This past Saturday, The Non-Prophets established themselves in the Bowdoin student band scene with a debut performance at Reed House’s Fall Fest. The night also included performances by En Jamb and Mistaken for Strangers.
The Non-Prophets’ formation comes on the heels of a campus-wide return to in-person, creative pursuits. With opportunities including indoor concerts and access to Bowdoin Music Collective’s rooms which had been unavailable during the pandemic, Bowdoin’s live music scene suffered. But when vocalist Tessa Frank ’23, vocalist Chris Ritter ’21, bassist Chapman Odlum ’22, guitarist Finn Bergquist ’22, pianist Gillian King ’22 and drummer Colter Adams ’24 returned to campus in the fall, they connected over their shared passion for music.
While some members spent the year attending a hybrid of online and in-person classes, others took time off from academics. Ritter addressed how this distance from Bowdoin impeded many of the opportunities that come with an in-person experience.
“Odlum and I didn’t go to school when we were in Colorado and we didn’t really have the opportunity to meet other musicians and play with other musicians,” Bergquist said. “It’s so fun to be able to play with other people again.”
Odlum echoed this positive sentiment about resuming in-person performances.
“It’s addicting,” he said. “You’re up on stage, and you almost feel like a different person; your inner rockstar can come out.”
Performing on stage in different groups during the beginning of the semester is what brought most of the band together. Frank and Odlum are members of the acapella group BOCA, while Ritter is part of Ursus Versus. Additionally, Adams also plays in another student band, Mistaken for Strangers.
“[Acapella] does translate well in a lot of ways. We have two singers and adding harmonies is really cool, even if they weren’t in the original song,” Ritter said.
Frank also emphasized how the dynamic of a band allows for more individuality.
“In acapella you’re supposed to really blend with the group,” Frank said. “I feel like going to the band, you get to have a little bit more of a personal flair.”
Ritter, who has performed in student bands both before and during the pandemic, explained how last Saturday’s performance compared to his experiences in pre-COVID times.
“[Performing at Fall Fest] was so surreal because it’s not just my friends here supporting me, it’s total strangers,” Ritter said. “I love the fact that people really like vibing, because as a performer, it makes it more fun; it makes me perform way better.”
While performing on stage in other musical groups was central to the band’s formation, it was also impromptu connections on Bowdoin’s campus that brought the members together.
“We’re really just starting off, but I feel like what initially brought us together was the similar take on how we want to play music,” Ritter said.
Adams also emphasized that despite their varying connections to music, the group has been able to connect.
“We all have similar tastes, even though we’re coming from different musical backgrounds,” Adams said.
In their first performance, the band played a set of pop, R&B and alternative songs.
“We’re playing everything from John Mayer to Frank Ocean,” Odlum said, “So it’s not like there’s one genre we’re sticking to, but it’s kind of just songs that we like.”
After the excitement of their first performance, Adams emphasized from his perspective as the drummer, that he has high hopes for the band.
“Watching from the back section, they have such amazing chemistry,” he said.