Band Feature: Just Because


Magdalene Yen

Just Because’s set list included Freaking Out the Neighborhood by Mac DeMarco, Brazil by Declan McKenna, Looking Out for You by Joy Again, and LSD by Skeggs.

Magdalene Yen, Features Editor

The week of Jan. 17 saw bands with members from the school performing at lunch in a Battle of the Bands. The winner will play one song at the upcoming winter formal pep rally. 

Just Because performed on Tuesday, Jan. 17. It consists of 15-year-old Luke Donaldson, who plays guitar and ukulele, freshmen Dane Swanson and Charlie Samuelian, who trade off on bass and drums, and sophomore Lola Sabol, who plays guitar. 

Who inspires you?

LUKE: Musically, John Mayer and his flawless and smooth style in which he plays inspires me. In general, my parents’ selflessness and work ethic inspire me. 

LOLA: The biggest thing that inspires me would be seeing my favorite bands play live. Live music is something I love, and I want to be able to perform it as my favorite bands do.

CHARLIE: Some people who inspire me are my friends who got me to learn instruments and definitely drummers Lars Ulrich, Taylor Hawkins, and Travis Barker.

DANE: Musically, Jerry Garcia. Personally, my mom and dad.

How would you define your music taste and how does that influence your playing?

LUKE:  My taste in music is very spread out. I enjoy many genres of music, from alternative to indie to rock, and even things like reggae. I love older music as well, from the 70s, 80s, 90s, and so on. This influences my playing in a fun way because I never run out of things to play. It helps me play creatively when making something up or jamming with others because I have such a spread out and diverse taste in music.

LOLA: My music taste influences my playing heavily because it’s hard to play music that you are not interested in. If I’m playing a song that I like, I’m able to play much better.

CHARLIE: Some things that define my musical taste would be fast and aggressive. This influences my playing by causing me to hit the drums hard and fast with some cool fills.

How do you choose the songs to cover?

LUKE: My band and I always choose the songs that we cover by just throwing out ideas and songs we like. We’ll listen to them, and when we hear one we all like, we’ll learn and play it. Sometimes I’ll just be listening to a song and will think to myself, “We should do this; it would be so sick,” and send it to one of my friends in the band or everybody. If we like the way it sounds, we’ll play it when we perform.

LOLA: Most of the songs we cover stem from all of our music tastes combined. We all have similar music tastes so it’s easy to choose which songs to play

CHARLIE: My band got together when our lead singer (Luke Donaldson) texted all of us and told us that he wanted to start a band. We are more of an alternative rock band so we chose songs that have that alternative vibe. 

Which is your favorite instrument to play?

LUKE: My favorite instrument to play is definitely guitar. I love it. I’ve been playing for four years and just love how many things you can play on it. You can play country, pop, rock, metal, indie, alternative, classical, jazz, blues—you name it. You can also take a guitar with you anywhere.

CHARLIE: I love to play all instruments such as bass, guitar, ukulele, and drums, but I would say that the drums are my favorite instrument because who doesn’t love just banging on things as hard as you can? I love drums because it is the most expressive instrument for me. 

DANE: I like to play guitar and drums. 

How long have you been playing your instrument?

LUKE: I first picked up a guitar when I was 11 years old. My mom thought it would be a good idea for me to start learning an instrument, and we both agreed guitar was really cool. I got my first guitar—an acoustic—and my mom got me a teacher. I’ve been playing ever since.

LOLA: I started the guitar a little over a year ago, and I kind of jumped in. I didn’t have lessons, but I was super focused on learning, so I would try to play every day. Seeing my progress made the process a lot easier.

CHARLIE: I learned my instrument by practicing for long hours every day. I am actually self-taught for the majority of the instruments I play. 

DANE: Guitar for about one year and drums for a little less than a year.

Are you working on originals? What’s the process like?

LUKE: My band and I are working on an original right now and plan on creating more in the future. I personally love making original songs. There’s something so cool about playing and singing a song that you worked on and thought of lyrics to, and having it all come together with your band members on all their instruments, and being able to say to yourself, “Yeah, I made that.” It’s pretty cool. It’s also so fun to put together original music with my band and test different things out, bounce around all sorts of ideas, and find out together what works well together and what doesn’t.

LOLA: Yes we are working on originals and the process on that is usually someone bringing up a cool idea or a riff, and the rest of the band will add onto the idea to form an actual song.

CHARLIE: I don’t want to spoil too much but our band is working on an original. The process is really fun. We love to experiment with different tunes, sounds, and lyrics. 

DANE: Yes, sometimes. 

Being in a band can be difficult and time-consuming. How do you find the time and the motivation to keep going? 

LUKE: While being in a band can be very time-consuming, and sometimes me and the other members in my band don’t always agree on some things, I honestly don’t view it as anything that I have to or don’t want to do. It doesn’t feel like a chore at all. I’m able to fit in my band with my schedule and find time to play by asking all the members of my band a day and time that works for them, and then we play at that time. I love being in a band, and the motivation to keep going just comes naturally because I love to play so much. I love music. I love listening to it, creating it, and playing it. It’s such a big part of who I am, and I cannot imagine my life without it.

LOLA: Although being in a band is time-consuming and difficult, it is one of my favorite things to do and definitely finding the right people to play with can make it much easier.

CHARLIE: For me, music is a very big part of my life, so I guess that’s my motivation to practice hard and play harder. Sometimes the band can be time-consuming but it’s all worth it in the end. 

DANE: I just had knee surgery so I have plenty of time on my hands 🙂

You can hear more of Just Because at the Brush and Palette Multi-Talent Show on Feb 10. in the Artists Theatre at 7 p.m., or you can find their music on Instagram: @justbecauseband