Vern Matz, an indie rock band of Yalies — Daniel Belgrad ’18, Michael Lituchy ’18 and Noah Silvestry ’19 — will release its debut single, “Trampolines,” on Nov. 13.
Belgrad is the lead singer and guitarist, Lituchy plays the piano and Silvestry drums it out. Acoustic guitar and piano lead the track, but the song includes chopped-up vocals, reversed drums and a string section. “Trampolines” will be available on Spotify and iTunes, and Vern Matz will begin playing the song at all of its performances.
“We just wanted to fit everything we possibly could into the song,” Belgrad said. “We were like kids in a candy store. A lot of material was improvised because we had no idea what was going on. It was great.”
According to Silvestry, “Trampolines” addresses questions of nostalgia and stagnation without becoming overly morose. The first part of the song is catchier, he said, while the latter part is experimental, with frequent meter changes and interspersed noise effects. The band prioritized the quality of the music, rather than mainstream appeal.
“We were hesitant to release this song as the first single because it is a bit daring and doesn’t have the most marketable form,” Lituchy said. “For whatever reason, though, it still seems like a natural starting place.”
Belgrad came up with the verse for “Trampolines” as a child and showed it to Lituchy two years ago. Lituchy said the band began to revise the song last fall, when he realized that the verse was stuck in his head.
The “bones” of the song came from Belgrad and Lituchy, as is the case with most of the band’s songs, Silvestry said. Belgrad and Lituchy composed the chorus, while Silvestry wrote the string and drum parts.
After settling on the structure, Silvestry said, the band intentionally left parts of the song open for experimentation in the studio. Matt Poirier, the band’s engineer and producer, encouraged Belgrad to improvise on the electric guitar, which Poirier sped up, reversed and interspersed throughout the song. The song also includes reversed tracks of Silvestry’s drum parts.
Although the song hasn’t officially been released, the band members have shared it with some of their closest friends. Silvestry said his friends responded with positive reviews, adding that one friend was “on the verge of tears.”
Belgrad, Lituchy and Silvestry have been working together for three years. Belgrad told the News that they organized the band during his sophomore year, when he met Lituchy at a party.
“[Lituchy] drunkenly pulled me aside and started rambling about Radiohead,” said Belgrad. “I guess that was good enough for me.”
A few weeks later, Lituchy introduced Belgrad to Silvestry, who was a first year at the time. Belgrad said he was particularly impressed that Silvestry knew all the drum parts to Wilco’s album “Yankee Hotel Foxtrot.”
Soon, the three started writing and playing songs together and calling themselves The Theologians.
Lituchy said that the band renamed itself to Vern Matz and became much more serious in the fall of 2016, when it started composing and recording as often as possible. Belgrad, Lituchy and Silvestry also took Yale’s “Fundamentals of Music Technology” course together.
Since then, the band has performed in many on- and off-campus events. For example, Vern Matz opened for the Yale Symphony Orchestra Halloween show on Oct. 31. The band often plays at indie venues in New York City, including the Bowery Electric and Pianos.
“We’ve gotten some great responses, but we’ve also played to a few near-empty rooms, which can be disheartening,” Silvestry said. “But at the same time, as a new, young band, you’ve got to pay your dues to an extent.”
According to Belgrad, long drives to concerts and studios can also be frustrating. The band travels to New York City often but would prefer to perform in New Haven. Last year, the band frequently drove to Miner Street Recordings studio in Pennsylvania, returning to campus after midnight to start schoolwork.
Still, the band enjoys the work and plays as many concerts as possible. “There’s a certain type of fun in the absurdity,” Silvestry said.
The band will be opening for Tokyo Police Club at Outer Space in Hamden on Dec. 7. They are also considering performing at other Ivy League universities, such as Brown and Princeton.
Vern Matz plans to release its first extended play record in January. If the EP gets a positive reception, the band plans on signing a label, making a full-length record and touring, Silvestry said.
“Releasing music is exciting and terrifying,” Silvestry said. “It’s easy to justify spending time and money on making music, but we’re now at the stage of putting time and money behind the music. It’s crazy to have so much faith that people are going to listen to this stuff and care about it.”
Vern Matz will perform “Trampolines” for the first time at Princeton Terrace Club in Princeton, New Jersey, on Nov. 16.
Serena Cho | firstname.lastname@example.org