TouchIt’s Kyle Jensen and Ken Arimura share their favorite shower songs, consider the future, and talk about playing at Homecoming

Photographs by Emily Kim

How do you feel about the cancellation of the Homecoming Dance?

Ken Arimura: I’m pretty indifferent. I went freshman year and that was it. Yeah, I guess Homecoming doesn’t have too much meaning to me.

Kyle Jensen: Last year I walked around the outside of the tent. Kinda checked out the scene and then went over to Eggplant Manor and listening to YouJazz play and had a great time dancing, listening to some live music. I wasn’t really feeling the whole scene over there.

How did your band come to form?

KA: Jam sessions in the Mathias basement that happened randomly, and eventually it became a consistent group of people who enjoyed how each other played. We just formed the band from there. Yeah, there was never a day when it was just like “Alright, we are TouchIt. Let’s do something from here.” It was a very gradual process.

KJ: Yeah. Members were slowly added in, and it ended up working out.

KA: I definitely was never like “Alright I definitely want to start a band for sure.” I will still do my own recordings and write my own songs and stuff. But yeah, it wasn’t really completely intentional.

What is your music making process like, and how do you collaborate together?

Lena Webster: They walk around the house for like a half-hour before practice, and they all eat different things and stomp around. There is a half-hour before practice when I am always wondering what they are all doing here, and then I realize that it’s all of TouchIt, and they are all scattered around doing things.

KA: So far Jack and I have been the main power horses behind song ideas, but then we bring it up at practice and then develop the ideas from there. We have a shitty recording on our iPhone to refer to all the time. From there [we work on songs] layer on layer. Take out what we don’t need. Put in more of what sounds good. Jack write the lyrics. I’ll write the instrument parts.

KJ: Yeah, and then often times I will write most of my own bass parts, and Adam goes in and layers in some saxophone. It’s just a process of some addition and subtraction; eventually we reach some balance. But I don’t know. It kinda changes over time.

What is your favorite song to sing in the shower?

Ken Arimura: Hmmm, that is a tough one. I don’t really sing in the shower. I haven’t been recently.

Kyle Jensen: I did back home. I haven’t been singing here very much.

KA: “Moody’s Mood for Love” by Eddie Jefferson.

KJ: I usually sing some Hebrew songs that I remember from my Bar Mitzvah. I pretend like I am singing in Hebrew, but I am really just singing gibberish. But I like those melodies a lot.

z-1When you were a child, what was your first CD?

KJ: The Beatles. The blue Greatest Hits, double disk.

KA: This Japanese rock group my mom was into called The Ulfuls. Very James Brown-inspired, but you know, has a Japanese twist in it. All the lyrics are Japanese. I was really obsessed with the music videos because as a little kid they were really entertaining. I would watch them on these VHS tapes. Probably my first exposure to a guitar solo. It was so cool. This whole video was centered around this guy playing guitar for 30 seconds. And I was just like “Why is this so cool to me?” It was pretty neat.

Who in the band would you consider to be the biggest diva?

KA: Oliver. Oliver gets bored with his drum parts. He has his roots in jazz, so there is a lot of complex stuff that you can do in that genre. But sometimes it’s just hard for him to restrain because you know with drums you want to be loud. You don’t have volume knobs… you know what I’m saying. You can be as loud as you want.

Do you guys have a favorite past CC band and what do you admire about them?

KA: Definitely The Raisins is one of them. I think Ben Brown is one of my favorite guitarists that I’ve seen go to this school. And then I respect what Goiter does. They go by Mountaintop now I guess. I would like to see what they are up to this year because a lot of their team members are gone. I do not remember enough about The Logjammers, although I do remember them being popular.

KJ: YouJazz?

KA: Yeah. Definitely Raisins, YouJazz. I had a couple gigs with YouJazz and that was a lot of fun. It was a really good experience. They were all so much more musically talented and more knowledgeable then I was. It was a lot of fun. A nice challenge.

Do you guys have any pre-concert rituals?

KA: We have gotten Azada a number of times.

KJ: Oh, yeah. That’s true.

KA: Just eating with each other.

Do you have any plans to keep making music after school?

KA: We really don’t talk about that at all.

KJ: There’s been some talk actually. Jack spent quite a bit of his youth in Atlanta, and some of his previous band mates are in a band that is up in Aurora, and there has been talk about going up there because there is a music studio. Maybe we could go for a couple months and record an album.

KA: Really? I hadn’t heard anything about this.

KJ: I’ve talked quite a bit with Jack about it, because we’ve done a lot of work. We have about eight original songs now that are fully formed, and I think it would be worthwhile to get it down in silicone.

KA: It could be a fun summer project.

z-4Do you have different feelings about playing for alums this weekend rather than the typical CC student?

KA: Absolutely, because we are definitely a dirty house party band. We’ve been learning older songs for parents and alumni. We tried to incorporate that, but have been having some trouble because when we think of a song we don’t really jam it out or extend it too much. We really play it as it is. In terms of the sound of the song, we will put our own twist on it, but structurally we usually stick to [what’s on paper]. It should be interesting. I’ve been checking out Woodshed Red, and it’s going to be a pretty interesting shift in dynamics once they come on but it should be exciting. Also playing outside. We have to always retune because cold weather makes you go sharp. But besides that I don’t feel too different. I know that everyone is not going to be nearly as drunk as they would be at a house party so we gotta actually play clean and proper.

KJ: We aren’t going to be playing quite as much of our new material.

KA: We probably won’t be playing as much of our originals either. Because this event is not a TouchIt event. It’s an event that TouchIt is playing.

KJ: It’s not going to be a bunch of people crammed into a little space, jumping up and down. So I think we have a pretty diverse set planned. We’re covering a lot of music ground. And yeah, we’re going to put in a couple of our original tunes, show what that side of our band is about.

KA: The show will definitely be more about supporting Homecoming, though, instead of like “Yeah we’re TouchIt. Check us out.”

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