The alternative music scene at Rowan University has been growing steadily over the past few years, as many aspiring musicians perform at basement shows to an excited crowd of fans. Venues like the Riviera and the Rowan Alt house are common hosts of these shows– and provide a chance for students and other budding musicians to show off their talents.
One such group of musicians, Shark Earrings, recently released their debut EP titled “Mutual Toxic Positivity.” The band is comprised of singer, Sammi Kantor; guitarist, Mike Landolfi; and bassists Joey Hess and Max Adams.
“I messaged [Landolfi] on Instagram because I wanted to reach out to other musicians and somehow, I got really unlucky,” Kantor said. “We started talking and we jammed a little bit and me and Joey [Hess] have been friends since fourth grade.”
After Adams joined, the band started to jam and had their first performance at the Rowan Alternative Music Club’s emo night.
“The beginning of last semester is when things really kicked off,” Landolfi said. “We changed our name to Shark Earrings in March, but the first time this whole band came together was [when] we played the Rowan Alt show Emo Night [on] December 2.”
Modern Baseball is cited as their biggest influence, with other influences being Paramore, Deftones, Joy Division, The Get Up Kids and Ham by the Pound, another local band.
“We did a Modern Baseball set,” Kantor said. “It’s still my favorite show to this date.”
Shark Earrings released their first E.P. entitled “Mutual Toxic Positivity” on Sept. 9. / Photo via Mairéad Young
Shark Earrings’ EP was released on Sept. 9, featuring fun songs like “Team Edward,” “Wake Up Wake Up Wake Up!!!” and “what’d that stain used to be?”
“Mike came in and sent a demo [of Team Edward] and we were like ‘oh this is cool but it needs something,’” Kantor said. “We all got together and added the samba section.”
“I couldn’t think of any vibe and I had Dracula on my desk but I had only read the first three chapters,” said Landolfi, referring to the lyrical development of the song. “So the song is about the first three chapters of Dracula.”
The EP was recorded at Retro City Studios in Philadelphia, a studio known for recording with well-known artists such as Lizzo and Mitski.
“The actual recording of it was exhausting,” Adams said. “The day we left the second recording session, we drove back. We were just in the car together; we didn’t even want to talk.”
The band is now focusing on live performances. They have an upcoming show in New Brunswick on Oct. 28 and are looking to expand their fan base by performing at basement shows all over New Jersey. They also have hopes to break into the Philadelphia scene.
“We really want to grow and make something new,” said Landolfi. “The whole goal is to not be stuck in a box.”
Shark Earrings’ first EP, “Mutual Toxic Positivity,” can be found on Spotify and Apple Music. For updates about the band and announcements regarding performances follow their Instagram @sharkearringsnj.
Shark Earrings’ next performance will be on Oct. 28 in New Brunswick, NJ. / Photo via Mairéad Young
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