Dave Raskin ’13
Dave Raskin’s life has always been colored by music.
Raskin was raised in a musical family and was introduced to the piano and clarinet at a young age.
He claims, however, that he didn’t become serious about music until late in high school when he first picked up the bass guitar.
Upon his arrival at Bowdoin, it was only a matter of days before he found others with whom to share his music.
“The first week of college, Connor [Smith] and two other students approached me to jam, and, that night, we did,” said Raskin. “We jammed until I had blood blisters on my fingers, and, more importantly, we jammed until we’d constructed a song.”
Raskin continued to play bass with Connor Smith ’13 after their band Harmonik Frontier dissolved after freshman year.
Throughout that time, Raskin claims that he discovered songwriting to be his true passion.
“I’m fascinated with it; it’s a wild art form, and I think it’s pretty poorly suited to the confines of a bass guitar,” he said. “By the end of my time as a bassist I was writing big chordal parts high on the neck—I was basically trying to write guitar music on the bass, so I switched to guitar.”
Raskin plays guitar and vocals in Phar\os.
“Our music is carefully constructed,” said Raskin. “Everyone in the room has studied music to a pretty great degree, so we think about texture and timbre and make sure that we’re not being too repetitive.”
Raskin says that dissonance plays a major role in their music, while they tend to remain in keeping with the rock and pop tradition.
Raskin is excited to be opening Ivies tomorrow and hopes for a successful concert.
“The six foot gates around Whittier Field all but guarantee us a captive audience, and we’re pretty proud of our set,” said Raskin. “I think it will be a great platform with which to present our music.”
Connor Smith ’13
Connor Smith ’13, guitarist and singer of Phar\os, has been involved in the music scene at Bowdoin—formally and informally—since his freshman year.
A music minor, he is currently taking an independent study with Professor Mauceri that centers on Max MSP programming.
Outside of academics, Smith has been a member of the BMC and WBOR and is a co-chair of the Entertainment Board.
Smith and Raskin have known each other since freshman year, when they were in a band that ultimately broke up due to stylistic differences, Smith said.
“Dave was a bassist and I was a lead guitar. Neither of us had much experience songwriting in terms of lyrics and all that,” said Smith. “We really had to find our voice. Literally, we had to learn how to sing, and Dave really picked up his guitar skills.”
According to Smith, Phar\os’ musical style is not easy to articulate.
“Maybe you could say that we’re part of a movement of somewhat indie, somewhat alternative bands that have been kind of pushing the bounds of rock a little bit and that line between alternative rock, prog rock, and art rock,” he said.
Despite ups and downs in preparing for Ivies, Smith is confident that it will go well.
“Yesterday I was in a pretty bad space about it,” he said. “I feel like I was very worried if we were going to be able to pull it off in time. Today I’m feeling better.”
Smith has been pleasantly surprised by the interest the campus has shown in Phar\os.
“It’s been incredibly rewarding for us to get the reactions that we have from our live shows,” he said. “We’ve received a lot of good support so I’d just like to thank everybody.”
Rami Stucky ’14
A new member of the band this year, Rami Stucky ’14 is the drummer of Phar\os. While heavily involved in the jazz music scene at Bowdoin, Stucky also describes himself as a utility drummer because he drums for Curtain Callers and other musical acts as needed.
Although Stucky only joined Phar\os this year, he has been friends with Raskin and Smith since taking Music 151 with them his first year at Bowdoin.
Generally, Stucky does not write songs for Phar\os but contributes his technical skill and musicality. Smith credits Stucky and Simone Moushabeck, bassist and keyboard, for the band’s success.
“Rami and Simon are amazing,” he said. “Their musicianship skills far surpass those of ours.”
While the experience of playing in a band is very different from playing in jazz concerts, Stucky works to bring some aspects of jazz music to Phar\os.
“We bring that aesthetic to the band,” he said. “We kind of get bored easily so we try to do new stuff all the time.”
Stucky uniquely describes Phar\os’s style.
“Lyrically, I think if Big L was to write alternative rock lyrics, that’s what Connor and Dave sound like,” he said.
According to Stucky, Phar\os is democratic, and everyone has a say in everything. Stucky had a jazz concert recently in which he could dictate how the songs would be played, but he said that Phar\os is very different.
“With Phar\os we have to be like, ‘Is that how we want the song to go?’ We can just bicker,” he said. “There’s democracy but it can be a bad thing sometimes.”
Simon Moushabeck ’16
As the lone first year among a trio of upperclassmen, Simon Moushabeck ’16 may seem to be the odd one out.
But Moushabeck says that the age difference isn’t in the least bit palpable; rather, “It’s just about the music.”
Moushabeck, the bass player for Phar\os, started playing the bass guitar consistently around sophomore year of high school.
“It’s kind of blurry as to when exactly I started playing bass,” said Moushabeck. “My father plays the bass, so my family has had bass guitars accessible to me from the time I was little. I just grabbed one and learned.”
Jazz band, piano lessons since age five and a musical inclination all add to Moushabeck’s high level of proficiency in multiple instruments and his overall love of music.
Moushabeck first met the other members of Phar\os in his music improvisation class. After Raskin and Smith invited Moushabeck to play with them, the band was complete.
When asked to describe Phar\os’s sound, Moushabeck said that there is a lot of “texture making” and “ambient sound” that goes into their music.
“We start off playing one texture for a little and then we play another,” he said. “That’s how some of our songs build.”
Moushabeck said he is excited for the opportunity to open for Guster and Hoodie Allen this Saturday on Whittier Field.
“The Battle of the Bands win is great, but I don’t much like competition,” said Moushabeck. “The best thing about the process was being able to hear all the talented musicians on this campus.”