Undergraduate quartet Sapphire Man began as a piecemeal endeavor and continues to influence the local punk rock and house show scene today.
The band is an eclectic mix of friends from different majors who share a love of music. Weinberg Jr. Zeki He communicates with Hersh Sophomore Sam Marshall plays guitar and performs vocals McCormick His Jr. Liam Warwick plays bass Weinberg sophomore Leo His McKenna plays drums will play
The four slowly met and began composing. Hersh and Marshall first met and began playing music on their own at first.
“Zeki and I initially decided that we wanted to bond over similar musical tastes and be a band that wrote our own songs,” Marshall said. “From there it was just a matter of looking for people, and we did.
Hersh and Marshall first performed together at Hillel’s annual Latkepalooza in the fall quarter of 2021, before recruiting Warrick and McKenna to kickstart the band.
Hirsch said the four had their first practice in early January 2022 in the basement of the Foster Walker Complex.
McKenna said each member incorporated their own musical tastes and inspirations into their practice. He said that while all members hold bands such as Joy Division and Velvet Underground in high regard, each musician inspires their music from their own inspiration.
After a few rehearsals, the four realized they were missing an important element: the band name. Marshall, McKenna and Warrick named the band Sapphire His Man, inspired by the portrait he saw in art history during Christina’s No More Introductory Class in Medieval Art in the fall 2021 semester. I accepted Hersh’s suggestion.
The painting is by Hildegard of Bingen, a 12th-century German mystic who had divine visions and wrote music. In her one in her portfolio, The Man in Sapphire Blue, Christ is depicted as a light blue figure. Hirsch was intrigued by the painting and favored the ambiguity of the name “Sapphire Man”.
“It really means nothing. It means what you do with it,” Hirsch said.
Although Marshall draws inspiration from a variety of sources, the band is ultimately “song-oriented”, focusing on how each person and instrument contributes to the music rather than aiming to make one person stand out. We are focused on how we contribute to
On drums, McKenna said he tries to avoid flashy drumming and follows a more constant rhythm. He prides himself on helping the band keep the flow on set.
“Drumming is about keeping everyone down and making sure the band doesn’t sound bad,” McKenna said. “That’s what I’m trying to do.”
The Sapphire Man played its first show last April at his Simpson Street home.
The band has played at a few other gigs, but the four of them agreed their favorite show was the house show they played last Halloween. The band, dressed up in Halloween costumes, played in a friend’s basement and in her two different homes with another band. According to Hirsch, each performance saw more than 100 people attend and both brought great energy.
The Sapphire Man have been practicing together for over a year and still face logistical challenges. Marshall said it’s hard to find a practice space and make time to practice together after an academic break.
Balancing school and extracurricular activities at NU can be difficult, but the band members said they enjoy practicing together as a way to unwind from the demands of college.
“For all of us, it’s like a flow state,” said Warwick. “I’m just thinking about what I’m playing and really don’t have time to think about anything else, and I feel completely reset after I’m done.”
Hirsch said the band eventually had enough material to record an entire album. He said he sees it as a beacon of hope for a genre that is in decline. Hirsch said he hopes bands like Sapphire Man will inspire an awakening.
“It’s really sad to see[the current state of rock music]because it feels like a very neutral, very corporate, bland brand[of music].” Hersh said. “But it’s also really hopeful when a little basement is filled with random groups of kids. I really think that’s the future of rock music.”
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