Student band releases first EP

A Yale band that has been playing for almost three years is releasing its first EP this week.

Comprised of four juniors, Nero, My Panda will release an EP entitled “Jokes That Aren’t Jokes” on Thursday. The EP, which features four songs, will be available for a free download on Soundcloud and on the band’s website. The “Jokes That Aren’t Jokes” EP features Elliah Heifetz ’15 as the lead vocalist, Andrew Goble ’15 on drums, Max Gordon ’15 on keyboards and backing vocals and Paul Hinkes ’15 on guitar and backing vocals. Band members interviewed said they are not yet sure whether they will try to reach out to non-Yale audiences, and Goble added that the band is currently focusing on spreading awareness about their work.

“Max and I write the songs together — we sometimes play this game where we pick an object, read off a random phrase on it and on the spot have to write a hook,” Hinkes said. “We take a lot from bands like the Chiffons where not one second is wasted … every piece fits perfectly and there’s nothing excessive about it and everything is just perfectly packaged.”

The band formed in the spring of 2011 as a product of Gordon and Heifetz’s songwriting efforts, networks formed through a cappella, and affiliations within residential colleges. According to Heifetz, the band’s name is derived from a painting in the Yale University Art Gallery known as “Hero and Leander.” The band is more a group of friends playing together rather than a formal project, he added.

Gordon and Heifetz began work on new music this past summer. A performance that summer at the Knitting Factory in Brooklyn, N.Y. crystallized the band’s desire to release an EP, Gordon said, adding that the band began work with Jeff Jones, a New York producer, after members returned to campus in the fall.

Goble said that the songs were mostly recorded in the Baker’s Dozen house with significant reliance on Yale’s Digital Media Center for the Arts. According to Heifetz, the EP maintains the band’s “punky, messy pop song” style. Highlights of the EP include tracks titled “(I Just Wanna) Sleep in My Own Bed” and “Boring in the Night.”

Band members said their music naturally gravitates towards the Yale community, as all four of them are students. They played at Spring Fling in 2013 and advertise their music partly through word of mouth.

“As long as people keep wanting to listen to us we’ll probably still want to keep playing,” Hinkes said.

Will Childs-Klein ’15 said he heard about the band through Facebook, adding that he enjoys the band’s live sound and stage presence. The band has used email and social media to advance their campus presence.

Goble said that he thinks the band is currently not focusing on pursuing shows in New Haven or outside Connecticut — all band members said they do not have concrete plans for the future of Nero, My Panda.

“That’s always been our path — have fun, make good music and let the rest solve itself,” Goble said. “I’ve been in projects before where I’ve thought about the future and it always ends up detracting from the present.”

Following its release on Thursday, the EP will also be available on iTunes and Spotify.

 Correction: Jan. 21

A previous version of this article incorrectly stated that Jeff Jones is a New Haven producer. In fact, he is based in New York. A quote spoken by Paul Hinkes was also mistakenly attributed to Elliah Heifetz.  

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