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Indie band of high school ‘misfits’ on the truth of being young

The night of their farewell show, Gerygone & Twig members reflect on what it means to grow up differently from most other high school kids. Video by Travis Gilmour and Slavik Boyechko of Alaska Public Media

Editor’s Note:”Indie Alaska” is a weekly original series by Alaska Public Media, in partnership with PBS Digital Studios, that showcases the diversity of everyday Alaskans.

“Life isn’t like a normal song, in 4/4 time,” says Grace Kari, a singer and banjo player with the band Gerygone and Twig. She and her fellow bandmates are self-proclaimed “misfits” who met during high school in Wasilla, Alaska. They discovered they all shared a passion for writing and making music, but music that reflects who they are: unconventional, passionate, even a bit “weird.”

“We’re trying to be very different from radio pop, from superficial songwriting,” says bass and guitar player Alexander Lindgren. Their lyrics are meant to reflect “the actual truth of being young and the actual truth of being confused,” says Kari.

Gerygone & Twig

Even the band’s name is off-beat, but filled with meaning. “A gerygone is a south pacific songbird, and the word means ‘born of sound,’” explains Lindgren. “And twig has an alternate meaning besides branch. It can mean ‘to understand suddenly, visually.” Lindgren says that sums up the band’s two passions: making music and exploring the world through photography, painting and filmmaking.

For two years, the band played small gigs in and around Wasilla and even raised enough money on Kickstarter to record an album. But then Lindgren and Kari graduated from high school and made plans to move to Montana so Kari could study at the Rocky Mountain School of Photography. The band was in a reflective mood as they prepared for their last concert together in Alaska. “It is tough knowing that after tonight, we won’t be playing music together for quite some time,” said Lindgren.

GTstill5“Indie Alaska” documented that final concert one year ago. Since then, vocalist Rainy Hastings and percussionist Brandon Murak graduated early from high school and joined Kari and Lindgren in Missoula. The four bandmates now share a group house, working retail jobs during the day and writing music at night. “We are all nervous and excited about what the future holds,” says Lindgren.

“Our band isn’t trying to get famous. We’re just trying to make music that we love, with the people that we love,” says Hastings.

Local Beat is a weekly series on Art Beat that features arts and culture stories from PBS member stations around the nation.

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