Many people know how to play an instrument, but how many can play a dozen and counting? First-year Calvin Ternes plays everything from piano to accordion, but primarily plays cello in his band The Victorian Era. After meeting multi-instrumentalists Taylor Seaberg and Josh Koepp (both ’16), he joined their existing band as vocalist and cello player. While Seaberg and Koepp also play multiple instruments, they usually stick to one or two for the band; Seaberg mainly does the main vocals and guitar, and Koepp also sings and plays guitar.
Their talents alone prove that they’re not your typical college-aged band, but they also have a unique backstory. Although all three attend Hamline, founding members Seaberg and Koepp didn’t meet through school. Seaberg explained that she met Koepp through working and competing at the State Fair last summer.
“I was at the State Fair because I worked there and then I also was in the amateur talent contest for the Minnesota State Fair… I think that was the most people I had performed in front of for a long time; there was like, I don’t know, 800, 900 people. It was lot….But a lot of people from my job at the State Fair knew me from that, so they’re like, ‘Oh you’re the singer, right?’ and I was like, ‘Yeah. I guess, I don’t know, I don’t understand.’ And then I guess, you know, since I was kind of floating around, Josh was like, ‘Hey, we should do something sometime,’” Seaberg recalled.
According to Koepp, finding out that they both went to Hamline was a coincidence too good to pass up. They formed a band with another musician, but when he left they found themselves short a drummer. Later in the school year, Koepp met Ternes in one of his classes and knew he’d be a great addition.
“Calvin came in because I knew him from one of our classes and he was just a social butterfly who went up and talked to every person he could,” Koepp said, adding, “He’s kind of the jack of all trades, except good at all of the things.”
Even though all three are passionate about music, they’re not planning on majoring in music or making a career out of it. If they get famous, great, but right now they’re just having fun.
“In my opinion— in how the world is structured today, it’s not feasible to think that in this setting— the setting that we’re trying to portray is we’re a band. Like you can’t go out and be like, ‘I’m going to get famous because I’m in a band; I’m going to make money,’ because it’s completely baseless,” Koepp said.
Ternes agreed that they’re having fun, and said that above all they don’t want to lose that and make it seem like work. However, they do try to express themselves and what they’re going through via their music.
“I think we just do it for fun on the most part. It’s like to us, music’s like so much fun that sometimes when you try to make it a profession it loses that. And so we really try to have fun with it above everything and just jam and mess around, and sometimes do work when Josh forces us to,” Ternes said.
Seaberg said that expressing her feelings and experiences is one of the best things about making music, and she feels that it’s helped her learn and grow as a person.
“I say that’s the thing that I like a lot about it. I feel like throughout this year I’ve had a lot of growth through music which— in the past my lyrics didn’t make any sense and they had nothing to do with songs, because I focus on lyrics second and I’m purely instrumental background based. I focus more on the music aspect. So the fact that we have been singing about things that are like realistic to our lives, or one of our lives, or something, is cool because I feel like I’ve grown as a person being able to express that through music. I also connect more with my bandmates because we have shared experiences in some aspects, and inside jokes,” Seaberg said.
Because they’re still a fairly new band, The Victorian Era hasn’t played a lot of shows. They said that there’s a good reason for that; they want to have a solid set of songs and a good networking base before then.
“So far, we’re just jamming. We want to get a little bit more of a— kind of a recording base and kind of a networking base, so we can show like, ‘Hey we have all this stuff, there’s people who actually like us, people who would actually come so we could sell tickets and stuff like that.’ Because today if you’re in a band and you don’t have that networking stuff, people will look at you and they’ll say, ‘You know, you’re not gonna be worth my time,’” Koepp said.
In addition, Seaberg said that it’s difficult to do live shows for a couple of reasons. One, they have a lot of different elements in their songs, such as synthesizing, and two, they still don’t have a drummer.
“I think the thing that also sucks is like at the beginning, we felt like we had more of a full set because we had the drummer. So a lot of our songs feel like they would be difficult to play live because there’s so many elements to it and like the drums kind of—like for a few songs they kind of synch things together, like ‘Casanova,’ and ‘Chatterbox.’ We had a very succinct drum part, and then our drummer went away and we were like, ‘Well, this is gonna be interesting to do live.’ But you end up splitting and that happens; you end up going different directions. But we got Calvin, who is a beautiful addition,” Seaberg said.
The Victorian Era’s info can be found on their Facebook page, and their music can be found at thevictorianera.bandcamp.com