Student band Accidental Ghost floats between genres
The AU student outfit has played shows on campus and in Baltimore.
It goes without saying that AU’s campus is full of talent. But at one of the nation’s most politically active schools, the arts sometimes get overlooked.
From art collectives to slam poets to student bands, the arts community at AU is alive and well, and Accidental Ghost is living proof. Accidental Ghost is a group of students at AU that play and write their own unique style of music.
The band consists of Joey Kaitany (lead vocals), Sam Krause (guitar), Alli Vega (guitar/vocals), Matt Wright (drums) and Caroline Salant (bass, vocals).
Formed in the fall of 2013, Accidental Ghost started when Krause and Vega, the two guitarists, met online before their first semester at AU. They would later meet on campus and immediately start writing songs, despite being short three vital members.
“It was just like us quietly sitting in the room trying to come up with a guitar part,” Vega said.
Wright soon came into the picture after Krause noticed that Wright’s Facebook cover photo was of him sitting behind a drum kit.
“I made that cover picture in case someone at AU wanted me in their band,” Wright said.
The three met Salant through some of Krause’s mutual friends.
Kaitany joined the lineup as the permanent vocalist when she met Krause doing sound tech for a musical. The two hit it off during downtime in the dressing room, bonding over music.
“I’ve never been in a band, I’ve never considered myself a musician, but I’ve always written music and lyrics for myself and close friends and decided I might want to join a band,” Kaitany said.
Since its infancy, the band went by several names including Finished by May, Katzen Dogs and TGR//STRPS. It wasn’t until Vega fell off her bed and got tangled in her sheets, accidentally looking like a ghost, that the band’s name came to be.
The band poses for a selfie. Photo courtesy of Accidental Ghost.
The band had its first performance during the fall 2014 semester in the basement of Kay Spiritual Center. The show was organized by the AU Independent Arts Collective (AUIAC) who wanted to book bands fronted by women. Accidental Ghost opened for The Heads Are Zeroes, Crimson Wave and Lilac Daze. Since then they have played another show at the Battle of the Bands at Ottobar in Baltimore.
“We’re still fairly new to playing live, and I think that the phrase ‘third time's the charm’ applies here,” Vega said. “Everytime we play we figure out a little more what worked and what didn’t and we gain a bit more confidence.”
The band has released its first single, “Lake Effect Snow” via its Bandcamp page. Currently, it’s working on its upcoming EP “Loud & Clear” in the recording studio in the Kreeger building on campus. It’s also planning for a show in April.
Accidental Ghost’s sound is difficult to pin down. It’s part atmospheric, part pop-punk and part indie-alternative, all of which stem from the band’s clean guitar tones, crystalline vocals and layered songwriting approach.
Incorporating elements of pop, jazz and punk — to name a few — Accidental Ghost seems to transcend genre and just write music.
“Each genre is like an ecosystem, and we’re all just like transplants from different places…growing in the same garden,” Wright said.
The band's first album. Photo courtesy of Accidental Ghost.
Each member of the band brings a wide array of influences to the table ranging from Bombay Bicycle Club to Fall Out Boy to Wilco. Everyone in the band has their own influences that contribute to their unique styles. When the band formed, it had no intention of being pop, punk or pop punk.
“We don’t really have an end goal,” Wright said. “We’re just making music and seeing where it takes us.”
When asked why people should listen to Accidental Ghost, the band all agreed that its genre diversity and experimentation sets them apart from the rest.
“Sometimes bands are too scared to stray from being only a punk band or only a punk band,” Vega said.
The band’s sound was completely different a year ago and in 2016 will probably be nothing like it is now. “It’s probably not even going to sound like the same band,” Kaitany said.
With such diverse influences and stylistic fluidity, Accidental Ghost has the potential to appeal to multiple music fan bases.
As a constantly evolving musical force, Accidental Ghost is just getting warmed up.
“So basically join us on our musical journey,” Wright said.