Two Kent State undergrads create music using guitar, vocals, synth and an ordinary Gameboy Color
Sounds Like: Owl City, The Shins, Animal Collective, Ludo and Mario meets Tetris
Take a walk through the Honor’s College dorms late at night. It is dead silent throughout most of the hallways since residents are either studying, asleep or elsewhere for the night. The occasional resident assistant or security guard wanders the building to stop any roughhousing.
However, late-night visitors might be in for a surprise if they walk by the Johnson Hall laundry room some night only to find local indie band Helicopter Susan performing.
Alec Schumann, sophomore music major, and Michael Risser (also known as the Doctor), junior physics major, joined forces last spring to launch a Nintendo-core indie rock band in Kent.
“The laundry rooms are nice to practice in because they’re in the dorms,” Schumann said. “We also can do our laundry while we practice in this sense.”
Risser said though he normally listens to metal and electronica music, Helicopter Susan allows him to expand his musical tastes and styles of playing.
“The whole indie-acoustic thing is outside of my comfort zone, but I like that,” Risser said.
Schumann said the hipster-style band was inspired by a conversation in his and Risser’s colloquium English course taught by Susan Sainato.
“We were doing teacher evaluations and someone in the class joked that we should all write ‘Hello, Susan’ on the evaluation comments,” Schumann said. “I thought they said ‘Helicopter Susan,’ so I turned to the Doctor and told him we needed to form a hipster band.”
Risser is the band’s main guitarist and vocalist, while Schumann is the synth player.
“We got all of our ideas together over winter break and began recording our music in spring 2011,” Risser said.
Both guys take turns writing lyrics and music for the songs, and death is the common theme for all of the lyrics. Schumann said Beck, the Shins and Neutral Milk Hotel inspire most of the band’s music.
“A lot of my song lyrics have a Beck influence,” Shumann said. “Every hipster needs to know who these artists are, though.”
The band recorded its first EP titled Desperate for Cola on May 4. All of Helicopter Susan’s songs from this album are up for free download on helicoptersusan.com.
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