“We all have an extremely deep respect for the musicians of the 1960s, so we chose an iconic name from that era,” says Jenna Calderon, lead guitarist of The Haight. “The Haight refers to Haight-Ashbury in San Francisco. We recently changed our name to ‘The Haight’ because we feel that the name ‘Not From Concentrate’ didn’t fit our sound anymore.”
Although the name harkens back to the freewheeling, hippie-esque sounds that emanated from the San Francisco ‘60s era, the group doesn’t necessarily follow that path as far as their music goes. The Haight definitely has a strong alternative sound. They borrow from a mixture of musical styles, including punk, grunge, and pop. The band members seem to have a wide variety of musical tastes, and even when a song has a lighter sound, the chorus usually comes in with heavy distortion.
Jenna is joined in the group by lead singer and rhythm guitarist Margaret Hampton, and bass player Alan-Arthur Aurelia. They recently parted ways with their drummer, and are currently holding auditions to find a suitable replacement.
“We all met in college,” explains Jenna. “The three of us worked at the campus radio station which is where we first met, and it turned out we were all also majoring in music. Our former drummer was also a music major. We first just formed a club called ‘Rock Club,’ where we jammed on covers in between class, but it soon turned into a full-fledged original band.”
The Haight have been slowly building a buzz around the area, hitting New York City venues such as The Bitter End, Sullivan Hall, The Delancey, Don Hills, The Trash Bar, and Pianos. They’ve also ventured into New Jersey, performing in Atlantic City at Le Grand Fromage.
The writing generally is split between Jenna and Margaret. The usual mode of putting material together is that they will show up for a rehearsal with a general outline of what they are looking for, such as a rough melody and chord changes, and then they all sit down and fill in the holes. Sometimes, however, Jenna and Margaret prefer to work on new songs without the rest of the band, in order to iron out the vocals and guitar parts, before adding in the bass and drums.
Some of the songs that have been garnering the most attention include “The Breakdown,” “Long To Know,” and “Girl On Fire.”
While the band members all acknowledge a debt to The Beatles, they each bring in quite a collection of varied influences. Margaret cites such disparate artists as Billie Holiday, Avril Lavigne, and Paramore among her influences. Jenna is more partial to the grunge and punk sounds of Pearl Jam, Alice In Chains, and Green Day. Alan actually does include some of the Haight-Ashbury sound in his list of influences, with the Jefferson Airplane and Santana joining the more modern California sound of No Doubt.
As soon as a new drummer is in place, The Haight plans on hitting the road in a big way. “We just bought a tour minivan and are going to start gigging out of state, as well as do a couple of small summer tours,” relates Jenna. “We are also currently mastering our second EP, the first under the new name, which we plan to release in the new year. Our ultimate goals are to play bigger venues such as The Stone Pony, Starland Ballroom, Gramercy Theatre, and The Knitting Factory, as well as get on a festival such as the Warped Tour or Bamboozle.”
As far as the drummer search, it’s proving to be a challenge, but they’re confident they’ll end up with the right person to complete the lineup. “Recently, one interim drummer showed up to a gig with his kit in garbage bags, plopped them on the stage, and asked if anyone knew how to set it up,” laughs Jenna. “He didn’t last long.”
You can find out more about The Haight, future shows, and their upcoming release, at reverbnation.com/haightband, follow them on Twitter @haightband, and get in touch with them at firstname.lastname@example.org. If you’re a drummer, feel free to send them info. You can also hear the first EP released by the band, This One’s On Us, on Spotify under the name Not From Concentrate.