Bates Student: I’m here with Sabattus. Well, three-quarters of Sabattus. Would you guys like to introduce yourselves?
Will Reber ‘16: Well I’m Will. My identity has been revealed. I’m the keyboardist of this group, and occasional guitarist. And I sing but I really shouldn’t.
Ben Cuba ‘16: My name is Ben Cuba and I’m the drummer for Sabattus.
Gabe Mizrachi ‘16: I’m Gabe. I play guitar and sing sometimes.
Bates Student: And we’re missing—
Will Reber: Porter Harrast (’16), who plays bass.
Bates Student: So, when did you guys start?
WR: Well, Gabe and I had a music class together sophomore year. Music theory 3? And we met for lunch after class for fun and Gabe randomly said ‘Hey, you play keyboard, right? Want to start a band?’ We jammed for about 3 sessions and then we were desperately looking for other members. We felt like everyone had been taken into other bands at this point. Then, someone recommended Porter, who we sort of knew, and he said ‘I don’t really play bass much,’ and we said ‘Perfect, join us, we need anybody.’ He ended up being quite good. Then Ben took pity on us and started drumming for us and ended up liking it.
BC: No, they needed a drummer, and I wanted to try out something new, in addition to playing for Hired [Help]. I helped them pass out flyers, and they couldn’t find anybody, so I just said I’d do it.
BS: What kind of stuff do you play? Originals? Covers?
WR: Mostly covers, one original, possibly more coming.
BS: What is it called?
WR: It’s called “Ivory.” And it’s about getting a song stuck in your head.
BS: Sounds meta.
WR: Lyrics by Porter Harrast. I helped him pick out the chords, so I can take a little bit of the credit. But really it’s his song. I wrote the bridge. But yeah, mostly covers. We play a lot of stuff that Phish covers.
BS: Not Phish originals, but songs that Phish covered?
WR: We figured they have a good sense of what to do, and we try to throw something new in every show to keep it interesting – hopefully something no one has heard before.
BC: I have some more originals along the way for Sabattus. I hope that they enjoy them.
WR: I have a song with no melody or lyrics, but it is a song so….
BS: Do you guys remember your very first gig?
BC: For Sabattus?
WR: No one danced.
BS: Where was it?
WR: It was in the Little Room. It was on Yom Kippur.
BC: No it wasn’t.
WR: Yeah it was. It was on a Jewish holiday because Gabe technically shouldn’t have been there.
GM: I know, I know.
BC: Wait really?
GM: I had a very long-winded conversation with my parents on the phone as to whether I should perform at a rock concert on Yom Kippur, which is probably the most solemn Jewish holiday (laughter). It’s not like a sad one where you have to atone for your sins and everything, but [the performance] was not really in the mood of the holiday.
BC: We were totally opening for someone—
WR: We were opening for Eagle Stick, who opened for Hired Help.
BC: Yeah, you’re right. It was us playing first, and then Eagle Stick, and then Hired.
WR: I believe our interviewer was in attendance that night.
BS: I believe I was there.
WR: So you can offer your own opinion there.
BS: It was a good show.
BC: But I think when we played for the dance club, Wind Down Wednesday, I think that’s when we finally said ‘Oh yeah we can do this—’
WR: We had people dancing; we got an encore.
BC: We played all of the songs that we knew at the time.
BS: Which was how many?
GM: We played “Killing in the Name”
WR: It was like seven, I think. “Killing in the Name” was the eighth. We hadn’t really practiced much, but people were saying “encore encore,” and who is to prevent our fans from getting the best of Sabattus? So we said ‘Okay, you may hate this, but we’re gonna play it—’
BC: No, I think Gabe’s exact words were ‘You might hate this.’ (laughter).
WR: And the rest is history. I sang it, embarrassingly enough, and that was fun. And we closed the show by saying ‘We literally have no more songs, we’re really drained of material.’ That was a good gig.
BC: And it shows you that we’ve been fighting, because after that we had the diagonal Old Commons gig—
WR: Which was terrible. People were just sitting in chairs—
GM: It was really weird.
WR: Diagonal stage so they weren’t really facing us. This was Arts Crawl. Lights were fully on, everyone was sitting. The Good Luck Gentlemen had just played and they were really good. And we played and we botched a song. We only played three songs, we were supposed to play four.
GM: It was too intense. We played “Walk Away” which was way too much for the crowd.
BC: But after that we played White House and Block Party. We had fun.
BS: My last question for you guys is: what are your plans for this year, your senior year?
WR: More originals.
BC: I think we all want to expand our knowledge on our given instruments. Really want to contribute to the music scene as much as we can.
WR: I personally would like to play in some restaurants or bars. Experience some scenes outside of campus, see where that goes.
BC: More basements.
GM: I’d like to produce an album in Swahili, actually (laughter).