On Wednesday, May 18th, I had the pleasure of virtually sitting down with The Baxbys: a down-to-earth, passionate, student band heralding from the east coast. Singer/guitarist Alex Nordlund was particularly down-to-earth, as over the duration of the interview he fell off his chair twice.
Meet The Baxbys:
The Baxbys is comprised of four friends: Alex Nordlund (Guitar/Vocals), Chris Sciucco (Drums), James Miller (Lead Guitar), and Spencer Rosenfeld (Bass). Formed in January 2021, the four musicians have found a safe haven from the stressors of academia through making music. Miller is currently studying to be an engineer. He finds a delicate balance between music and academics by solely focusing on school work on the weekdays, and letting himself relax into music on the weekends. Despite this, he said his passion for “music always comes first,” and the band continuously supports him when he sinks too deep into academia. Sciucco, in a self-proclaimed “less-rigorous major,” helps Miller by managing load-ins and setlist planning with his extra time.
The band began almost coincidentally, with Miller and Sciucco scoring the title of roommates through randomized housing. Nordlund and Sciucco were friends from high school, Miller and Rosenfeld sharing a similar backstory. Eventually, the four musicians came together for an impromptu jam session one afternoon, and the rest is Baxby’s history. In fact, Nordlund and Sciucco’s fathers were in a band together in the ’90s with a “pretty trashy,” name: RUEZ? (Nordlund). Together, they settled on the name The Baxbys quickly. Not only is it a fun-sounding word, but Nordlund mentioned a ‘baxby’ sounds similar to a guitar part or a cheesy boyband. Miller said he was simply “sick of thinking of new band names”.
image courtesy of Astghik Dion and The Baxbys
The First EP:
However, they themselves are no cheesy boyband. They describe their sound as psychedelic pop, drawing influences from ’80s new wave and alternative rock of the early 2000s. Miller said they are trying to coin the term “music for flying through space”. This was seconded by Sciucco who explained that the intermix of “space” and “nostalgia” is crucial in his own listening experiences. When asked about their favorite songs on their debut EP Meet the Baxbys, Nordlund instantly answered with “You’ve Got the Wrong Man”. After, Rosenfeld bluntly asked his bandmate, “why?” which Nordlund followed with, “I don’t know, it’s just got that special thing for me.”
“You’ve Got the Wrong Man” has a dreamy instrumental and engaging lyrical storyline. The fun, energetic guitar solo at the end is also worth mentioning. It is an almost auditory ode to Red Hot Chili Peppers’ iconic California guitar sound. The hazy, hallucinogenic track “Stay Trippy Weirdo” grabs the listener by their ears and sends them on a wave of sliding riffs and experimental chorus effects. Furthermore, the Beatlesque “Freedom” displays Nordlund’s smooth vocals and the band’s keen, yet not overpowering, blend of guitar, bass, and drums. Finally, the EP rounds itself out with my personal favorite, the upbeat, alt-rock summer jam: “The Driving Song”.
Songwriting and Inspiration:
Out of curiosity, I asked the Baxbys “what is your favorite album at this moment, barring your own?” Collectively, the four answered Angles by The Strokes almost immediately. After, Nordlund quickly listed off a few favorites including Revolver by the Beatles and My Chemical Romance’s The Black Parade. Also, he (jokingly?) added the Willy Wonka and Pink Panther soundtracks. Sciucco cited the 1975’s electric-pop I Like It When You Sleep, for You Are So Beautiful Yet So Unaware of It as his choice. Nordlund also mentioned the following Radiohead albums: Ok Computer and In Rainbows.
When it comes to songwriting, the Baxbys undertake multiple tactics. First, Rosenfeld explained that the easiest way they write songs is individually. After creating a basic idea, they will come together as a team and offer critiques. They find it best to flesh out a song as a band rather than having one key songwriter or composer. Furthermore, Miller said that in the future he wants the band to be more collaborative off the bat, pushing each member to write a part of the song. Overall, Sciucco was positive about what the summer will bring, the abundance of free time allowing the band to focus solely on music creation and collaboration. However, Nordlund mentioned the easiest way for him to get into a songwriting headspace is to “watch a good movie then sit under a blacklight”. He cites the Harry Potter films as fuel for writing “Stay Trippy Weirdo”.
image courtesy of Sahlia Bayrak and The Baxbys
The first show the band played together was at Rosenfeld’s home in Stamford, CT. Miller called it a “nice little pool party concert,” for their friends in the area. They’ve also played shows in bathrooms, at a student-union-led Battle of the Bands, and at numerous local bars. The first college show they played began outside, but was quickly shut down within 20 minutes of starting. Instead of panicking, they moved the set into their friend’s basement, creating an electric community of sardine-packed college kids ready to jam out to live music. Sciucco mentioned that the energy from the crowd enabled them to play harder and more passionately than they had before. Miller described it as “intense and unreal”.
In fact, the basement show was not only unreal and intense from an audience standpoint, but also from a medical standpoint. When reflecting on favorite memories, the guys all turned to Rosenfeld to explain. “I had a little heart attack playing the last song, we were playing a cover of ‘Reptilia’ [by The Strokes],” he said. Turns out, Rosenfeld unknowingly suffered from Wolff-Parkinson-White syndrome, a congenital heart defect that affects rhythm speed. He finished the show and song with a heart rate of 280 bpm and later went on to get surgery for his condition.
image courtesy of Portteia Davidson and The Baxbys
Beyond the Music:
Aside from band practice and schoolwork, I asked the Baxbys if they had any further hobbies. Rosenfeld answered first, explaining that he often works on restoring vintage Mercedes cars with his family. Miller, the engineering major, joked that Rosenfeld is a better engineer than he. Sciucco had a more difficult time describing his hobby, saying he’s “often finding myself loving to host”. In essence, Sciucco is the hospitality lover of the gang. He enjoys getting the group coffee and making sure everyone is comfortable. Similarly, Miller explained that his second love beyond music is cooking, which according to Rosenfeld is so good that it brings him to tears. Nordlund prefers creative writing, favoring poetry and novels as a way to relax.
Looking Into the Future:
You can catch these fine young gentlemen and their groovy tunes opening for the X Ambassadors in Stamford, CT on July 21st. You can also check out their social media accounts to stay up-to-date on their small northeast Boston-New York tour. They also are excited to take the summer break before jumping into their senior year of college to write, record, and release more music. Looking past college, the Baxbys are unsure where the future will take them. They would love to pursue music professionally. However, they are still working hard to earn their degrees while following their passions simultaneously.