Friday, May 13, 2016

Windham band Psycho Brahe to compete in MAMM Slam finals - By Ryan Lowell

After several years as Psycho Brahe, Windham students Avery Schrock, Olivia Mora, and Caleb Schrock refined their sound enough to win over judges in the opening round of the Maine Academy of Modern Music’s MAMM Slam. They recently earned a spot in the finals, which will take place at the Portland House of Music and Events on May 14th, but they’ll be the first to tell you that their gigs weren’t always so impressive. 

Front man Avery Schrock recalled an early show that involved trying to write all of the lyrics for Dire Straits’ “Sultans of Swing” on a napkin before giving up and playing an instrumental version. His brother Caleb, who serves as the band’s drummer, summed up the show succinctly. “We sounded awful,” he said.
Nearly three years later, the band sounds far from awful, and locals are noticing. On top of MAMM Slam success, Psycho Brahe recently played an Earth Day show with established local acts like Portland’s Mouth Washington. 

The three band members have different approaches to performing, but collectively they compliment each other well. While Avery is quick to bounce from one idea to the next, Caleb’s drumming and Olivia’s bass lines offer a welcomed consistency. 

“If we weren’t there, Avery would sound insane,” Caleb said. “We hold him to the ground enough so that it’s a good mix of insanity and level headedness.”  

Anyone who listens to Psycho Brahe, a band whose namesake is a Danish astronomer that, according to io9, “lost his nose in a math fueled duel,” will instantly recognize the Schrock brothers’ unique worldview in each song. But the Schrocks said Olivia elevates them to the next level, calling her the best bassist at WHS.
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“She’s the only one who knows what she’s doing,” Avery said. “A lot of times I’ll shout out chord changes and she’ll just nail them.” Olivia’s skill and dedication makes it possible for her to juggle band obligations with her other passion: Softball. 

“I’m busy a lot,” Olivia said. “I try to make time for everything. Sometimes you have to sacrifice softball, sometimes music. But (the band is) really accepting.” Meanwhile, the Schrocks are keeping themselves busy by practicing with other peers for the WHS key club’s upcoming battle of the bands. The brothers have plenty of local connections, as they used to regularly host jam nights at their house.

The MAMM Slam Finals will be a great opportunity for curious parties to see Psycho Brahe in action before Avery leaves for college in the fall. Just don’t expect them to play anything heartfelt or serious.
“We’ve heard enough songs on WCYY that start with ‘what if I…?’” Avery said.

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