First Responder, a band of Ohio State students, found home in local following.
Sierra Mollenkopf, a fourth-year in social work, Cameron Carr a fourth-year in journalism, Vikas Munjal, a third-year in public health and Zayn Dweik, a second-year in economics, joined together August 2016 after meeting through local house shows.
“I would say we play noise pop, which is kind of a weird genre but I would say pop because we are kind of sweet as my vocals are light and airy, but then the guitars add fuzz and distortion,” said Mollenkopf, guitarist and lead singer. “The two together create noise pop. It’s really hard to describe your own sound — I don’t really know, we’re just trying to make music.”
The creative process for the group consists of Mollenkopf writing lyrics and then meeting with other band members to compose the accompanying music. Mollenkopf said the band members practice each day on their own and rehearsals are held each Friday in Munjal’s basement where they bounce new ideas, both lyrically and instrumentally, off of one another.
First Responder has released four demo tracks and one EP, with a full-length album in the works.
The band spent a week during winter break playing smaller venues in West Virginia, New Jersey, New York and Pennsylvania, in an effort to grow its fanbase.
“Touring was very different because we didn’t know what to expect. Most of the time we played the same structure of songs, but what made it interesting was the different people every night,” Dweik said. “They don’t know our songs and they don’t really care who we are; they care about our music. So we can count on people who want to be there to hear our music.”
But the majority of the band’s shows are played in Columbus, where Dweik said they can count on a steady fanbase to attend those shows.
“We’re really lucky that we have a lot of people that either like us or like the music that do come to almost every show. ” Dweik said. “We have a wide range of fans that are really good, fun-loving people.”
The band books about four gigs a month. They have become regulars at Kafe Kerouac and Double Happiness, while making appearances at house venues and a show at Newport Music Hall.
“I just feel like Columbus has a really great music community where we can create and make music,” Mollenkopf said. “We are empowered to start something up on our own. Columbus is very inviting in that sense.”
First Responder is set to play Sunday at the Musicians’ Collective annual MCoachella music festival at the RPAC Plaza.
Editor’s note: Cameron Carr is a former Lantern reporter.