WYBCx’s yearly Ante-Fling will rage at Toad’s Place on Friday, April 10, from 8 p.m. to 2 a.m. The music festival will feature a collection of both established musicians — the show’s headliners Japanese Breakfast and Armani White — and up-and-coming musicians.
“We have a wide-ranging lineup,” said Caroline Magavern ’21, the general manager of WYBCx. According to Magavern, the group made a conscious effort not to exclusively invite indie artists. Ante-Fling’s local lineup includes post-punk New Haven band The Fiction Kids, Yale College band Sargasso and two DJs from New Haven’s Modern Love DJ collective: Anteo Fabris and GODAI.
“We play Nirvana-lite as we call it — a little grungy, a little rock, a little shoegaze-y,” said Alexa Ambrose, drummer in The Fiction Kids. The band is composed of three musicians — Rama Kooks, J. Thompson and Ambrose — all of whom are drummers. When playing in The Fiction Kids, Thompson plays bass, Ambrose plays drums and Kooks plays lead guitar and sings.
According to Ambrose, The Fiction Kids’ members have been running into each other — and in some cases playing together — for years thanks to the local music scene. After she and Kooks left the band LAUNDRY DAY together a couple years ago, they formed their current project. Thompson joined them last year.
Ambrose called The Fiction Kids Kooks’ brainchild, saying he has done much to shape the band’s character and writes lyrics for all of their songs.
“Kuki puts a lot of his past into his songs,” Ambrose said. “[His lyrics] are all about past encounters, past relationships or simple things like times that he’s had with his son.”
Kooks draws inspiration from bands like The Jesus and Mary Chain, Nirvana and The Smiths, bringing to The Fiction Kids what Ambrose called a “‘90s feel.” Despite having played music for five years together, Kooks remains enigmatic to Ambrose — until a few years ago, Ambrose did not know Kooks’ real name was not in fact Kooks.
At Ante-Fling, The Fiction Kids will primarily play new material. The band is looking forward to watching Japanese Breakfast perform, as Michelle Zauner’s music has inspired their own.
The climate crisis, going to the Apple Store, trees, Carnival, public transportation and younger brothers are all inspiration sources for Sargasso, said Thomas Hagen ’20 and Soledad Tejada ’20. Sargasso’s all-senior band includes Hagen on drums and vocals; Tejada primarily on synth, guitar, and vocals; Noah Goodman ’21 primarily on guitar and vocals; and Maria Campos Saadi ’21 on bass and vocals.
Tejada, Campos Saadi and Goodman — all broadcast directors for WYBCx — met at the student radio station their first year. During their sophomore year, they picked up Hagen and formed Sargasso.
That year, the band recorded and released its first EP: “Inlets.” According to Goodman, a “yearlong hiatus” followed the EP’s release, but other band members objected jokingly to this description — Sargasso continued performing during this period, though to a lesser extent than before.
At the end of summer 2019, Sargasso released another album and his first music video. The band has performed around New Haven in venues including Toad’s Place, Koffee? and Cafe Nine. Beyond New Haven, it has performed in Philadelphia and at Wesleyan University, Brown University and Haverford College.
Like The Fiction Kids, Sargasso is excited to play alongside Japanese Breakfast, but strongly encourages audience members to stay for the entire show.
“There’s a great variety,” Goodman said. “There’s something for everybody.”
The show’s headliners — Japanese Breakfast and Armani White — are greatly anticipated by WYBCx staff and the other artists performing at the Ante-Fling.
West Philadelphia-born rapper Armani White’s music is inspired by his childhood and written for and about his family and father. He began making music as therapy, but gained larger recognition in 2015 when he released a music video for his song “Stick Up.” White has since continued to gain acclaim. White grew up listening to James Brown, Janelle Monáe and Eminem, and is heavily influenced by Kanye West. He has one album, titled “Keep In Touch,” and a number of singles.
Japanese Breakfast is Michelle Zauner’s solo project, for which she has released two albums: “Soft Sounds from Another Planet” and “Psychopomp.” Zauner’s music evokes both indie rock and shoegaze. Thematically, her songs contend with grieving her mother’s death, as well as questions of sexuality, belonging and race. Pitchfork describes Zauner’s sensibilities as “uncomfortably personal” and “unpretentiously profound,” inspired by the cosmos while addressing life on Earth.
Ante-Fling admission is free for Yale students and $5 for members of the general public.
Annie Radillo | firstname.lastname@example.org