21 Tales of Tastemakers: Erick Serna

by Andrew Phan (Pharmacy), published November 8th 2010

One of my first shows, if not the very first, at Northeastern’s afterHOURS featured The Dear Hunter. While I was losing my voice trying (emphasis on trying) to sing along with Casey Crescenzo’s powerful delivery, my attention was not on the familiar singer on stage (you could say he looks like Zach Galifinakis with a guitar strapped around his back standing behind a Rhodes) but instead was on the tiny guitarist, with a curly mini-fro who simply slayed the audience with not only his technical skill, but with his passion. While Crescenzo commands a large presence on stage with his booming voice, Erick Serna’s finesse plays the ultimate complement, eyes closed and so focused on guitar licks that play through his entire body as he moves with his instrument.

Serna:  The last time we played in AfterHours was probably three years ago. Honestly, every time we played there was always a fun time, whether or not the turnout was good. People over there are so awesome. They’re just so hospitable, the people who actually do come out to shows there. It’s not like most Boston crowds where they’re very ‘€¦ snobby.

TMM: None of the posturing of the hipster scene?

Serna: Totally. It was always so refreshing to play there because people who actually came out to shows came out to have a good time. Not to BE at a show, you know what I mean?

TMM: Exactly. It’s all about the music here.

Serna: That’s something I love about it there.

TMM: Well when student groups like Tastemakers put on a show like Tastemakers Presents: Maps & Atlases, Good Old War and Gypsyblood, we put in a funding request to the university and it’s our one shot that semester. It’s going to be bands we really care about.

Serna: It has to be, honestly. Luckily, especially for that show, those bands mean something and they matter. It goes over well and thankfully there’s a correlation between what you guys care about and what people actually want to hear.

TMM:  What is different about your experience with Tastemakers versus another college publication or a blog or forum such as absolutepunk.net?

Serna: You guys care, that’s the thing. You guys are knowledgeable and you actually care. You just said you were gonna ask me cookie cutter questions, but dude, that’s not really the case, man. You guys keep up with what’s going on and are relevant. I remember we played this college in Hoboken in Jersey and it was us, Envy On The Coast, Good Old War and a few other bands. This was a few years ago. And it’s funny because the dude who walked in to interview all the bands for the school paper or whatever just sat down at the table, a really really nice guy, but you could totally tell he had no idea about what kind of music or place that we all come from. Every band there, I heard him ask the same exact questions to all of us. That’s fine because he’s probably just trying to get a grade for a class, but what’s the point of that? I don’t understand that. If you’re going to take the time to interview someone at least try and kind of be aware of what they’re all about.

TMM: I think, especially for the press coverage of this kind of scene, your audience is going to be someone who really loves the music. So you have to send someone who’s at least a fan. I’m not ever pretending to be a journalist, I’m a pharmacy major’€¦

Serna: Exactly, dude, but you love music. That rivals most people who interviews bands these days. I haven’t done a shit ton of interviews but the ones I have done, I’m just sitting there, smiling, trying to somehow convey this huge project into a genre classification in one sentence or less.

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