Off the Record

Daniel Kim

Two weeks ago a new band popped up on campus whose three performances all drew big crowds. The band, named Off the Record, is the two-piece project of senior Maya Abramson and Writing Support Specialist Jonas Myers, ’13.

Photo by Nikki Antenucci.
Photo by Nikki Antenucci.

Off the Record sprung out of a previous campus band, Humans Being. When Humans Being disbanded in 2013 after the graduation of many members, Abramson and Myers were two of the only remaining members. They both enjoyed collaborating and felt productive together, so they decided to continue making music as a duo.

“We’re both multi-instrumentalists, so that gives us a flexibility and versatility which keeps things fresh. Maya is just plain fun to play with –– her ear is astonishingly good. We tend to be very productive when we collaborate,” said Myers in an email.

Abramson has been playing violin since elementary school. She also dabbles with the guitar, but violin has always come naturally to her and she continues to practice and improve here at Whitman.

“My dad plays music and both of my brothers play music. I was never really athletic so I needed to figure out something else to do, and I asked my mom if I could play the violin when I was seven,” said Abramson.

Myers‘ instrumental talents include piano playing, which he started at age five, and bass playing, which he started at 12. He has picked up the guitar more recently. Myers loves jazz culture, but he is influenced by all kinds of music.

“I grew up in Seattle playing music with my dad and brother, as well as many friends, in all kinds of settings around Seattle. Music is in my blood and my soul,” said Myers.

Using their wide range of instrumental talents and their history of collaboration, Off the Record aims to produce music in the blues and folk realms. They also continue to add variation and are hoping to build their repertoire of songs.

“Maya and I are pretty folky, though we draw from a lot of traditions. We play some indie rock, some bluegrass, some country, etc. I think as we keep building up our repertoire, you’ll hear even more variety in our music. We are both voracious listeners,” said Myers.

Myers and Abramson play a mix of covers and original songs. Currently they do not have enough originals for a one-hour set, but they are writing more songs for upcoming performances. The two are looking forward to more performances at local venues.

“We played a gig at Sapolil [Cellars] in downtown and we’re hoping to play more there; they want us to play more there. With our old band, we used to play at Marcy’s a lot, so we’ll probably play there again and on top of that we are planning on recording an album in the spring,” said Abramson.

In addition to being a fun collaboration and a chance to write and perform, Off the Record is part of Abramson’s and Myers‘ future musical aspirations. Entering the music industry can be difficult, but this project is giving them experience and an idea of what a career in music would be like.

“I am hoping to perform after college but I know that is really hard, especially when I have to have a job that pays for rent and bills, and music isn’t really a high-paying job, but my ideal life would be to be paid while playing music,” said Abramson.

In terms of goals, Abramson and Myers hope to complete an album of original songs. The album is part of both the project of experiencing the musical world and of continuing to have fun and enjoy themselves.

“Looking ahead, I’m most excited for our album. Having a high-quality recording of original music will be a new milestone for me, and an important one at that, if I’m hoping to be a bona fide professional musician some day,” said Myers.