Acid Trap secures Dillo Day spot with unique sound


Source: Acid Trap

Acid Trap, the winner of Mayfest’s Battle of the Bands, will perform at Dillo Day on Saturday. The band is rooted in jazz with a mixture of R&B, soul, hip-hop and pop.

Kimberly Go, Reporter


Acid Trap is no stranger to the Dillo Day main stage.

After joining rap duo Appomattox Traphouse to win Battle of the Bands last year (under the name Syndicated Traphouse), Acid Trap is returning to this year’s Dillo Day to perform for the Northwestern community again.

The band played a 20-minute set last Thursday at 27 Live, competing and winning against five other student bands for the chance to play at Dillo Day.

This year, the band has a new lead vocalist: Communication sophomore Sage Ross.

Alex Gandolfo, who plays tenor saxophone, said prior to the addition of Ross, the band’s instrumentalists would perform the vocals for their songs. However, the band, formerly Syndicate 119, felt the need to specialize the role because it wanted other members to focus on playing their instruments.

Aside from Gandolfo and Ross, Acid Trap comprises Kamila Muhammad, Michael Jones, Cameron Keri, Julius Tucker, Alex Warshawsky and Curtis Boysen.

Gandolfo, a Weinberg and Bienen junior, said all the members of Acid Trap are either in or were once part of the jazz program at NU.

“The music we were playing there was very much dictated by our professors and a very traditional jazz style,” he said. “Forming this group kind of allowed us to branch out from what we would ordinarily do and pursue things we couldn’t in the classroom.”

Julius Tucker, who plays keyboard in the band, agreed.

“We wanted to create a group where we could express ourselves not through the standard, just jazz medium,” the McCormick and Bienen junior said.

Gandolfo said their sound may be rooted in jazz, but it is also a mixture of R&B, soul, hip-hop and pop. Its influences include neo-soul artist Erykah Badu and hip-hop producer J Dilla.

“We’re definitely trying for a funkier type of hip-hop,” said Michael Jones (Bienen ’14), who plays the trumpet. “When I say funkier I mean there’s more horn line. We’re throwing it back to the 70s, a little bit, and 60s … not a lot of bands have that going on, on campus at least.”

Tucker said the members of the group are very close and all know one another individually and musically.

During rehearsals, everyone contributes to the composing and arranging of songs, with Tucker writing most of them, Gandolfo said. The group is very collaborative — people will bring in arrangements of an original or a cover and band members will voice their opinion on how a certain part can be played.

“A lot of what happens in rehearsals,” he said, “is playing the same part of a song in different ways according to one person’s recommendation and seeing what sounds best.”

When the group won, Tucker said he was already thinking about how the band would prepare for Dillo Day.

“I got a chance to perform at Dillo Day last year so performing again, I was just thinking about how we could improve,” he said. “I was thinking about what music we would be able to play and get together within a week.”

Tucker added the band will most likely be playing a combination of original music and covers.

Jones said the band is excited to perform at Dillo Day and top its Battle of the Bands performance.

“Dillo’s going to be an awesome performance opportunity for us,” he said. “The performance that we had at Battle of the Bands was good, but I think we’re going to up it at Dillo.”

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