The Riot: alternative rock student band composes single

Draws inspiration from Noel Gallagher, Damon Albarn
The Riot: alternative rock student band composes single

A G-flat minor chord riff, providing a melancholic yet comforting tone, emanates from the front of the quad.

Junior Maximilian Rabbitt-Tomita strums his guitar and sophomore Dexter Cleveringa sets the beat with his drums.

Students gather around, cheering and clapping in eager anticipation of the performance. Leaning into the microphone, sophomore Clay Cudahy starts to sing, beginning his band’s live performance of their self-composed “Awful Sounds.”

An exuberant reaction follows from the audience as the student alternative rock band, The Riot, finishes their piece. Rabbitt-Tomita, the rhythm guitarist, said the satisfaction of providing others with entertainment is his favorite part of playing in the band.

“The best thing about being a musician is playing for other people,” Rabbitt-Tomita said. “That’s the whole reason you do it. It’s really fun playing music. It’s a surreal feeling.”

Lead singer and guitarist Cudahy said he enjoys being part of the band because he is able to spend time with friends, during practice.

“My favorite part about being with the band is making riffs with my bandmates,” Cudahy said. “We build off each other.”

Cleveringa said The Riot, as a collective, focused more on recording than performing this year.

“We have a single coming out soon,” Cleveringa said. “We’re in the very last stage of production and mixing. We used to play our own little shows at Lytton Plaza, and those were really cool, but we had a guitarist move to New York since then. He had all (our) PA equipment.”

Rabbitt-Tomita said the band hopes to provide professional-grade recordings in the future.

“This summer, we’re going to do a recording session in Oakland at a place called Tiny Telephone,” Rabbitt-Tomita said. “We’ve been funded to record at a professional studio, which would be fun.”

During their weekly meetings and occasional summer sessions, Rabbitt-Tomita said the band members share and combine their compositions.

“We have a melody, a structure and chords,” Rabbitt-Tomita said. “It’s fun writing music because you can just get creative with it.”
Alternative rock can encompass various styles, including indie, britpop and grunge. Thus, Cleveringa said the band draws from a diverse range of inspirations.

“My favorite artists to listen to are probably either Noel Gallagher or Damon Albarn, but our best influences come from different musicians and different artists,” Cleveringa said. “I also listen to a little bit of hip-hop, a little bit of trip-hop (and) some Latin music.”

Cudahy said the band formed in middle school through a shared passion for music and joint sessions with Cleveringa.

“We wanted to imitate our favorite bands,” Cudahy said. “It started when I got together with Dexter, our drummer. We’ve grown to include more people over the years.”

Rabbitt-Tomita, who joined the band three years ago, said his interest in music started at a young age, with inspirations from alternative and grunge rock musicians.

“I had been a part of a separate band in middle school, and did a lot of indie alternative stuff,” Rabbitt-Tomita said. “I always wanted to emulate my favorite bands: The Killers, Nirvana, or The Clash. After COVID-19 the (original) band stopped, but (The Riot) asked me if I wanted to be a part of (them).”

Ultimately, Rabbitt-Tomita said students should follow their passions and do what makes them happy.
“Do it for the fun of it like I did,” Rabbitt-Tomita said. “Over time, (music is) something I’ve kept doing and enjoyed. It’s worked out. Don’t hold back.”

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