At one point or another, everyone dreams of becoming a rock star. The excitement of being on stage, having adoring fans and making music is all part of the appeal of being a musician. For most, this fantasy will remain just that: a fantasy. However, for six fourteen-year-old boys, this dream is a reality.
The local band Awkward Silence consists of bassist Nico Aebischer, guitarist Noah Soderin, pianist Wes Bisheff, singer Aidan Dellinger, drummer Nikita Browne and guitarist Owen Rippens. Like any good origin story, the band started as just a summer dream that with time became a reality.
“Over the summer we spent a couple weeks learning songs and playing a little concert, and we just decided to stick together after that,” Bisheff said.
The six members have long wanted to form a band and have been playing their instruments for even longer. Bisheff has played the piano for nine years, Aebischer has played the bass for two, Browne has been drumming for nine, Soderin has played the guitar for three, Rippens has played guitar for about two and Dellinger has sung for six.
“[Forming the band] has been a running idea for a long time,” Rippens said. “We got the idea in elementary school, and it was going to a band camp that really made it happen.”
Once their talents were recognized and blended together for the band, the next step was choosing a name.
“We chose [Awkward Silence] as a backup in case we were really bad, that way we can say ‘haha awkward silence from the crowd’ when they do not clap or if there is an awkward moment,” Aebischer said. “Plus we are all teenagers and kind of awkward, so it is a perfect name and fits us well.”
After the name was selected, the group began to focus on the music. Playing a wide variety of well-known bands, they got their inspiration from The Doors, Nirvana, Led Zeppelin and The Beatles. With these artists in mind, the group started to create their own setlist of songs they all liked.
“We all go around and each of us picks a song that we try out,” Aebischer said. “If we like how it sounds, we learn it and add it to our setlist.”
Although the process sounds easy enough, the band dedicates their time to perfecting each song.
“We have a pretty streamlined process,” Bisheff said. “I adapt a tab from the internet, and then we print it out for everyone. We usually learn it in about one session, so an hour. If it is more difficult, it will take two, maybe three sessions.”
The members allocate their time to practicing their song selections until they get them just right.
“To master a song, it probably takes us three plus weeks,” Soderin said. “We can get the gist of the song down pretty fast, but then getting it perfect takes a lot longer.”
The group meets once a week in Bisheff’s basement, but they also practice on their own. Scheduling times to meet up has proven to be difficult because they are all balancing the band, school, sports and other extracurriculars. However, despite this, the band is able to practice and even perform from time to time.
According to Dellinger and Browne, Awkward Silence has performed at Liquid Gravity once, the food bank on World Hunger Day and the San Luis Obispo Farmers’ Market twice.
Living the dream, the band revels in each performance. All the time spent practicing and working on their music comes to fruition when they are able to perform in front of a crowd.
“For me, I think it was our first [performance] out in public at Liquid Gravity. We were filling in for Ghost Monster, and it was just a few songs. But it was an amazing feeling to see everybody cheering for us. It was such a new feeling,” Rippens said. “I remember, we all kind of hid around the corner after we played and we were all just shaking because we were so excited.”
When performing, Bisheff said they receive praise from not just strangers, but those closer to them too.
“One of my favorite memories was after our first time playing downtown,” Bisheff said. “I was talking with my friend Peyton who came down to the show, and he said ‘I did not think you guys were very good, I will be honest. But I was about two blocks away when I heard someone playing the drums. I was like no, there is no way that is them.’ Then he came over, and he saw us. It was one of the first praises received from friends.”
For Awkward Silence, it is all about the music and being able to perform together. The band finds joy in their jam sessions and performances, but even beyond simply being bandmates, the members are all friends.
“Music is a really great experience and we are all a closely knit group,” Aebischer said. “We hang out at school, and I think this band really helped us form some bonds and friendships.”