the band was like, how about thrush, thinking that they wouldn’t take it seriously at all. And then everyone was like, no, actually, I like that. Jamie is our friend. He was in the original lineup of these guys playing music and he was a big part of why we chose the name.”

When it comes to music composition and songwriting, the trio likes to keep a balance between creating and complementing each other during a jam session.

“We all kind of have our areas of specialty in terms of writing,” Johannes said. “We each have our own little parts. Jack will write the riffs, I’ll write guitar parts that are more chord-based. We will usually come up with an idea for a song by ourselves by doing our small parts and then we just jam with it. It’s a process where anyone can add anything and then the final product is not any one person’s idea.”
Schiller talked a bit about the band’s repertoire and expressed that their music is currently a work in progress.

“We don’t have any music out yet. We’re working on it. We’ve been recording the past few days. Our drummer lives about two hours away from us so it’s a bit cumbersome to go over to his house and record but we have things in the works,” said Schiller.

When asked what genre they would consider the band to be in, Johannes expressed the band’s hope to create music that has yet to be heard.

“I wanted to be in a punk band. But I feel like it’s hard to be in a specific genre. Especially because punk music has been around for decades and we want to do something that hasn’t been done before,” Johannes said. “I feel like a lot of bands and rock musicians are very stuck in the past. And I don’t want to box myself and I want to be able to play whatever we want and not worry about us being a legit part of this scene or genre.”

The members all agreed that they draw inspiration from different artists and point out that when it comes to creating music and listening to music, there are perspectives that come together to form something unique.

“It’s interesting because one thing I’ve noticed is people will ask me lately what’s my favorite thing to listen to. But I don’t know how many months I’ve spent trying to listen to new stuff and just you know, expand, and explore something I’ve never heard before. It can reflect in your music,” said Kurtis.

Thrush has previously performed at MC in Cafe 1853 and has upcoming performances. For more information, follow them on Instagram @thrushband