As a part of the sixth annual Porch Stomp season, we're working with Beehive Productions, NYC Ferry and Blue Point Brewery to bring you a series of videos featuring artists spanning the gamut of NYC folk scene (and then some). Check out our blog every month for new videos and interviews with artists, and be sure to follow us on instagram: @porchstomp and Facebook: Porch Stomp
Since joining our community in 2014, The New Students have become essential to the Porch Stomp soundscape. Despite having no connection to Justin and the band before contacting each other via the Make Music New York matchmaking site, their first visit to Governors Island proved that they clearly understood what our mission was all about! I remember their first Porch Stomp performance drawing a crowd even in spite of a humble turn out, sharing their infectious energy and music indiscriminate of who or how many were watching. The New Students came to have fun and to perform, bringing with them a sophisticated compositional approach to storytelling still rooted firmly in the folk idiom, they performance aesthetic brings a brazenness seen more often in musical theatre than folk music. I wholeheartedly believe their presence to have been paramount in steering Porch Stomp toward becoming the festival that it is today.
Check out The New Students performing "Jackson's Holler" live on Governors Island as a part of our sixth annual festival this past June. Continue reading for a Q&A with the band and be sure to find their music online at the link below.
How did you first get involved with Porch Stomp and what is your favorite Porch Stomp memory?
We’ve been part of Porch Stomp from the very beginning, and it keeps getting better every year. This year Briana and Justin brought their one-year-old son to the Stomp, and he had a great time wandering around and listening to all the music. From our perspective, the best part about the Stomp is the audience that shows up to listen to our kind of music, and the intimate connection you make playing unplugged outdoors – people have to listen closely.
I know the band is somewhat spread out; where is the band based and what is your experience like having footing in both Long Island and the boroughs?
We are spread out between Brooklyn, Queens, and Long Island, and so we have a hand in the folk scenes both in the city and out there. Both scenes have different strengths – the city is more go-go-go, and has a pretty frantic pace, whereas the Island is more laid back. There are benefits to both, and we’ve enjoyed moving back and forth.
What are your most important influences and how do they contribute to the unique sound of the band?
We have a pretty wide variety of influences, from Simon and Garfunkel and Leonard Cohen, to bluegrass legends like J.D. Crowe and The New South, to Willie Nelson, to They Might Be Giants, to Pete Seeger. And of course we have influenced each other as we try to blend our individual experiences into a single unit that we are all invested in. Our music tends to lean heavily on lyrics, while maintaining a groove, and giving ample room for Matt to show off his fiddle or mandolin chops. I think our live performance has been heavily influenced by the socially conscious performers of the folk revival, and we try to maintain a real, honest connection with the audience.
What advice would you offer to aspiring songwriters here in NYC?
The most important advice I would give to newer artists is that showing up is 90% of the job. Going out and playing open mics and gigs, meeting people, and sharing your music – that is what leads to opportunity, and also allows you to hone both your craft and your business acumen. It’s easier said than done, but it’s good advice.
For more information about the New Students, visit :
Special thanks to Jeff, Sue and Redia of Beehive Productions as well as the fine folks at Blue Point Brewery for making this video possible.