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Columbus’ Own: Noble Vices ripple into the music scene

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Local Columbus band Nobel Vices. Credit: Courtesy of Yuto Toyama

Local Columbus band Nobel Vices. Credit: Courtesy of Yuto Toyama

In an attempt to shine light on local music, The Lantern’s “Columbus’ Own” is a weekly series that will profile a new Columbus band each week.

In 2010, vocalist and guitarist Mark Ferritto put up a flier in Hughes Hall listing his musical influences, looking for a drummer to jam with.

Chris Price responded to the ad. The two hit it off and have been playing together ever since. After their previous band dissolved in October 2014, they decided it would be best to proceed as a duo with “less cooks in the kitchen.”

Having known each other for five years, the duo said collaborating is pretty easy.

“At this point we’ve been playing together so long we can really complement each other,” Price said.

Price had been playing drums in some capacity for a long time, even before he met Ferritto.

“From before I can remember I was hitting on stuff and driving my parents crazy,” he said.

The duo has a theory that people notice either a band’s name, music or artwork first, so they try to garner interest in each. The cover art for the EP, “Ondes,” is a picture of Ferritto’s mother as a child posing by one of the Great Lakes.

“I think her and her family were on a road trip and they just woke her up, which is why she looks so pissed,” Ferritto said. “It’s me and my sister’s favorite picture of our mom.”

In one of the songs, “Who Knows When,” Noble Vices refers to “a house by the Great Lakes.” Ferritto and Price are both from the Columbus area, so the house is more about a state of mind rather than a location.

“The house by the Great Lakes is kind of my situation and a lot of people’s situations where they’re in Ohio. They’re comfortable, but they’re not happy,” he said.  

In naming the band, Ferritto was inspired by a Mark Twain quote: “I haven’t a particle of confidence in a man who has no redeeming petty vices whatsoever.” In the quote, Twain was referring to smoking, but vices are a broader theme in Ferritto’s writing.

“A lot of my writing involves vices or things that hurt you but you still do anyway. It’s not just physical things like drinking or smoking or anything like that, it can be you stay with someone for a while even if you know you’re not good for each other,” he said.

In keeping with the water theme, “Ondes” translates loosely to “calm waters” in French. The word is not in the lyrics of the album, but it was a fitting title, as Ferritto felt that he was in a calmer place upon releasing the EP than he was writing it.

“At the end of 2014, I was going through a breakup, and it didn’t really hit me how bad it was for me until a little later,” Ferritto said.

He said that writing became a therapeutic experience.

Local Columbus band Nobel Vices. Credit: Courtesy of Yuto Toyama

Local Columbus band Nobel Vices. Credit: Courtesy of Yuto Toyama

“I got to write and talk about how I was feeling in a way that I could make sense of everything or at least get it out there so I wasn’t internalizing it all,” he said.

Now Ferritto says that singing the songs inspired by heartbreak is enjoyable, rather than painful.

“Even if it’s kind of a sh—- situation you’re writing about, you’re going to write about it because it’s sparking creativity. It’s more about the catharsis. It’s not that we’re sad, we just like the really emotional stuff, ” he said.

Despite writing about serious topics, the band wants to keep things light in the way it describes itself.

“Not that we’re genre-defining or anything, but there’s got to be a more specific way of describing our sound that we just don’t know,” Price said.

Among shared interests such as oversized sweaters, whittling and breakfast for dinner, Noble Vices listed Fremdschämen, which is a German term used to describe someone who feels embarrassment on behalf of someone else.

“It’s that feeling you get when you watch ‘The Office’ and Michael does something really stupid,” Ferritto said.

Price added, “We love that.”

Noble Vices’ next show will be at 7 p.m. on Nov. 21 at Double Happiness. Admission is $10.

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