Coming Together: The Origin of Contraband!

By, Grace Cardinal, Asst. News Editor

Contraband found their sound on a hot night in Horan Hall in late September 2022. According to sophomore guitar player Matt Regalado, the band would’ve never come together if he hadn’t made the decision to live on campus this year. 

“It was like two in the morning and I couldn’t sleep, so I went to my common room in the night,” Regalado explained.

That same night, sophomore bass player Rob Nolan also showed up in the common room. After talking for a while, the two realized their shared passion for music and even better, their love of The Beatles. 

“We hit it off from there,” said Regalado. “I think that the thing that really helped us to be a band was a lot of overlap in the music that we like.”

Later on, the two found each other on the fifth floor of Thomas Hall. Nolan called up his roommate, sophomore bass player Mark Dusovic, for a jam session, and the rest is history. 

“We call him up and he comes into the room,” Nolan said. “We played “Come Together” [by The Beatles]. We played some original stuff that had just recently been written. You’re never that great when you first jam with people, but by the second practice, we were actually pretty good.” 

The entire band remembered the unique energy the group had while playing together from day one.

“Because it worked, it kind of clicked from the start, which I had never had before,” said Regalado. 

Despite the fact that their musical chemistry was undeniably strong, when the time came to pick out a name, they struggled to find one that would seal the deal for their group. 

“The first real band name that was on the table came when we were jamming one night and I was playing guitar really hard and for so long that my finger started bleeding,” said Regalado. “And, you know, Mark drums, so he sweats. One night apparently, Rob was asleep and Mark heard him say it takes blood sweat and tears. So we were Blood Sweat and Tears for a little bit.”

After three weeks, the group eventually resorted to using a random noun generator to help them brainstorm a permanent name.

“I pulled out my phone,” said Nolan. “I say screw it, I’m pulling out a random noun generator. We’re gonna come up with a name right here, we’re not leaving until we come up with a name. The word we get is ‘contribution’ to which Matt replied ‘F- – – it, let’s be Contraband.’”

One of the band’s fondest memories together comes from one of their first gigs, WRCM’s end-of-semester bash.

“WRCM was awesome because we were confined to a 30-minute set,” said Nolan. “What was really cool about that is that we were able to do all original material which gave us our own unique sound, I think. That’s what made it really awesome to me.” 

Although they’ve only been together for one semester, the band says they’ve learned a lot from each other.

Dusovic said he was surprised at how easy it was to jam with other people when you start to feel the groove. 

“I’ve been in other groups, and I’ve never really felt it like I do now. Even when we come up with new music, it just kind of comes out naturally. That’s probably the best thing,” said drummer Dusovic. 

The band says their great chemistry makes it easier for them to jam out and produce new music.

“When it comes to stuff like this, I think if it’s gonna happen, it’ll happen,” said Regalado. “And I think the group has something really organic, really natural, that isn’t forced or isn’t hard. I think that gives a good environment, not just for creativity or for writing music, but just as a place to blow off steam.”

As for the future, the band is looking to play more gigs locally and is hoping to get into a studio to begin professionally recording their music. 

“As for future things, we have a lot of original material that we’re planning. We’re looking for studios to record in right now,” said Nolan. “We’re in contact with An Beal Bocht, they’re looking at us and we don’t think they’re going to turn us down. We assume we’ll be fine to play there probably some time in the first half of this semester. After that, I think it’s really just about going around The Bronx.”

Follow Contraband on Instagram to keep up with their upcoming events @contra.bandny.