Flyer Profile: Samurai Luncheon

Fayetteville’s Samurai Luncheon got started the way a lot of bands do. Some talented musicians in the high school marching band got together, picked up some different instruments, and started writing songs together.

The difference for Samurai Luncheon is that it happened just over a year ago, and instead of being a distant memory, high school is still very much a reality for the five-piece from FHS.

The band is made up of Nick Keller (vocals, guitar), Brooks Dawson (bass, vocals), Daniel Grear (drums, vocals), Bryce Young (piano, vocals), and Dylan Roth (guitar). The songs they’ve posted on their Myspace page are refreshingly well-crafted pop songs, with really nice vocal harmonies, tasteful guitars, and melodic piano accents.

They formed in December of 2008, and for such a young band, Samurai Luncheon has accomplished quite a bit. They’ll release their first record, The She-EP in March, and were named local music scene artist of the month by Mix 101.9 in November of last year.

For any music scene to grow, there must be an infusion of new talent. The new talent trains new ears, inspires new musicians to form new bands, and exposes an entirely new population of listeners and live music supporters. With the opening of the new all ages venue, The Showcase in the mall, and bands like Samurai Luncheon growing out of FHS, the future of the local scene is looking pretty good.

We got in touch with the band, and they were nice enough to answer some questions for us.

Fayetteville Flyer: What have you been listening to lately?
Samurai Luncheon: We have been listening to a lot of Ben Rector, Analog Rebellion, The Dangerous Summer, Vampire Weekend, Say Anything, Person L, and Sufjan Stevens.

Fayetteville Flyer: How long have you guys been playing together?
SL: We started playing together around December of 2008. We released our first recorded song that Christmas. We’ve been jamming away ever since.

FF: Where’d you guy record your EP?
SL: We recorded at Insomniac Studios in Elkins. It’s this place run by Adam Putman, the sound guy for George’s. He did an amazing job and literally made us a better band. We did the whole process in about a week, and it was such a fun time for all of us.

FF: I have to ask about the name. Where’d Samurai Luncheon come from, anyway?
SL: Ha ha, it just kind of came to us. Daniel (our drummer) just thought it up a long time ago and wrote it down. When we were brainstorming band names he brought it up and we just went with it.

FF: You guys are young. Is it tough to find a place to play in Fayetteville as a young band?
SL: Definitely. Though we have drawn a large crowd on Dickson before, venues are hesitant to book us because of our age. It gets hard when places don’t take you seriously. I’m not going to sit here and say that we’re the greatest band ever, but we know what we’re doing. We aren’t just a bunch of kids goofing around and trying to market a product that isn’t ready. We’re musicians with ambition and drive.

FF: Have you guys heard much about The Showcase, the new all ages venue that opened in town?
SL: We actually won a Battle of the Bands there on New Year’s Eve. I guess it was the first show before it became an official venue. I’m really excited about playing there in the future. A lot of all ages venues are popping up, which is exciting, but it will all depend on how many people actually support them. Everyone talks about how it’s great to have a place for the kids to go, but the kids aren’t really going there.

FF: How do you perceive the music scene in town?
SL: I honestly think it’s lacking. Really it’s just a bunch of bar rock and metal bands. There are a few outliers of course, but I’d say the majority falls into those two categories. I think this town has a ton of potential, it’s just not taking the necessary steps for growth.

FF: What are some other bands in Fayetteville that we should check out? Are there other good bands at FHS?
FF: Dreamfast and Christmas Fuller Project are two local bands that are really good. The best high-school band is the indie rock trio Dolly. Skyler Gambert is an amazing singer/songwriter. We love playing with them. Another great band is Skyline. They’re a bunch of kids that play blues and funk. It’s really interesting.

FF: Have you guys played out of town much?
SL: We’ve played a lot of shows in Springdale at the Pontiac before it decided that it wanted to stop being a music venue. We’ve also played a lot of shows at the Squid & Whale bar in Eureka Springs.

FF: What’s next for you guys?
SL: Right now we’re just demoing a bunch of our new songs. We plan on playing a few shows around Texas and Oklahoma over the summer. We want to record a full length in the next year, hopefully. Our CD release show for our EP will be this March, but as for now, we’re just making music and enjoying the ride.

Click below to hear How to Say Hello by Samurai Luncheon