Student band Phar\os won Battle of the Bands last Thursday and will open for Hoodie Allen in next Saturday’s Ivies concert.

The three bands competing were Treefarm, The Circus, and Phar\os. Ultimately, Phar\os—composed of David Raskin ’13, Connor Smith ’13, Rami Stucky ’14 and Simon Moushabeck ’16—came out victorious. 

According to BMC co-head Nate Joseph ’13, this is the first year that there have been two rounds of competition.

“Doing one event has been chaotic,” he said. “We wanted to give everyone a chance to play in the first round, and this way we also could see the top bands play a longer set which would be more representative of the sets at Ivies.”

The BMC ran the first round, which was held at the beginning of the month. The E-Board was more involved in the second round. 

The judges for the second round were Associate Professor of Music Vineet Shende, Postdoctoral Fellow of Mathematics Aba Mbirika, Will Tucker ’14, and Patrick Lavallee ’13. 

The two students together contributed one vote, while the professors had one vote each. 

“We try to do a balance of someone who has musical knowledge and someone who has a good feel for the campus,” said E-Board member Asher Stamell ’13. “It wasn’t a rigorous decision. Someone on the E-board contacted these students. We made sure they didn’t have an alliance with any student act and that they were gong to be unbiased.”

Stamell went on to say that there was some surprise at the judges’ ultimate decision.

“What motivated the decision was the musicality [of Phar\os], which was pretty high caliber,” he said. “Perhaps [the judges] didn’t give as much consideration to how it would fit within the Ivies lineup, but that wasn’t really their job.”

“We just asked them to be objective,” said Stamell. “The group that won was incredibly musically talented, and it probably had to do with their musical ability.”

Shende said that the judges were impressed that Phar\os played entirely original music.

“The band that we ended up choosing had the most original sound,” he said. “They really had a unique kind of sound, so that was something that we valued highly.”

Stamell said that any critiques made would have to be of the judging process, not the particular bands or this year’s judges. 

“If people are going to take objection to the decision, we have to focus our efforts on improving the selection process of the judges,” said Stamell. “We need to look at the judging process, and it’s a conversation that should be had in future years—do we want a greater student presence? Do we want to have more music professors? Or fewer music professors?”

Shan Nagar ’16, a member of The Circus, said that he thought that Phar\os deserved the top prize.

“All of us in the band were in agreement that the best band won,” he said. “The musicianship behind Phar\os is just incredible.”

Phar\os played entirely original songs during Battle of the Bands, Treefarm played a mix of both original songs and covers, and The Circus played exclusively covers.  

Drew Villeneuve ’16 said that he was unsure how Phar\os would translate to Ivies. 

“If it was just a battle of the bands, I would have been happy that Phar\os won,” he said. “Everyone was blown away by their musicianship. They’re great, but maybe not the best for Ivies.”

Max Middleton ’16 agreed. 

“They were definitely the most musically complex, and the most unique,” he said. 

“I don’t know how great they’ll be at Ivies,” he added. 

However, he went on to say that the original aspects of Phar\os’ music made them a good choice. 

“If you’re opening for big names, you should be playing original songs,” he said. 

Correction, April 20 at 5:34 p.m.: The original article stated that Phar\os is composed of Raskin and Smith. It has been updated to include Stucky and Moushabeck.