Nina Fuchs, the drummer of DIY band Americanadian and a freshman music industry major at Drexel University, could feel the difference between playing on a cracked, concrete floor in a home basement and the inside of a mausoleum.
Americanadian, an indie dream rock band that includes two Temple students, played a show at PhilaMOCA, a mausoleum-turned-music venue, on Friday. The band released the track “Peachy” on Bandcamp, an online platform for posting music, earlier this month and plans to release an EP this year.
The band got its start in Philadelphia’s DIY music scene, which often means playing music in house basements and makeshift venues.
“[The PhilaMOCA show] felt more powerful,” said Nick DeFabritus, the band’s bassist and a freshman music education major. “I felt like I was actually almost like taking control of the audience in a way, like pulling them in.”
“It was cool to see how everyone’s eyes were on us the whole time,” he added. “This time I’m able to see a lot more reactions from people.”
DeFabritus added that at most basement shows, the audience consists of mostly friends, but at PhilaMOCA, he saw several new faces, which he hopes will increase the band’s exposure.
Serena Scalzi, now Americanadian’s guitarist and lead singer, started talking about forming a band in Summer 2016.
Scalzi, a freshman psychology major at Bucks County Community College, became interested in music when she was in middle school and first picked up one of her dad’s guitars. She taught herself how to simultaneously sing and play guitar.
After being introduced through mutual friends during their sophomore year in high school, Fuchs and Scalzi became close. Fuchs planned on recording Scalzi’s music for her senior project, so they began working together.
With only a lead singer and drummer, the duo reached out to Jeff Weingarten in search of a lead guitarist. Scalzi met Weingarten at a house show in Philadelphia and then found his solo music on Bandcamp.
“We all became really good friends out of it,” said Weingarten, a junior media studies and production major.
DeFabritus joined the band this past June. After rehearsing nearly every day that month in Fuchs’ basement in Lower Merion Township, Pennsylvania, the band performed its first show in early July at The Pentajawn, a now-closed DIY space in North Philadelphia.
The band has performed at several other DIY spaces in the city, like the Pharmacy, a coffee shop and music venue in Point Breeze.
DeFabritus said there’s more energy at DIY shows in Philadelphia than at venues.
“I feel like at venues like [PhilaMOCA], a lot of people are checking us out for the first time, a lot of people who haven’t seen us before,” DeFabritus said. “But at basements it’s more people who have seen us. … It’s also cool to get out there to have a lot more people see us, and it’s a really good experience.”
In high school, Weingarten developed songs from being “alone in [his] thoughts.” Now at Temple, he said he draws from his many new relationships.
“When I get to college, there’s so many people here,” Weingarten said. “That’s more influence to write my music about.”
Americanadian’s latest single, “Peachy,” was written by Fuchs, Scalzi and Weingarten about their friend Elizabeth Hazard, a freshman art major. The song discusses the band members’ love of her personality.
“Every time I hear it gives me a little bit of secondhand embarrassment just because I know it’s about myself,” Hazard said. “But at the same time, every time they play it I get so happy because I’m like, ‘This song bops and it’s about me.’”
The band is currently recording its EP with Donato Pignetti, a Philadelphia musician who helps local indie bands, like Fred Beans and Earthboy, record their albums at his house.
This is the first time the group isn’t self-recording in Fuchs’ bedroom.
“We’re getting used to having someone else listen to it as we record it,” Scalzi said. “The first day we were all shy. … We’re just comfortable with it now.
“I’m just excited to get out my mind through the music and the music that we’ve all been working on and mixing, recording and all the time and work we put into it,” she added.