Playing by Their Own Rules
Six alumni are fulfilling their musical dream with a sound and stage show all their own.
By Carlyn Worthy ’12
In 2009, six college seniors (four students on the music industry studies track, one jazz studies major, and an economics major) united to start a band. When they weren’t performing, they were driven towards activities in their respective fields: studying, practicing, and working to gain as much knowledge about their industries as they could. It was only months after they donned caps and gowns that they decided to pursue their music full time. This collective of Loyola graduates combined wits with talent, creativity, and zeal to inaugurate a melodic jamboree with a mean blue streak. This is the story of The Blue Party.
Meet the Blue Party
Natalie Mae ’09 is a soulful Americana/folk vocalist with a fiddle in tow. She shares lead vocals with guitarist/songwriter Reid Martin ’09. Alex Bachari ’09 plays guitar with George Stathakes ’09 (who also shares vocals and plays the Bouzouki and the Papoose). T. ’09 plays bass guitar (and commands the kitchen in his spare time according to his band mates), and Ross McIntire ’09 plays drums.
The Blue Party sparked a fire in the Loyola community by branding themselves as a house party band. If you provided the venue, they provided a show. The Blue Party played the New Orleans festival circuit, house parties, and local venues for a year before traveling across country with their act. Three years later, the band now celebrates a fan-funded debut album and an audience of thousands spanning the South and Midwest.
“The way we approach our fans is a collective of all our mentalities. At our live shows, we joke around and have a lot of fun. We get the crowd totally riled up and that sticks with people,” T. says.
The Blue Party’s debut album, Too Young, packages everyday life, coming-of-age struggle, and good vibes wrapped in light-hearted vocals. Songs such as “20 Something,” “Come Down To New Orleans,” and “Darlin’” showcase their honest, jovial personalities. Much like the clever biographies you will find on their website (bluepartymusic.com)—six descriptions of what you can find on their perfect burrito—there are no caveats.
“From a lyrical standpoint, I’m not a very flowery, poetic kind of writer by any means. I try to say exactly what I feel…my favorite songwriters are extremely straightforward, so that’s what I model my lyrics after,” Martin says. “All of the tunes are about getting older or just dealing with certain aspects of life that seem relatively simple but when you’re facing them seem a lot more in your face. Whether it’s a simple, fun concept or it’s something serious, I still try to write as straight forward as possible.”
“It’s like you’re young and in your 20s, and all the things that come with getting a little bit older when you’re going from a young adult to an adult, lost love, getting older, or dealing with loss of a family member and where it puts you in the context of your family—that’s what people like to hear,” Bachari says. “That’s what people want from their song writers and that’s why I think he’s a really good song writer.”
“Ameriparty”—A Live Show
Above their charming lyrics and charisma, The Blue Party also boasts a unique design for their live shows. In the absence of a stage, instruments are set up at the heart of the crowd, allowing fans to dive into the pandemonium face first.
“As far as reaching fans and connecting with fans, too, especially playing live, we try to break the divide between band and fan. When you watch a band on stage it’s like, ‘That’s the band,’” Bachari explains while pointing distantly.
This design, a smooth mixture of Americana music and party, is how they garnered their own genre “Ameriparty,” named aptly by a student reporter at Marquette University after attending the traveling party for the first time.
“We try to be a lot more personable than that,” says T. “We try to hang out and have a good time with people. We think of it as people coming together to listen to music because we’re doing the same thing. It’s just that we’re playing it.”
For indie artists, the band has seen major success, but they say they’re just getting started. The band has combined their individual talents to maintain a strong presence online and nationally, but the time has come to build a professional team.
“We delegate amongst ourselves where we can, but we’ve reached a point where we maxed out our capacity in terms of what we can do on our own,” Martin says.
“We’re at a point where we’re looking for managers, labels, and agents. That sort of thing. That’s a process that we’ll be going through for the next year or so, trying to build a team around us,” says Bachari.
The band hopes to be signed relatively soon—or, according to T., be the first band to play in outer space, whichever arrives first—but they want to assure their fans that a record deal won’t change who they are as artists.
“You don’t want to come out with the same stuff all the time, and at some point when we’re doing this full time, we may not want to make Ameriparty music,” says Martin. “But I’ll tell you this: we’re always gonna be fun and we’re always gonna be upbeat. Those are the prerequisites for The Blue Party as a band.”
Carlyn Worthy ’12 (communication) worked as the publications intern for the Office of Marketing and Communications during the spring 2012 semester.
View the complete fall 2012 issue of LOYNO.