While most people were sitting at home and keeping to themselves during the pandemic, five UT students found a way to connect over their shared love of music. As most of them met through digital platforms, they describe themselves as a “covid and virtual band.” They went from seeing videos of each other playing music on Instagram to playing the Hulu Stage before The Killers concert at Moody Center.
The up-and-coming band Yardsale! is comprised of computer science junior Zach Russell, sociology and rhetorical writing junior Nathaniel Ogren, electrical and computer engineering junior Alex Meeler, electrical and computer engineering junior Christian Daniel, and electrical and computer engineering junior Patrick Wang.
“I like posted music videos on my Instagram. I'm just f**king around on guitar, and a mutual follower of Zach and I reposted it. So Zach followed me, and I followed him back and then slid into his DMS and was like, ‘Hey, you're really talented. We should like play music together sometime,” singer and guitar player Ogren said.
After meeting each other online, Zach and Nathaniel met in person. They decided to meet up a second time after that and this is when Zach introduced Nathaniel to the rest of the future band members.
“When we came back to Austin, it was just four of us in the beginning,” Ogren said. “We all went out to grab dinner and then we came back to Zach's apartment, just like jam for the first time. We were like, ‘Oh, sh*t, this is something.’”
They went from playing together in Zach’s apartment to sharing their music with crowds of people. As they started booking shows, they quickly realized they didn’t have a band name.
“So that put the pressure on it pretty quickly of like, ‘We need something to call ourselves because right now we're just like five guys f**king around on stage, and we need a tighter brand than that,’” Ogren said. “There were a couple of weeks where we were like, “We've got to figure this out.”
After discussing the name ideas amongst each other, they decided on naming themselves Yardsale! Once the band really took off, they stumbled upon the dilemma of balancing their schoolwork and creating music.
“It’s really finding the balance of like, ‘How little can I show up to class and, just really scrape by and still have time or energy to, put into the bands,” Russell, the bassist of the band, said.
From finding the balance between school work and music, the energy they had left transferred over to how well they managed their band. Creating an original set that will allow them to express themselves through their music.
“We try to keep it fresh. So a lot of the time we'll improvise things off of each other. Most of our ideas bounced off each other, like, we don't really have to communicate them too much. The best part about playing live is that you can have like, some deeper, you know, connection that isn't verbal, but you can express musically what you want to do in a performance,” key player of the band, Wang said.
The connection the band members have with each other and their goal of keeping things fresh has contributed to them playing for new and interesting crowds.
“I think the most interesting was at Maggie May’s on Sixth Street. The show was 21+, and like most of our friends are not so, we didn't really know anyone there and it was a bar and they were not set up for us to play at all. Like they had no idea we were playing so we just kind of had to wing it. But it was just a bunch of random people. And we just kind of played random sh*t, but it was like a very interesting experience,” guitar player Daniel said.
Playing their music in front of many different crowds has gained them some popularity. From getting recognized to being asked for signatures and pictures, the band members receive an overwhelming amount of support.
“After we played the talent show, some people asked for my signature and people took pictures with us,” Meeler, drummer of the band said. “Alex has had moms and kids come to take pictures with him like three times and no one else has had that,” Daniel said, reminding Meeler.
Yardsale! is a band full of energetic best friends, who love to be spontaneous and have fun on stage. They have gathered the following of UT students and the rest of the Austin community, as they eagerly wait to hear their upcoming album. If you want to have a good time at a concert and feel like the main character then Yardsale! is the band that you want to see!
They will be releasing their debut album, “Make It Out Alive” on January 21st, and I would strongly recommend you to check out their music. I play their music on my radio show all the time so tune in or check out Yardsale! on Spotify and keep an eye out for their upcoming shows. In the meantime, as we eagerly wait for their debut album to drop, listen to their newest song, “Make It Out Alive,” along with the rest of the songs on “The Yardsale! Collection!"
Thank you to Yardsale! for letting me interview them, it was so nice getting to meet you guys! Y’all’s friend group dynamic is so fun and that energy definitely projects onto the stage! My friends and I will be waiting patiently for the album to drop! Can’t wait to see what else you guys are able to accomplish!