They came. They saw. They rocked. They whistled. They conquered. On Saturday night, 11 bands of musical warriors emerged on the chaotic battlefield that is Awesomefest, armed to the teeth with MIDI keyboards and Fender Strats.
Several of the bands rose above the fray, earning special distinction. Stephan Stansfield ’13 rocked the keys and the game “Mario Paint” as Birdo—programming via Super Nintendo on the fly, he came away with an honorable mention.
Uranium Club, the most recent project of Sam Lyons ’12 and Casey Feldman ’12, won third place with their “sex jams for dugongs/manatees on codeine.” Littlefoot, comprised of Alex Ginsberg ’14, Jake Ewald ’14, Charlie Kaplan ’14, Emmie Finckel ’14, and Chris Sailor ’15, pumped out a rollicking brand of rock n’ roll, which earned the newcomers a second-place finish, a Japanese fighting fish, and legions of fresh converts.
Yet, in the night’s most slam-dance-happy moment, the aptly named four-man chaos machine Chants triumphed as the evening’s victor. With manic energy and some pretty sweet costumes, muscial heavyweights Will Feinstein ’13, Adrien DeFontaine ’13, Dan Moakley ’13, and Spencer Burnham ’14 churned out hardcore thrashing, staunch anti-plant politics, and some classic Nintendo breakdowns. Supposedly, Mario and Waluigi showed up to the near riot—it wasn’t pretty.
Through the miracles of technology, The Argus sat down with the 2011 Awesomefest champions to reflect upon their victory, the primeval power of chanting, and snagging corporate sponsorships.
Argus: So what are your thoughts on plants?
Spencer Burnham: Fuck ’em. Next question.
Will Feinstein: Can we say “fuck” in The Argus?
A: Congrats on the Awesomefest win—did you guys expect it? Was it ever a goal?
WF: When we were going in, we just wanted to put on a fun, high-energy show. That was the goal and people liked it. We were pleasantly surprised!
A: What do you think did it for you guys?
SB: I think it was the chanting.
Dan Moakley: The chanting definitely was a factor. Maybe some people also weren’t fans of plants. Maybe some shared political views that were expressed.
WF: In all seriousness, the great thing about chanting and the reason the band is all about it, is that chants really bring the crowd together. It’s really easy to sing along if all there is is a chant, and people can get behind that. We thought a band that was just chanting would be easiest to get behind and get really into.
A: What was the impetus behind Chants?
WF: Well, I really wanted an Awesomefest act, and I was talking to Adrien—he was like, “OK, you’re gonna rap?” And I said, “Yeah, I’ll rap.” He’s like “You should rap over White Stripes-type riffs, that would be cool.” Then we just thought, “Let’s not even do that, let’s have those White Stripes riffs, but just chanting. It will be called Chants, because it’s trendy to have a band name that’s just a noun.”
DM: It was a chance encounter.
SB: I’m going to have to stab you now.
DM: Well deserved.
WF: So, per chance, that was the origins of Chants. We got these chodes [gestures to Moakley and Burnham], wait don’t say chodes. These…
SB: In Will’s defense, we are chodes.
A: So for the person who wasn’t at Awesomefest, what is Chants?
DM: There’s loudness… and shouting.
WF: We’re a punky, riffy act, and all the lyrics are chanting. That’s it. That’s Chants.
SB: Can we give them a taste of the lyrics? We have chants such as “We are the fun
WF: “Reprimand a Panda.”
A: Does Adrien have anything to say about the creative process from afar?
Adrien DeFontaine: [Via text Message] I close my eyes and think “What would Danny Sullivan [’13] do?” Seriously though, there’s a formula to Chants songs. What would a hardcore band do? That’s the fast part. What would Jack White do? That’s the half-time part. That’s really it.
A: What are you going to do with the prize money?
WF: If we ever see that money…We’d like to be reimbursed for some of the stuff we bought for Chants—a megaphone, a bouquet of flowers—so if we get any money, maybe that’s the first thing. But then we’re gonna get future props for future Chants shows. We’re kind of a spectacle.
A: What is the ultimate Chants spectacle?
WF: The ultimate Chants spectacle is everyone dressed the same way in the crowd, and we wear whatever we want, so we stand out. What do you think of that?
SB: Or maybe we wear matching outfits different from the crowd?
WF: We kind of expect our fans, which are called Fants, to be part of it. If chanting is all about doing things together, we’d hope they would do something together.
SB: We’d also seek a sponsorship from Fanta—the Fantastic Fants.
DM: There would be a flavor called “Chanta.”
WF: Cherry Fanta is the official soft drink of Chants.
SB: Our goal is to now get sponsored by Fanta.
WF: One of my dream shows is that every member of the audience comes wearing a specific thing.
SB: Or nothing at all.
WF: Actually, we didn’t get to play one of our songs, “Chant II,” or “Second Chants,” if you will. There’s a whole thing in that one about “No Pants, We Are Chants.” Hopefully, we’ll play it at a future show. So, yeah, we like to have fun and do crazy things on stage in costume.
A: What was your favorite part of your set?
WF: My favorite moment was the “This is what democracy looks like.” People got really into that one.
SB: Did people get the “Free Wall Street” one?
WF: I don’t think they did because people were punching each other.
A: What else did you like at Awesomefest?
SB: The Taste.
WF: Littlefoot, formerly Elite Four, absolutely killed it. That was fantastic. They just rocked so hard.
DM: Cum Tissue.
SB: Stephen Stansfield [Birdo] didn’t get the credit he deserved. His set was really cool.
WF: I liked Safety Fist, they went pretty hard, and Laos was pretty funny. I liked Zain’s band, the end of it—not cause it was over, [laughs] the end of their last song was awesome. And the last one—Nice Veins, cause they covered the Misfits.