Kofi Mframa, Contributing Writer
Hypnotic, repeating guitar riffs pour from a room in Gladding Residence Center, where two freshman roommates combine their passions for music to form the building’s latest ensemble.
Freshmen Michael Di Costanzo and Matthew Taleghani make up the band W Main St, informally named after the street their dorm is located on.
“Since we’ve been here, we’ve gained about 300 followers,” Di Costanzo said in reference to the band’s Instagram page, which grew by more than 100 followers after the interview.
The duo decided to room together after meeting on the VCU class of 2024 Instagram page. Once they discovered their mutual love for music, they joined forces in mid-July to record three out of the seven songs on their debut EP titled “Summer Rain,” which dropped on Sept. 18.
Rather than paying for studio time, the band records music in their suite style dorm using Di Costanzo’s equipment.
“It’s extremely fun and we have more of a control over what we want to do,” Taleghani said in a direct message.
Taleghani said the pandemic hindered the band’s plans to perform at restaurants, bars or coffee shops. This has left pop-up concerts in Monroe Park — something the duo said they love doing — as W Main St’s only avenue for exposure.
“If the common rooms were open we’d be hanging out, talking to people and getting the word out there,” Di Costanzo said.
Despite devoting hours to practice and production, the W Main St members have found a balance between academics and music. Di Costanzo is a business major and Taleghani is undeclared, but they say a future in music doesn’t have to start with a music degree.
“If you make good music and do what you have to do, you could blow up,” Taleghani said. “A music degree is never going to make you a famous musician.”
Di Costanzo grew up with a musical father, who he refers to as a “musical freak.” He began taking drum lessons at age six and has been taking them for 12 years. About two and a half years ago, he picked up the guitar and taught himself how to play through watching YouTube videos.
“I could’ve chosen anything,” Di Costanzo said. “I could have chosen bass, I could have chosen clarinet but for some reason, I don’t know why, I said ‘drums.’”
In “Summer Rain,” alternative and classic rock influences show through guitar riffs that soar over deep, introspective lyrics. This begs the listener to examine their own relationships with love, loss and pain.
The opening track, “Fear of Love,” relays these themes with variances in tempo and instrumentation that keep the listener enthralled.
The second track, “Let Me Know,” features Jeffrey Ketron, known as Lazulind, on the saxophone. The pair met Ketron by chance when they were randomly selected as suitemates.
“They gave me the key the song was in and then I just … improvised overtop of it for a bit until we found something we liked,” Ketron said in a direct message.
Although the EP can be somber at times, there is a sense of hope in Taleghani’s inspiring message to the listener found in the title track: “Rain comes and goes; in the end it helps us grow.”
“Summer Rain” by W Main St is available to stream on Spotify and Apple Music.