Rebirth of a Music Scene: Students at this school discuss performance today at Cat in Carmel


Veronica Teeter

Audiences can come see four bands, Harvey and the Car Cats, Stapes, ParkView, and Castaway Tail perform on March 10, at the Cat in Carmel. The concert, titled Rebirth of a Music Scene, is produced by Nick Shelton with help from Bernie Szuhaj. The performance is meant to be a safe place for people to come, hang out with friends, and listen to new music written by up-and-coming bands and classics you already know and love.

Following are interviews with senior Nick Shelton, the band Stapes, and Castaway Tail member Alex Turner.

Veronica Teeter

Q&A with Senior Nicholas “Nick” Shelton

What is your name, age, and role in this performance?

I’m Nicholas Shelton. I just turned 18. I am the financiere, promoter, and producer. I am coproducing this show with Bernie Szuhaj.

What other show(s) are you currently working on?

At the current moment, I am working on The Little Mermaid, I have a few other concerts in the works with Shark Mouth. We’re also working on trying to set up a few club nights. That kind of thing.


What skills are necessary for your job?

You have to be very people oriented. You have to be able to walk up to a random stranger and be like, ‘hey, support something you don’t care about.’

What kind of training did you personally go through?

Zero… That’s not completely accurate, I went through training on the production side of things, to learn how to do light design, how to do audio engineering. Promotion… is totally new to me, but there’s no formal training involved.

What got you interested in putting on this show?

I work in audio engineering, I have mobile rig that I like actually rent out to people. And I go to all of these parties I go to all these places and I see these kids, acting dumb. They do dumb stuff because they don’t have anywhere where they can go party, in like a supervised manner… I wanted to create a scene. I wanted a new scene, there hasn’t been one for over a decade.

What is your favorite thing about the role you’re playing?

I get to help kids who otherwise wouldn’t have a voice, show off their sills.

Why do you think that is important?

Especially right now, Carmel has been in a state of like turmoil and craziness. And it’s less about people getting to show off their skills, it’s more about people having a safe place to go hangout, have a good time, and comfortably be able to let loose for a bit.

Would you do something like this concert again in the future?

Planning to.

How did you decide on the name Rebirth of a Music Scene?

There hasn’t been a music scene around here for a long time. And that’s a tragedy. There are so many talented artists, so many talented groups, [and] individuals. And there’s been no place for them to go perform. From pop, punk, to rap, there just hasn’t been a place for anybody to go. And that’s what this show is all about. This show is all about rebirth. This show is all about creating something new and bringing back something old.

How did you choose which bands performed?

Stapes are all personal friends of mine, I know them fairly well. They’re all actually part of the technical theater department here at school, which is were I met them through. One day we were all just sort of screwing around up in fly room and… their friend Hoover… told me to share out their stuff. So I did. And I was like there is something, there is something we can make a show with. And from their they hooked me up with Park View and after that I went and talked to Bernie, and Bernie knew Castaway through a friend of his, and Castaway knew Harvey and the Carcats.

In the future would you change that process?

Now that have a bit of an establishment, we’re established now, and we’re actually making profit on the show, we want bands come to us. As well as doing more talent scouting cause we enjoy showing off talent that nobody’s seen before but we also wanna give people a shot to come and say ‘I wanna be on stage.’

What have you learned?

I’ve learned a lot about, pushing tickets! There’s an art to it, you have to understand how people think, and why people do what they do.

What technology do you use for this performance that you don’t usually use?

I rented a nice little mobile lighting rig so that we can do some really cool lighting effects for the show at the Cat. Which is kind of nice. Normally at this level, production tends to be fairly simple, but that’s how we wanna differentiate ourselves.

Do you enjoy producing a performance at the Cat?

Absolutely! I’ve worked with the folks at the Cat for about eight months now as their in-house technical director and I’ve loved every moment of it.

What is your favorite type of theatrical performance to work on?

I would have to say musical, just because of the fact that, I’m more of a band guy through and through, cause I’m audio. I do a lot of audio. I also branch out into lighting.

What is your favorite specific performance you’ve ever worked on?

My favorite performance I’ve ever worked, Russian-pop-punk-folk concert. Didn’t understand a word of it. But Alexi was the nicest dude I’ve ever met. He couldn’t understand a word I was saying and I couldn’t understand a word he was saying and it was just amazing because Eugene had to translate everything and he loved messing with me.

Q&A with Stapes band members


What are your names, your age, and your role in band?

  • “My name is Thomas Landolf, I am 17 years old, and I am the bass player.” TL
  • “I’m Kyle Porter, I’m 17 years old, and I play drums.” KP
  • “I’m Corey Varnau, I’m 17 years old and I play the guitar.” CV

How long have you all known each other?

  • “I’ve known Corey since fourth grade, and then me and Corey met Kyle freshman year.” TL

What major artists influence your band?

  • “I’d say I was inspired most by Car Seat Headrest, The Front Bottoms, and Modern Baseball, personally.” CV
  • “For my bass playing, Tool, blink-182, Car Seat Headrest, and Hippo Campus.” TL
  • “I would mostly say, like, blink-182, cause that’s like a lot of what I did, and I just kind of played whatever was given to me.” KP


What does a typical practice look like for your group?

  • “As of right now, we just play through our entire set for the show that’s coming up. So we just go right down the list.” CV
  • “Before, we would, essentially come in, I mean, play the songs we had, but then before we had our set list for this concert we would just basically…” TL
  • “Mess around.” CV
  • “…play something until it formed a song.” TL

What is your band’s plans for the future?

  • “We’re working with our friend Kyle, and we wanna get a record out, hopefully by the time we graduate, which will be next year. But I think our plans right now is to just, like, keep playing shows and stuff.” CV
  • “Yea, find more shows, get noticed.” TL


What is your favorite thing about performing?

  • “I’ve personally only done it once, but mostly, for me, it’s just like being lost in the music and then occasionally looking up and seeing that people are getting on with the music as much as I am. And that’s about it for me.” CV
  • “I, pretty much the same, I really enjoy just letting people hear music that they enjoy and then I love just playing it in general. So, as long as everyone’s having a good time.” TL
  • “You know, just seeing people enjoy it as much as I do.” KP

How did each of you individually get your start in music?

  • “I have always loved music and I have always been interested in guitars but I just never got into it. And then freshman year happened, and I wanted to learn guitar so I went to School Of Rock, over on Rangeline. I played regular guitar first, and then I played bass for a couple of songs for them. And so when we formed this band I was like, ‘I’ll be the bass player,’ and I prefer it now.” TL
  • “I played Rock Band way to much as a kid. And then my mom thought it was a good idea to get me lessons at Bongo Boy… and then I took lessons until I was in eighth grade, maybe? From like third to eighth grade. And then they asked me to stop taking lessons so I stopped taking lessons…” KP
  • “A few of my cousins are in different bands, and I thought that looked really cool, so I bought my own acoustic guitar and I started playing it a lot. And from there I just fell in love with it and kept going.” CV


Individually, how have your musical abilities grown by being in a band?

  • “I think we’re just a lot more cohesive. And like individually, working with other people has helped us see what each of our parts does in a band, so like we can work on that individually as well.” CV
  • “Individually, I wanna get better at singing, because obviously we need to do that. And then I wanna, I just wanna make weird sounds with my bass. Which involves like pedals and such.” TL
  • “What about you?” TL
  • “What was the question?” KP
  • “What do you want to improve on individually?” TL
  • “Improve on?” KP
  • “Or something like that.” TL
  • “Playing rhythms that are awkward to the ear, like Tool. People can’t keep with it, but in the whole of our band, it’s still completely cohesive to the rhythm.” KP


Q&A with Sophomore Alex Turner

What is your age, name, and role in the band?

My name’s Alex Turner, I’m 16, and I play guitar and sing.

How long have you known everyone in the band?

I knew Brady, the drummer, for my whole life. And the rest of them I’ve known for about 5 years.

How did all of you meet?

Since I knew Brady for a while, he knew Ty, which is our keyboardist, so I met him through him. And I knew Caleb, the bass player, just cause he lives here. He’s like a family friend.

When did you decide to form a band?

Probably about 3 years ago. Brady and I were just looking for something to do with our time, so we thought since we knew these people we might try it.

How did you decide on a name?

It took us forever. And, honestly Grady used to have this cat that had problems with its tail a lot and he had recently gone on a vacation… so the word castaway was in his mind, and then we were thinking of this cat. So we just put the two words together.

What genre music do you play?

I would say, we sort of incorporate a lot of funk into it. Maybe, soft rock, could be also thrown in there. I really don’t know how to describe it.

What major artists influence your band?

Definitely Steely Dan is a big influence. Frank Zappa, I would say, maybe even Jack Johnson, Bootsy Collins. Just a bunch of different people honestly.

Do you play mostly covers or originals?

We play a mix of the two, but mainly covers cause it’s what is most fun live.

How do you decide what songs do play?

We usually just decide on… you know if we’ve been listening to something recently, and wanna play it, or if we think it would go well live because it’s wither famous, or a bunch of people know it, or just in a general fun song, we play it.

What does a typical practice look like for your group?

Usually we spend like about an hour just talking, about what we’re gonna do, procrastinating. And then the rest of the time we run through the set for whatever show we have coming up.

What is your band’s plans for the future?

Play as often as we can throughout highschool and entertain people.

How can fans access you and your music?

We’re on most of the major screening services… we also sell physical copies of music at the shows, as well. You can follow us on Instagram @castawaytail.

What is your favorite thing about performing?

I like when people like what we do, that’s the reason we do it. I think it’s fun to see how others react to it. And that they’re having a fun time.

Are you excited for the upcoming performance at the Cat?

I am. I think it’s gonna be fun, and there’s three other really good acts.

Do you perform at certain places on a regular basis or is more of just when you get a gig?

It’s more of just when we get a gig. Except we do play at Wolfies, in Carmel, almost monthly, I mean it really depends.

What is your favorite venue to perform at?

I do like Wolfies, I also like the Hoosier Dome in downtown Indianapolis. I’ve been to the Cat but I haven’t played there yet so I assume it’s going to be fun.

How did you individually get your start in music?

I was like 7 years old, and my parents bought me a guitar because I wanted one … and then I just stuck with it I guess.

When you first got into music, did you go into it with the end goal of being in band?

That came later, I just wanted to be able to play something.

How have your musical abilities grown by being in a band?

I’ve gotten better at other instruments, and understanding what other people do while I’m playing guitar and I understand how to communicate with people better. Not just be exclusive about sololy guitar playing.

What has your band’s biggest challenge been so far?

I’d say it took awhile to start getting enough shows where we were satisfied with what we were doing. Cause at the start you don’t play as often as you’d like to.

How did you overcome it?

We… well I think this is really important in today’s age, to be on social media as much as you can, no matter what you’re doing. Because that’s how most people interact, so we decided to put ourselves out there on the internet and that led to us knowing more people and knowing how to know more people.

What advice do you have for other people who want to start their own band?

Just do it don’t think too much about it, because it changes a lot as you’re doing it. So don’t have to much of a goal in mind when doing it.